“I am so happy to hear that Santa Claus will be able to come to town”, said Orangeville’s Councillor Debbie Sherwood, “I think our children and our families would love to be able to stand at their windows and wave to Santa and know that he will be visiting them for Christmas morning.”
Although Halloween is still yet to come, and many things are up in the air as far as typical forms of celebrations go, the Town of Orangeville’s staff and council have made sure that Santa Claus will be still coming to town. Although the Santa Claus parade has been cancelled for 2020, residents will still get the chance to see him, and this year he is keeping safe by riding on a firetruck. The catch is, nobody knows when and where he will pop up!
At a Town of Orangeville council meeting held on October 19, 2020, staff presented an alternative to the Santa Claus Parade after it was cancelled due to COVID-19. The offered solution, known as the Holiday Lighting Extravaganza, was born out of staff consultations with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, the Orangeville BIA, The Kin Club of Orangeville, and The Optimist Club of Orangeville.
Holiday lighting will be put up around key areas of town that people can enjoy from the safe distance that is permitted by driving or walking by the points of interest throughout the holiday season. This would include Orangeville’s town hall, the downtown core, Alexandra Park, the Mill Street Branch of the Orangeville Public Library, the Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre, and the Alder Street Community Centre. The Town’s IT staff will also use GIS software to set up a self-guided tour, in addition to allowing residents and businesses to apply to have their displays added to the map.
“Much like our businesses, it looks like town staff have pivoted in the midst of COVID to come up with some very unique and creative solutions”, said Orangeville’s Mayor Sandy Brown.
In addition to the holiday lighting, Santa, in partnership with Orangeville Fire Services, will be using the town’s vintage firetruck to do a ride to various neighbourhoods. Similar to the ‘ice-cream truck concept’, it will be a surprise as to when the visits will occur. Residents will know Santa Claus is nearby when they hear the truck’s sirens and music, which is when they will be able to get a socially-distant look at St. Nick. According to the staff-prepared report presented to Orangeville’s council on October 19th, #findsanta will be used to promote Santa’s tour through the town.
After council’s unanimous vote, the Town of Orangeville will be contributing $20,000 towards lighting the Holiday Lighting Extravaganza. This matches an equal amount that the Orangeville BIA is dedicating to decorating the downtown core as well, in areas such as the medians. According to the report, the BIA plans to source a Christmas tree that will be placed in front of the town hall. It is also mentioned how there will be no Christmas tree lighting or Moonlight Magic events this year.
The report goes on to mention that The Optimist Club has volunteered to assist with providing and setting up lighting for the Holiday Lighting Extravaganza. They are also dedicated to lighting up Kaycee gardens and it will be included on the GIS map, despite the public not having access. The Kin Club and Orangeville Hydro have also offered assistance in ensuring the celebration is as enjoyable as possible.
Orangeville Councillor Joe Andrews thanked town staff for the proposal, in addition to saying, “In these times we have to come up with something that is going to end up bringing our community together in a different way”.
According to the report presented by staff, The Holiday Lighting Extravaganza is planned to be lit up on Sunday, November 22, running through to January 8, 2021.
References – Santa Claus will be coming to Orangeville… on a firetruck!
- Orangeville Town Council Meeting – October 19, 2020 – Recording
- Orangeville Town Council Meeting – October 19, 2020 – 2020 Santa Claus Parade Alternative
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