Volume 12 Week 5

Thursday, Jan. 17


Posted Jan. 10

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Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney


(Posted 10:30 a.m., Nov. 25)
Thousands turnout to welcome St. Nick to Orléans
By Fred Sherwin

Santa waves to his many young fans lining the St. Joseph Blvd. on Saturday night for the parade of lighths. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The holiday season has officially begun with the arrival of Santa Claus at the Place d'Òrleans mall on Saturday followed by Santa's Parade of Lights Saturday evening during which the man in red was greeted by tens of thousands of people who lined the parade route.

With the threat of freezing rain hanging over the parade for most of the day, the crowd seemed rather sparse less than half an hour before the official 6 p.m. start time. But within 30 minutes dozens turned into hundreds and eventually thousands by the time the procession started down St. Joseph Boulevard from it's traditional starting point at Youville Drive.

The crowd at Forest Valley and St. Joseph was 10 and 12 people deep with everyone in the Christmas Spirit as float after float passed by along with members of the Ottawa Firefighters Association who collected donations of toys and cash for families dealing with financial hardship at this time of year.

Equally present were super heroes like Spiderman and Thor, Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and every manner of parade participant, including Orléans MPP Marie-France Lalonde who opted to hand out miniature candy canes to eager children rather than ride in her car.

There were Grinches, three to be exact, including two behind bars, multiple fire trucks; an OC Transpo bus with the front made up to look like Santa; several marching bands; two rock bands; a fleet of bicycles festooned in lights; a (Garlic) King; a boat towing a water skier on roller blades; and a group of enthusiastic gnomes. And everywhere there were lights, thousands and thousands of multi-coloured lights which give the parade it's name.

And at the end of it all was Santa Claus, the man of the hour who eveyone was waiting for... and he didn't disappoint. Perched atop his bright red sled, he waved to everyone along the four kilometre route including the Davis family from Orléans who haven't missed a parade in eight years.

"We moved here in October 2010 and haven't missed a parade since," says Jim Davis. "The kids love it.".

Twelve-year-old Jesse Davis is an old pro when it comes to the parade of lights. Not surprisingly Santa is his favourite part. His nine-year-old sister Sara is also a big St. Nick fan, but she likes all the lights as well.

"It's pretty," the youngster said when asked what she likes most about the parade.

Last year's Parade of Lights raised thousands of dollars for the Help Santa Toy Drive which is organized and run by the Salvation Army. Through local parades and their Toy Mountain campaign, the organization was able to make sure that 18,000 children were able to have a merry Christmas last year.

The toys are collected and sorted by hundreds of volunteers based on their age appropriateness and then delivered to food banks and community resource centres across the city including the Orléans Cumberland Community Resource Centre and the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)


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