Vancouver’s Santa Claus parade at risk of being cancelled

Martha Perkins - Vancouver Courier

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Santa Claus will not be parading through Vancouver’s downtown in 2017 if organizers can’t find $150,000 in new sponsorships. File photo.
Photograph By JASON LANG

Santa Claus is really in the red this year. But not in a good way.

Organizers say that Vancouver’s annual Santa Claus parade is under threat of being cancelled because of a lack of funds.

“After 13 years together, we’ve got an amazing team of sponsors, organizers, float builders and volunteers in place to put on the parade,” Jessica Walker, president of the parade’s community non-profit society. “If we want to keep the parade as an annual event, we definitely need some help, and we need it right away. If we cannot bring on additional sponsors in the next two weeks, we’ll be forced to cancel the parade.”

The parade costs $400,000 and the current budget shortfall is $150,000. The largest costs are earmarked for City of Vancouver fees, policing, float construction and parade production.

The parade attracts 300,000 to the downtown core. It also includes two-hours of family entertainment at a Christmas Square before the parade and free photos with Santa at the Robson Square Ice Rink following the parade.

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It’s not only families who would miss Santa’s pre-Christmas visit. The parade has helped raise $157,000 and bring in 77,000 pounds of food for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society over the past 13 years.

“The holiday season is one of the most important times of year for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, and the Vancouver Santa Claus Parade has played a critical role in helping our organization raise funds and support the more than 26,500 members that use our services each week,” said Aart Schuurman Hess, CEO of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.

Current parade sponsors include Purdy’s Chocolates, Toys R Us, Island Farms, Vancouver International Airport, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Port of Vancouver, Starbucks and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association. Interested sponsors are invited to call 604-646-3591 or email vansantaparade@pacegroup.com for more information.