TORONTO — Today, anti-lockdown groups held their own Santa “parade protest” in lieu of the city-run annual parade, cancelled due to COVID-19. At noon, the parade floats and hundreds of attendees gathered at the starting point at Yonge-Dundas Square, continuing north on Yonge St until 3 PM. Santa took photos with children and distributed toys before the procession began.
“We the people of Toronto do no agree with with cancelling of Christmas and the Santa Parade,” the event’s website reads. “This parade is organized by the people of Toronto as a form of protest against the unlawful lockdown orders.”
The event kicked off with a church service at 10 AM, held the Square with a Mennonite choir singing Christmas carols as the crowd congregated in anticipation of the parade. A gentleman who owns a party supply business constructed balloon animals for attendees. Throughout the event, paraders can be seen donning balloon hats and playing with various balloon creatures.
Shortly thereafter, Santa Claus took photos with families and handed out toys, which were supplied by a toy drive several weeks prior.
Officers from the Toronto Police Service were present throughout the unofficial parade. Earlier that morning, the TPS had condemned the event on their Twitter account and notified the public that officers would be present to “monitor the situation”.
“This gathering has not been authorized by the City. We’d urge people not to attend,” they tweeted.
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