December 5, 2023
Kitchener Reverse Parade directions. Image by Lily Sherry.

Santa Claus’s return to Waterloo Region this November might look a bit different yet again this year with pandemic precautions still in place, but the show must go on for the jolly man in red.

This year, guests attending parades in Waterloo and Kitchener will be the ones rolling past the floats in what is being called a Reverse Santa Claus Parade. But, in Cambridge, the traditional parade will return.

The Lions Club of Kitchener will be hosting the parades in Kitchener and Waterloo. The first will take place near the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, on Nov. 20, at 10 a.m. Guests are asked to enter the route off Ottawa St. 

Pre-registration for guests attending the Kitchener parade is full. Any guests going to the parade who are not registered may still attend the event but are not guaranteed entry.

On Nov. 27, at 10 a.m., the second parade will take place near RIM Park’s Grey Silo. Guests are asked to enter off University Ave. E.

The Waterloo reverse parade is on a first-come, first-serve basis and admission is not guaranteed. 

Donations will be accepted at both parades for the Food Bank of Waterloo Region and the Knights of Columbus Toy Drive.

According to Dan Polischuk, secretary at the Lions Club of Kitchener, the reverse parades saw an impressive turnout in Waterloo and Kitchener last year.

Waterloo Reverse Parade directions. Image by Lily Sherry.

“Considering both locations for the reverse parade, probably 12,000 to 15,000” people were in attendance, said Polischuk.

Christina Rau, Executive director of the Cambridge Santa Claus Parade, said, “the modified drive-thru parade is a great alternative” that will allow people to “safely bring some joy to the city during the holiday season.”

After cancelling the parade last year because of COVID-19, the Cambridge Santa Claus Parade will be returning with a traditional Santa Claus parade on Nov. 20, at 6 p.m.

“We are very excited that this year we will be able to put on an event,” said Rau.

Cambridge Reverse Parade directions. Image by Lily Sherry.

The parade was initially planned to be a reverse parade but was changed after the province lifted capacity limits on organized events.

The parade will move onto Hespeler Road from Dunbar Road and turn off Hespeler Road onto Langs Drive.

Guests are advised to arrive early as parking is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Anyone attending the parade is also asked to follow pandemic precautions by social distancing and wearing a mask at all times.

“The most challenging aspect of running the parade during the pandemic is trying to figure out a way to do so while ensuring everyone’s safety and that we are complying with all Public Health guidelines and regulations,” said Rau.

“It’s not an easy task to take on, but we are up for the challenge.”

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