Burnaby used to have a Santa Claus Parade. But what happened to the popular event? (PatrickLauzon photographe/ Shutterstock)

Whatever happened to Burnaby’s Santa Claus Parade?

🎅🏼 Burnaby used to have a Santa Claus Parade... so what happened to it?

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November 22, 2022 | 5:00 am

If you’ve ever visited Edmonds Street, you’ve probably seen the mural painted on the side of the Rona hardware store depicting cheerful-looking community members watching a holiday parade in the neighbourhood.

Burnaby santa claus parade
The Santa Claus Parade Mural on Edmonds Street. (Google Maps/ Screenshot)

And, if you’ve lived in Burnaby for a while, you’ll know that the city actually had its very own Santa Claus parade that took place in Edmonds not too long ago.

So, whatever happened to Burnaby’s quintessential Christmas event?

The first Edmonds Santa Claus Parade took place in 2003 and was organized by the Burnaby Edmonds Lions Club and former city councillor Paul McDonell, who sat as the chair of the club, spearheaded the event.

  • Looking for our ultimate list of holiday events in Burnaby? Find it here 

While the main attraction was an appearance by Santa Claus, the parade also featured a number of festive floats, street performers, vintage cars, and marching bands that would make their way down Edmonds Street between Canada Way and Linden Avenue.

 

 

 

The event wasn’t as large of a production as other Santa Claus parades (such as Vancouver’s) but it was known for bringing holiday spirit and cheer to the city and residents appeared to take delight in what the parade had to offer.

A 2010 Burnaby Now article noted that “several thousand people” attended the event that year.

Unfortunately, the parade was cancelled in 2011, but it was replaced by the Edmonds Festival of Lights.

According to the Burnaby Now, McDonell stepped down as the event’s chair and no one else volunteered to organize the parade. He worked with others from the city to establish the Festival of Lights, so the community could still come out and enjoy a holiday event.

McDonell told the Now that it became “harder” to organize the parade each year.

“It’s harder to get floats. If the weather is not good, it’s hard to get people out. It is a lot of work. It is harder and harder and harder to get volunteers out,” he stated.

While that marked the end of Burnaby’s lone holiday parade, McDonell’s efforts to bring the community together didn’t stop there.

Known as “Mr. Burnaby,” McDonell worked on several neighbourhood mural projects and helped initiate the popular Edmonds City Fair and Classic Car Show that takes place each summer. Sadly, McDonell passed away in 2020 but the impact he had on bringing the community together lives on.

The Edmonds Festival of Lights remains a popular local event. This year it will take place on Nov. 26 at Edmonds Community Centre. More details here.

Simran Singh

Managing Editor at Burnaby Beacon

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