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Town planning to light up the community this Christmas

October 22, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

It’s official – Santa Claus will be coming to Orangeville this Christmas. 

Although Town officials confirmed this week that they have been advised by public health officials not to organize a Santa Claus parade this festive season, they have come up with a new plan to bring the big guy to town and transform the entire community into a Christmas-y winter wonderland.

In place of the traditional parade, the Town is now planning a Holiday Lights Extravaganza to celebrate the festive season in a variety of locations. Displays will be set up at Town Hall, Alexandra Park, the Orangeville Public Library, Tony Rose Arena, Alder Recreation Centre and the downtown Broadway medians.

The Town is partnering with the Orangeville Business Improvement Area (BIA) and the Orangeville Optimist Club in this latest venture. On Monday, Orangeville Council dedicated $20,000 towards purchasing lights, matching a similar commitment of $20,000 previously made by the BIA. While many of the areas slated for decoration are town-owned facilities, the municipality is also offering local residents the chance to have their own home decorated and featured as part of a community-wide guided tour. 

“We are working with our IT department to map out a self-guided tour using GIS technology. That will give people the chance to travel throughout the community and visit all the lighted sights,” said Sharon Doherty, the Town’s Manager of Recreation and Events. “Through that, we would also allow community residents to apply to have their own homes decorated and added to the tour.”

Now for the big news – staff have worked out an agreement with the Orangeville Fire Department that will see local firefighters chauffer Santa Claus around town in a vintage fire truck in the days leading up to Christmas. 

The idea is to showcase Santa in various neighbourhoods and subdivisions throughout the community to get people into the Christmas spirit. 

“We’re thinking it will be sort of like an ice cream truck concept – you never really know when Santa Claus is going to appear in your neighbourhood,” Ms. Doherty said. 

For their part, local Council loved the idea. Mayor Sandy Brown commended Town staff for pivoting in the face of adversity and coming up with a way to celebrate Christmas across the community during the pandemic, while Coun. Debbie Sherwood could barely contain her excitement at the prospect of Santa Claus visiting local children across the community. 

“I’m so, so happy to hear Santa Claus will be able to come to town. That is something our children and families are just going to love – standing by the windows and waving to Santa, and knowing that he will still be visiting them on Christmas morning,” Coun. Sherwood said. 

To run alongside the event, the BIA is planning to source a large Christmas tree, which will be erected outside Town Hall. There will, however, not be an official Christmas tree lighting ceremony, nor a Moonlight Magic event this year. 

The popular Christmas in the Park event, run annually by the Optimist Club, will also be running in a much-changed format this year. While volunteers have committed to decorating and lighting trees at Kay Cee Gardens in December, there will be no public access to the park so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Staff are aiming to showcase its new light displays on Nov. 22. They will stay up across town until Jan. 8, 2021. 

For more information, or to enquire about having your home decorated and added to the Town’s guided Christmas tour, contact Alison Doering, Recreation and Events Coordinator at 519-940-9092 ext. 4129. 



         

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