By Charlie Senack
Santa Claus is coming back to Barrhaven.
The annual community Santa Claus Parade will take place on Strandherd Drive Nov. 19. The route will begin at Beatrice at 5:30 p.m. and will end at the Strandherd Park and Ride.
Organizer Dawn Lilly said around 40 floats are expected to take part this year, including: Amazon, Exhalo Spa, the Salvation Army, Boy Scouts and multiple schools and churches.
“We hope all of Barrhaven comes out so it would be great to see 90,000 people out there,” Lilly said. “Dress warm and come get a good spot on Strandherd. There is lots of space to spread out.”
Last year, the City of Ottawa estimates 38,000 people braved the cold temperatures to watch the parade. Lilly said more floats are taking part this year than last.
“We are celebrating the fact that we can get together and start off the holiday season in Barrhaven. It’s about six weeks before Christmas so the perfect time to start celebrating,” she said.
The Barrhaven Food Cupboard will be in attendance collecting donations. Last year they raised about 2,000 pounds of food.
“They will have their truck and volunteers walking the parade route collecting non-perishable food items,” Lilly said. “As we know the Barrhaven Food Cupboard has had a hard time this year so anything people can bring out would be great. They will also be walking with their QR code for monetary donations so people can click and donate right away.”
The Barrhaven Food Cupboard has felt the pressure of rising food prices with more families turning to them for services. They went from fielding 260 requests in Aug. 2022, to 450 during the same month this year. To ensure they could keep their doors open at Walter Baker, the BFC set a goal of raising $180,000. As of last month they were at over 75 per cent of their target.
Barrhaven’s Santa Claus Parade has been in existence for over 25 years. It started with the Lions Club and has only grown since. Lilly said it’s a tradition families look forward to every year.
Lilly, who is a trailblazing volunteer in the Barrhaven community, has been part of the parades organizing team for eight years. She works tirelessly throughout the year to ensure the festive occasion can continue for generations to come.
“It’s about bringing the community together to celebrate not just the holiday season, but our community as a whole,” Lilly said. “I love to see the smiling faces of the kids when the floats, lights, and Santa of course, goes by. I love working with all the businesses and organizations.”
The Barrhaven Santa Claus Parade is held every year on the third Sunday in November.
Breakfast with Santa will be held on Dec. 2 at Barrhaven Fellowship Church, and Barrhaven’s Family Skate Day will be held at the Minto Recreation Complex Dec. 3.
Santa Claus waves to the crowd lining Strandherd Drive during last year’s parade.
Charlie Senack photo