He’s back! Winnipeg’s Santa Claus Parade Continues Pandemic Twist

The man in red is back! After a two-year hiatus, Santa Claus graced the streets of Winnipeg on Saturday in a different kind of Santa Claus Parade.

This time, kids and their families had pre-registered to walk past Santa as he sat on his traditional float behind Shaw Park, rather than waiting in the crowd for him to parade by.

“I’m just happy to be back,” Santa told CBC News.

“The elves have been busy! We keep social distancing in the North Pole and they have made lots of toys for all the kids.”

This year’s parade required all eligible youth and adults to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and children who cannot be accompanied by an immunized parent. Everyone had to be masked too.

Santa Claus Parade Winnipeg
A child waves to Santa during the Santa Claus Parade in Winnipeg on Saturday. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Gil Cyr was able to take his son to Santa at the sold-out event.

The father normally comes to the pageant every year, but couldn’t last year because of the pandemic. That parade was virtual as Santa told the kids to stay ho-ho-home.

“It’s nice to be out with everyone and all the kids and to see everyone happy. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.

Laura Perry also took her daughters, Evelyn and Grace, outside.

“We wanted to see what it’s like to be like Christmas… and see friends and family,” Evelyn said.

Grace wasn’t having the best time, though. Her candy cane fell to the floor.

Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade
A child says hello to Santa during the Winnipeg parade on Saturday. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Laura said she didn’t mind the health restrictions during the parade.

“There aren’t that many activities these days, so it’s quite a fun way to get out, get some fresh air and see Santa.”

The past two years have been tough, but Santa has a message for all the kids in Manitoba.

“I want everyone to stay safe and don’t forget to leave me some milk and cookies and some carrots for the reindeer,” he said.

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