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This Week in Canada: Christmas Markets Open, World AIDS Day Events, Holiday Party Trends, and More

BizBash's new Canada-focused column covers the week's biggest event news.

The 116th annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade will be recorded prior to its Dec. 5 air date and will appear on CTV and CTV2 as a two-hour broadcast. While the parade typically takes place in the city, organizers have moved it to Canada’s Wonderland to allow for social distancing. It will include 23 colorful floats, special musical guest performances, and celebrity appearances.
The 116th annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade will be recorded prior to its Dec. 5 air date and will appear on CTV and CTV2 as a two-hour broadcast. While the parade typically takes place in the city, organizers have moved it to Canada’s Wonderland to allow for social distancing. It will include 23 colorful floats, special musical guest performances, and celebrity appearances.
Photo: Courtesy of Santa Claus Parade

Welcome to BizBash's new column, covering Canada’s biggest event news from coast to coast. Got a tip? Get in touch!

In Case You Missed It
On bizbash.com, we recently rounded up new venues for events in TorontoMontreal, and Vancouver. We also spotlighted Calgary’s Pop Up Series, which created art-filled dining experiences around the city—and provided some much-needed work to event production pros. Catch up on all our Canada-related coverage at bizbash.com/canada

Provincial News
Alberta: 
Royal LePage South Country and the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation ran their 2020 Royal Gala Fundraiser for YWCA Harbour House, a local women's emergency shelter, from Nov. 24- 30. Using the Handbid auction app, participants were invited to submit auction items, register as a cash sponsor, or bid on offers from various local businesses, including restaurants, day spas, and golf memberships. This year’s event aimed to raise $75,000—the amount needed for 540 “safe nights,” which provide food, shelter, crisis counseling, and more for women and children escaping domestic violence.

British Columbia: As part of the Toys for Kids program, off-duty members of the Vancouver Firefighter Charitable Society delivered toys and a donation check to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau program in an antique fire truck on Dec. 1. In previous years, the firefighter association has participated in the Pan Pacific Christmas Wish Breakfast, a toy drive with live holiday music and a hot buffet prepared by Pan Pacific Vancouver hotel staff. Since the 2020 edition was canceled, the society has set up an online donation center, with proceeds being used to purchase toys from London Drugs. 

Halifax: Not-for-profit historical society Halifax Citadel is running its annual Victorian Christmas event virtually from Nov. 27-Dec. 20. Every day, the group is sharing different 19th-century Christmas-themed content, including stories, recipes, and crafts, while viewers are encouraged to post photos in their favorite Victorian costumes. The program is raising funds for Feed Nova Scotia, which supplies 140 food banks province-wide.

Ontario: The Bluffs Winter Wonderland drive-thru experience opened in Scarborough on Nov. 27 and runs until Dec. 20. With a tunnel featuring over 50,000 lights, and multiple scenic stops including Reindeer Way, Snowman Alley, and The Enchanted Forest, the journey ends with a distanced meet-and-greet with Santa Claus. Children are asked to drop off their Christmas lists in a mailbox outside Santa’s House, and adults are encouraged to tune into 107.5 Kool FM for a holiday playlist. Event proceeds will support the Toronto Beaches Lions Club and Feed Scarborough, which manages four local food banks and mobile healthy meal programs.

Quebec: Village de Noël de Montréal opened at Atwater Market, for the fifth year on Nov. 26. The free event features a wide variety of eco-friendly artisanally crafted goods, including honey, cosmetics, and essential oils, as well as holiday menus from La Baraque, La Taverne, Le Chalet Savoyard, and Cabane à Sucre de Noël. Tomorrow, the Jean-Talon Christmas Market invites residents to enjoy hot chocolate and churros in between tree shopping, and the Winter Gardens walkway through Place des Arts opens on Saturday. All events are produced by Noël Montréal, which specializes in Christmas markets events.

Coast-to-Coast
World AIDS Day events took place across the country on Dec. 1. For Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week, Vancouver’s Pacific AIDS Network held a screening and panel for the documentary Healing Inner Voices, while HIV Edmonton hosted a presentation including a remembrance ceremony, community knowledge-sharing, and music. In Toronto, the Casey House care home raised funds for HIV/AIDS programs through an online concert featuring Canada’s Drag Race contestant Tynomi Banks, Juno-nominated classical soprano Shannon Mercer, and Milton-based blues guitarist Gavin McLeod. More cities, including Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Halifax, Ottawa, and Montreal, held in-person and virtual vigils, workshops, and health fairs. 

Four out of 10 Canadians plan to alter their holiday plans to include virtual celebration events, according to a new report by Staples Canada. Due to the pandemic, 84% of Canadians indicated that they would be limiting in-person visits, while 56% said that they’re aiming to provide more personalized gifts, and 47% intend to deliver gifts by mail.  

Overheard
“We're asking people to think about their choices and become a conscious consumer. The bottom line is the consumer has the power to make a difference here. We're not powerless in this pandemic. The choices we make every day will shape what Canada is going to look like tomorrow. The survival of small businesses in your neighborhood depends on your support.”

—Laura Jones, executive vice president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, speaking to CP24 about the importance of shopping local on Small Business Saturday.

On the Scene
The Calgary Zoo’s light-up tradition returned on Nov. 20. 

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