MORRISBURG – Seeing the first snowfall of the season, reminded Santa that it’s time to let the community know that he will definitely be here in Morrisburg for the annual Santa Claus parade the first Saturday in December.
The parade will take place, December 3, and starts at 11 a.m.
George Davies has been Santa’s lead helper for the Morrisburg parade since its inception in the early 90s.
George recalls quite clearly how his involvement got started. “It was in the 1990s. The Morrisburg BIA, wanted to organize a parade,” Davies told The Leader, “so they did.”
“The first year it took place it was just a fire truck and a wagon. It was more like a wagon ride to go around and look at Christmas lights,” he recalled.
George had just moved here in 1993. He was at the Morrisburg BIA when the first parade was planned. While he admired the BIA’s initiative to get the new Christmas event started, George wasn’t happy with the first parade. Right then he knew he had to do more to turn that basic parade into something much bigger.
Davies, who had grown up in Montreal West, came to this community knowing a lot about Santa Claus parades. “My uncle and my father were the heads of the Santa Claus parade in Montreal West,” said Davies. He said he first got involved with the Montreal West parade when he was only about 8-9 years old: “I guess it’s in my blood.”
As soon as Davies took on the Morrisburg Santa Parade as his own personal project and gift to the community he has never looked back. He’s been growing the festivities every year. It’s not unusual to see upwards of 50 floats on any given year. George is humble about the effort that goes into the event: “Once you get started, it all kind of falls into place year after year and it’s been pretty good,” said Davies.
The only time the parade hasn’t taken place was in 2020 when pandemic restrictions kept it from happening. The parade made a comeback in 2021 and will continue in 2022 thanks to Davies and his family. While George’s health has slowed him down, his family now steps up to keep the parade running as smoothly as ever. “I still like to keep my thumb in it,” said George.
George’s daughter Lori, said that it’s pretty difficult to put the time and effort into its organization that George has devoted to it over the years.
“He always started working on next year’s parade the day of the parade, booking people to return,” said Lori. All year long he was always looking for additions and ideas for the next parade and even attended all the parades he could to see what works, and what doesn’t work.
“By July/August things are already being put in motion for the parade,” said Lori.
George and Lori both mentioned that getting bands to participate in the parade is much more difficult since the pandemic.
The Davies’ hope that maybe those who are preparing floats for this year’s parade will incorporate some Christmas-themed music to add to the festivity.
As always, anyone who wants to enter a float or join the parade is welcome. “Just give us a call and let us know you’re coming,” said George. Lori also mentioned that while they have a set crew who help out the day of the parade, they welcome any help or suggestions any time. “Feel free to reach out, we’re always open to ideas,” said Lori. (She can be reached at 613-360-5877).
The day of the parade, staging takes place in parking lots surrounding the St. Lawrence Street area. Usually right on time, the parade starts at 11 a.m.
Travelling south along St. Lawrence Street to Fifth street. The parade heads west to Augusta. The route follows Augusta Street south to First Street and then turns east for the length of First Street to Ottawa Street. It travels along Ottawa Street and then onto Maud to Sir James Morris Drive. At Fifth Street, the parade turns right and then takes Dairy and heads into the shopping centre and then back to the Morisburg fire station where it ends.
“This year the fire hall will be open for everyone, which is a first since the pandemic,” said Davies. There kids can grab a snack and visit with Santa.