The Sourdough Rendezvous Queen and Santa get a ride down Main Street during the Winterval parade in December 2015. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Santa Claus to skip Whitehorse this year unless funding found

’We’re a not-for-profit. If we don’t have the money for an event we don’t put it on’

Barring a Christmas miracle, Good Saint Nick will be skipping his annual stop at the Whitehorse Santa Claus parade this year.

Unless money comes through, the parade will be cancelled, said Dean Tower, the president of Unlikely Events Yukon (UEY), the non-profit group that puts it on.

UEY has been putting on the parade since 1994 and usually gets the majority of its funding for the event through the arts fund, which is managed by the Department of Tourism and Culture. This year the group did not get funding, Tower said.

The parade has been a part of UEY’s Winterval Arts Festival. Winterval also encompassed kids crafts, music and other community events that came after the parade proper, Tower said. Those events will also be cancelled if funding can’t be found.

“We were kind of expecting (not to get it this year),” he said. “(The parade) really doesn’t fit with their mandate.”

Angela Drainville, artistic director for UEY, said she was “in support of arts funding going to arts projects,” and that the parade was not an arts project, but a community event.

“We’re a not-for-profit. If we don’t have the money for an event we don’t put it on,” said Tower.

UEY officials received a letter from the Department of Tourism and Culture at the end of August, informing them that the parade would not be receiving arts fund money this year. They were instructed to apply again in September, which they did, Tower said. But the money wouldn’t be available until December, too late for the parade, which usually takes place the last week of November or the first week of December, he said.

UEY met with Mayor Dan Curtis Oct. 12, to ask for more funding.

“We were told no,” said Tower.

“We’ve always put in the legwork for the Santa Claus Parade and the city has been very happy to let us do that,” Tower said. “We can kind of assumed the city would step up but we were told the city wouldn’t give us any more money.”

This year, the city had pledged $1,000 in cash and $1,800 in-kind support. This funding has beem consistent over the years, said city spokesperson Jessica Apolloni.

“Historically, the funding for this event (from the city) has been phenomenally low,” said Drainville. “The mayor didn’t seem to feel this was a city event.”

Curtis said this was the first he had heard of the cancellation, and that he was “pretty confident” there would be “a Santa Claus marching down Main Street.”

City funding for events is determined by committee and there’s no more money to give the parade, he said. Even if money could be found it would have to come “out of the pocket” of some other organization’s event, he said.

“In, short, this time around, it just isn’t possible.”

Regardless of what happens with the parade, Curtis said, the city will host the tree lighting “as it has every year for the last 30 years.”

Douglas Hnatiuk, manager of parks and community development for the city, said UEY never filed reporting for last year’s event. UEY can’t get this year’s $1,000 until that paper work is finished, he said.

Tower said he believed all the paperwork had been completed.

Jonathan Parker, director of policy and communications for the Department of Tourism and Culture, said arts fuding is determined by the Arts Advisory Council, a group made up of artists from the community.

“We don’t provide funding for the Santa Claus parade,” he said.

Department records show UEY received funding from arts fund for the past 10 years, specifically for Winterval, not just for the parade, Parker said. That funding ranged between $10,000 and $20,000 per year.

This year, however, UEY’s application was deemed incomplete by the Arts Advisory Council, and they were asked to apply again for the Sept. 15 deadline, which UEY has done five times before, he said.

Parker said that application was never submitted.

Tower said UEY had submitted all the proper paperwork, and didn’t understand what was different about their original application.

“That was curious,” he said. “We provided all the same information we have in previous years.”

Parker said there might be other funding sources for the parade available from the department.

“We are happy to talk with them,” he said.

Bottom line, Tower said, is that UEY needs a minimum of $7,500 before “they can even approach” potential corporate sponsors for the parade.

“That’s our minimum, our basic, what we need from blanket government funding.”

Tower said if funding were to come from somewhere by Oct. 31, UEY would be able to host the parade. But the organization hasn’t hired anyone yet, and it would be “a bit of a panic.”

When the weather is good the Santa Claus parade draws between 1,500 and 2,000 people, Tower said.

“The parade is an important thing to the community and it’s an important thing for me.”

Contact Lori Fox at lori.fox@yukon-news.com

Santa ClausWhitehorse city council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read