STREETSVILLE SCROOGED!

But will Bad Boys save the pa­rade?

24 Hours Toronto - - NEWS - JOE WARMINGTON

You would think Santa and his rein­deer would have job se­cu­rity for life!

Not in Streetsville.

After 42 years of tra­di­tion, the an­nual Santa Claus pa­rade is no more. It’s just not ev­ery day Santa Claus is given his walk­ing papers.

But it’s not re­ally the story of be­ing Santa be­ing Scrooged. There’s nu­ance here.

Seems the Santa Claus Pa­rade, a sta­ple since 1974, is be­ing re­placed with the Streetsville Christ­mas in the Vil­lage Fes­ti­val and mar­ket on Nov. 24-25. It will be two days of fun on the street in­stead of just a cou­ple of hours is how those in favour are pre­sent­ing it.

“Santa will still be here to take pic­tures with,” said Glo­ria Lipp­stamp, of Joanne Lipp Euro­pean Skin Care. “There will be some­thing for adults and the kids.” How­ever, there are skep­tics. “I wish they would put it back on,” said Am­mar Al-kuwaiti, who owns the tasty Burger Leg­end. “It is our busiest day of the year.”

This year — in­stead of Queen St. be­ing closed for three hours — it will be shut down for two blocks in and around the main square. Tents, Christ­mas dis­plays and the of­fer­ings of lo­cal ar­ti­sans and food ven­dors will fill the square.

“We were al­ways on the pa­rade route and served hot choco­late and had a bar­be­cue with all pro­ceeds go­ing to the food bank,” said Dina Stearns, who works at Franklin House.

Cus­tomer El­iz­a­beth Krog, 24, said as a kid, she looked for­ward to “sit­ting on the side­walk” and wait­ing for Santa with her fam­ily. “It seems kind of weird to can­cel it,” she said.

Even for­mer Mississauga Mayor Hazel Mc­cal­lion was taken aback.

“I am dis­ap­pointed,” she said. “I had been in­vited and had marked it on my cal­en­der. But then I was told at the Remembrance Day ser­vice it was not hap­pen­ing. I did not find out the rea­son why.”

But Lipp-stamp ex­plained “it just got too big for us. We are just a small vil­lage and putting on the pa­rade was a lot of work and ex­pense and we don’t have the vol­un­teers.”

In an e-mail to Streetsville Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Area mem­bers, Todd Lad­ner, of leg­endary Lad­ner’s Cloth­iers, ex­plained per­haps the fu­ture could see the city of Mississauga “fund” and “or­ga­nize” a Santa Claus pa­rade in Streetsville but “the BIA is not a com­mu­nity group re­spon­si­ble for city en­ter­tain­ment events. Our man­date is to im­prove busi­ness for our Streetsville mem­bers. The Mar­ket will be out­stand­ing for ev­ery­one!”

While a good point, not ev­ery­one sees it that way.

“No no­tice of any kind from no one to give a heads-up,” wrote Blaine Shaw in an e-mail to the BIA. “Has the all pow­er­ful dol­lar fi­nally taken over the one time a year where chil­dren are first and not the bot­tom line? I hope a chunk of coal for each of you!”

But there could be a mir­a­cle around the cor­ner if Mel and Blayne Last­man have any say!

The for­mer Toronto mayor and his leg­endary Bad Boy re­tailer son have stepped up to try to save the can­celled pa­rade.

“I think of the kids,” says Mel. “The kids have to have a Santa Claus pa­rade at Christ­mas.”

Mel’s first call was to Mayor Bon­nie Crom­bie’s of­fice. “We reached out to her but she’s away at a meet­ing in New York. We’ve touched base with her of­fice and got it started.”

Both Last­mans said if she backs the idea, and it’s some­thing the res­i­dents and mer­chants want, they will make it hap­pen.

“I am told it will cost be­tween $40,000 to $50,000 to get the pa­rade back on and I will try to get peo­ple to chip in,” added Blayne. “But no mat­ter what, I am good for the $50,000.”

Move over the Grinch who stole Christ­mas. It just might be a cou­ple of Bad Boys who help save it.

“My feel­ing on Christ­mas is the Santa Claus pa­rade is for ev­ery kid and it shouldn’t cost a cent,” Mel added.

DAVE ABEL/POSTMEDIA NET­WORK

Store owner Am­mar Al-kuwaiti serves up some burg­ers at Burger Leg­end in Streetsville.

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