County parades a success
Safety of participants in parades becomes paramount after tragic accident in Yarmouth
Victoria County welcomed in this year’s holiday season with two special Christmas parades.
The Village of Baddeck held its first ever parade of lights on Nov. 24 as part the village’s “Magical Seaside Christmas”. A week later, Ingonish marked its tenth evening parade.
Both Victoria County parades passed without mishap, something parade committees north and south of Smokey are reflecting on in light of the Nov. 24 parade tragedy on the mainland. During the nighttime Santa Claus parade in Yarmouth, a four-year old died after falling under a float.
"We were devastated. I can't even imagine what they're going through," said Ingonish Activities Society member Shelly Coones on Nov. 27.
In the days leading up to the Dec. 1 Ingonish parade, the Ingonish Activities Society ramped up communications about parade safety reminding float drivers to stay a safe distance from the floats in front, assign designated walkers to hand out candy, avoid walking beside floats, and travel at walking speed.
Dawn Mackinnon was this year’s Baddeck Parade Committee Chair. Despite a well-organized and safe parade, she said the Yarmouth tragedy was still a “wake-up call”. The committee will hold a debrief while the event is still fresh in their minds. Mackinnon has taken note of informal feedback about street salting and lighting.
Mackinnon was nervous leading up to Baddeck’s first-ever nighttime parade, but got choked up by the end result of a week’s worth of organizing.
“When I saw all the floats and I could hear the kids, especially when they saw Santa, well, that was the greatest.”
A total of 39 floats took part in both county parades this year. In Ingonish: Cabot Education Centre, Hawley’s Lawn Care, Scotiabank, Highland Manor, Ingonish Home Hardware, John Fraser Memorial Committee, Buchanan Memorial Hospital, Groovy Goat Farm & Soap Co., Nova Scotia Power, Ski Cape Smokey, Doucette’s Market & Clay’s Confectionary, Donovan’s Rona, RCMP, Victoria Co-op Fisheries, Cape Breton Highlands Karate Club, Cabot trail Lion’s Club, Ingonish Volunteer Fire Dept, Eric’s Backhoe & Trucking, Ingonish Recreational Society and Ingonish Beach Volunteer Fire Dept.
In Baddeck: 4-H Nova Scotia; BABTA; Baptist Church; Baddeck Youth Group; Cape Breton Search and Rescue; Department of Natural Resources; First Step Physiotherapy; The Golden Collar; The Herring Choker Deli; Lighthouse Loop Relay and Baddeck Marine; Lion's Club; Municipality of the County of Victoria; Parks Canada; Tim Hortons; Tom's Pizza & Restaurant; Victoria County Memorial Hospital; Wagmatcook Sparks and Brownies; Inverary Resort.
Buchanan Memorial Hospital float took first prize at the 10th Annual Ingonish Parade of Lights. The parade keeps one lane open. Floats stick to one side of the road while the other lane is reserved for emergencies in case something had to get through. Spectators view floats from the sidewalk on same side of road as the floats. The 2km parade route starts at the Ingonish Recreational Society and finishes at the Keltic Lodge with a trophy ceremony and refreshments.