While looking at my calendar, I realized this weekend was supposed to be the Santa Claus parade in Toronto. I have always loved the event, mesmerized by the fantastic floats, listening to the wonderful marching bands, and of course, waiting with anticipation for Santa, himself. Sad to say, I had resigned myself to the fact there will not be a parade this year, in Toronto, Scugog or anywhere, for that matter.
Suddenly, out of the blue, I received a phone call and everything changed. You can imagine how excited I was, when I was asked to co-host a ‘virtual’ parade, right here in our own community.
It seems, the Chamber of Commerce has taken it upon themselves to put the challenge out to all the businesses in the area to produce something Christmassy. Maybe I will finally learn how to wrap a present or get an insight into the art of baking Christmas cookies. Perhaps even a lesson on how to make an ornament.
When I first received the request, I had visions of standing alone on Queen Street, trying to comprehend the concept of a virtual Christmas, but thankfully, along with the Mayor, I will be hosting the event at the RogersTV studios, as it will be aired by the cable giant for all to see. Best of all, the virtual parade will take place the same date and time as the original parade in Scugog was to happen; December 5th, at 5 p.m. As if that isn’t fantastic on its own, it will also be shown throughout the month on YouTube.
To further bring the spirit of the holidays home, the Business Improvement Association has gone all out, lighting up the shops for the season. Extra lights will shine brightly, as shoppers have opportunities to actually walk into a store, talk to a clerk and purchase gifts. As easy as sitting in my jammies in front of the big Amazon logo at home may be, nothing beats the thrill of going out, getting gift ideas, chatting with other shoppers and finding that special something.
Incredibly, the Chamber is also sponsoring a holiday lighting contest, where you get to decorate your house or place of business and have it judged to possibly win prizes. Details will appear all over town soon, and I have already dug up my lights from the basement.
Well, it seems my dismal perspective of this year’s potentially non-existent Christmas has become an event to look forward to. It may not be the same as in previous years, but that is certainly not to say it won’t be as good, or even better. Whatever the outcome, it will be a Christmas to remember.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on Rogers TV, the Standard Website or YouTube