The tradition of lighting up the night for a Christmas Parade has been a hot button topic in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) for years now.
Tuesday evening council will decide on whether to rescind a 2019 motion to ban nighttime parades.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea. Nighttime parades have all the glamour of Christmas and the lights add to that. I think the nighttime parade will be a good addition,” said Lloyd MacIntosh, chief of the North Sydney Volunteer Fire Department
Nighttime parades are a tradition in many parts of the Maritimes, including in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., and Northern Cape Breton.
“We are one of the last municipalities to not have a nighttime parade. Halifax has a nighttime parade and most of the other communities are having nighttime parades and it’s a nice added touch to the Christmas season,” said MacIntosh.
In 2019, CBRM council voted seven-to-four to end nighttime parades, in part due to safety concerns after the tragic death of a little girl at a parade in Yarmouth, N.S.
Ever since, there’s been public pressure to bring it back.
“This is like the heavy garbage conversation. Every year it seems to filter its way back into the council chambers. There is certainly an interest from the community in nighttime parades,” said Cyril MacDonald, CBRM councillor.
According to some parade organizers, participation numbers have dropped off since switching to daytime hours, while other parades have cancelled all together.
If done right, MacDonald says there’s no reason not to bring back the former nighttime tradition.
“Should we all stop driving at night because it’s dark out, no. We drive differently, with headlights on. I think there are ways we can do this. It happens everywhere else,” said MacDonald.
If the motion carries, council will then hear from police on whether to go ahead.
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