Bad idea to trot out Santa Claus before Remembrance Day

A Montreal shopping mall criticized for bringing out Santa an hour before ceremonies

A Montreal shopping mall has been criticized for its decision to trot out Santa Claus about an hour before ceremonies are held on Remembrance Day to honour Canada’s war dead.

Saint Nick will be at Place Versailles on Saturday morning — a move described by some social media users as a terrible lack of judgment.

Many called on the bearded one’s visit to be rescheduled but the mall responded by saying it isn’t logistically possible to have Santa come another day.

His elaborate entrance by helicopter has been promoted for several days.

“Rest assured that in no case did we want to ignore the memory of our veterans and all those who made the greatest sacrifices for our country,” the mall wrote in a statement this week.

“Unfortunately, logistical constraints beyond our control made the November 11th date the only time we could proceed with the arrival by helicopter.”

Management apologized in a Facebook post and said it will also mark Remembrance Day in some fashion.

“We apologize deeply to all those who were shocked by this choice of date,” the post said. “We will make the necessary arrangements to honour all those who served our country on November 11th.”

Kenneth R. Ouellet, president of the Quebec branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, described the mall’s decision to welcome Santa on Saturday as “regrettable” and said it is likely to offend veterans.

“We can’t do anything (to change) it, but there should be more education put out there as to the importance of the day and the hour and the why,” he said in a phone interview.

Ouellet said the mall should try to delay Santa’s arrival until the 11 a.m. Remembrance Day ceremonies conclude.

In the future, he’d also like Quebec to follow the lead of most other Canadian provinces and declare the day a statuory holiday.

— With files from Sidhartha Banerjee and Morgan Lowrie

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Threatened species found nesting at Teck Trail

Canadian data collected from 1968 to 2005 show an 80 per cent decline of the Common Nighthawk

Pitching proportional representation

Advocates say about half of population is aware of referendum

Genesis of a Trail mural

Toews is planning to begin painting the mural next week

RAM Camp opens next week, all musicians welcome

You don’t have to be accomplished to go to the two-day camp, organizers say

Lost sheep returned to the fold — stolen sculpture reappears

The Castlegar Sculpturewalk sculpture was reported missing Tuesday.

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Supporters of B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist pack courtoom

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Most Read