Mattawa still glowing after successful Parade of Lights
Toronto Star
 

This past Saturday, the Firefighter’s Parade of Lights illuminated many smiling faces as the festive procession wound its way through Mattawa.

“I think we’re going to put on a good show for the community,” Calvin’s Fire Department’s chief Dean Maxwell enthused to Chelsey Grant, the town’s communications coordinator moments before the parade began.

“We love being a part of the parade,” Maxwell added, “and doing it for the kids.”

Once 6 o’clock struck, Maxwell and his crew hit the sirens to announce the parade was rolling out, starting at the Mattawa Nursing Home and Hospital.

Many of the nursing home residents enjoy watching the parade and beginning the festivities before the home is a tradition within the town.

“This is a very important element in planning our route,” Grant said, “and we wanted to stick with that special tradition.”

Many participated in this year’s parade, including Papineau-Cameron Fire Chief Neil O’Grady, who arrived with his team with some decorated trucks.

“They also had a Mario themed float which was a crowd favourite,” Grant noted.

The crowd was enthralled, and Grant received much feedback from residents. She was told “this is the best parade Mattawa has ever had,” and not only the best, but “biggest” as well.

“The best parade in a long time,” enthused one resident, while another praised the “amazing show of lights and sirens.”

One parade watcher told Grant that it was “amazing how our small community came together.”

The parade was organized by the Firefighter’s Parade of Lights committee, consisting of Mattawa Fire Chief Paul Lafreniere, a representative from the Fire Association Dan O’Grady, and Papineau-Cameron Fire Chief Neil O’Grady.

The Fire Association Head Marielle O’Grady, Calvin Fire Chief Dean Maxwell and Fire Association Head Jordan Whalley were also involved.

Mattawa’s recreation manager Renee Paquette and Chelsey Grant were also on board.

Along with the organizers, Grant wanted to thank Gary Anderson at Anderson Trucking for donating trailers to help make many of the floats. The town of Mattawa took him up on his offer, and for the first time in parade history, they had a float of their own.

That float had a candy land theme, put together by staff and volunteers at the public works garage last Thursday.

“Fun was had by all,” Grant ensured.

In total, there were 20 floats in the parade, “an amazing turnout” for the event.

Chief Lafreniere and his Mattawa fire crew had the honour of ensuring Santa and his reindeer were safe and sound on the Mattawa Fire Truck throughout the parade.

At the end of the procession, Santa spent some time at Town Hall to pose for photos with the kids and enjoy some hot chocolate provided by Chief Lafreniere and Tim Hortons.

Santa also enjoyed the tree lighting ceremony, which was delivered by Councillor Laura Ross and Paquette, before returning to his own sled to make his way home to the North Pole.

“It was amazing how the local fire departments, the Mattawa Recreation Department, and the community came together this year to work as a team,” Grant said.

“Working together definitely pays off and we put on a fantastic parade for our beautiful community.“

To preserve the holiday magic, Mattawa Recreation has posted videos of the parade on their Facebook page.

 

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