Talk about cheek - the Mayor makes no apology for breaking the rules on public processions.

News 100 redBy Staff

April 30th, 2020


In a Statement from City Hall we are told that:

“Communities all over the world are finding new and unique ways amid the social distancing requirements of COVID19 to celebrate significant milestones, including birthdays, retirements, weddings, health progress and more.

“One of these ways is “drive-by” processions. Family and friends drive by the location of their loved ones to wave and offer some cheer from a safe, social distance.

“These drive-by celebrations have a small but powerful, positive influence on the participants, the recipients as well as the surrounding neighbourhoods and we need to find a way to support them in a controlled and legal manner.

“Some of these have grown significantly in size, duration and frequency.

“Upon review of provincial emergency orders, any parade larger than five vehicles at one time would be prohibited. Halton Region Public Health discourages parades but has provided some guidelines below that allow for limited ability for small scale, local processions.

MMW on procession toJB

A segment lifted from the YouTube film on the drive by to the hospital – events that the province has pointed out are not permitted.

Wow! Talk about cheek – a few weeks ago the Mayor was at the front of a procession to the hospital where she hopped out of her car – megaphone in hand to tell the hospital staff how much they were appreciated.

We learn today that Provincial emergency orders prohibit any organized public events of more than five people, including a parade.

As such an organized public event in the form of vehicle parades for birthdays or other celebrations of more than five people who not members of a single household are prohibited by O.Reg. 52/20.

Region of Halton Public Health has guidelines for parades. These events would first have to comply with the provincial emergency orders in size.

These drive-by parades are becoming more common and can be a way to celebrate an event. However, it is important that public health measures continue to be followed during these types of events.

Mayor hospital clap

Mayor Meed Ward on her first drive by with a good dozen public vehicles behind the car she was in – sirens blaring – lights flashing. She just loves a parade.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward explains: “The drive-by parades have given a lot of joy to people in a creative way, amid the physical distancing restrictions of COVID-19 and at a time when we’ve been unable to socially connect like we used to.

I was honoured to participate in one recently. These parades have been an awesome idea when they’ve been kept to a certain scale — unfortunately, the larger they get, the harder it is to maintain physical distancing and keep health and safety protocols in place. We need to follow the provincial emergency orders and public health advice and keep the size and frequency of these events to a reasonable scale. Our focus is keeping everyone safe and healthy, and I’m very proud of our residents who are thinking of creative ways to socially connect while doing so.”

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20 comments to Talk about cheek – the Mayor makes no apology for breaking the rules on public processions.

  • Jim

    Same small time power brokers exercising there tiny little power in Boreington,
    Perhaps these parade monitors could be installed at the parade routes at every 20 plus car pile up at coffee shops, and fast food restraunts?

  • Sharon

    Is MMW upset because no one has gone down Martha St. and honked their horn for the “Mayor”?
    She certainly put Burlington on the map last weekend, Burlington was in everyone’s jokes!!

  • Elan

    Emergency powers were granted to the Mayor upon declaration of the emergency in Burlington. That delegates decision-making authority on emergency-related matters from Council to the Mayor. According to a Tweet from Paul Sharman this morning, it appears the rest of City Council was not read-in or necessarily on board with this decision as announced (or aware of the decsion prior to communication). This was MMW’s decision.

    • dave turner

      Probably not a decision of the Mayor but rather of the ECG, of which the Mayor is one voice. (one vote ?).

    • Lynn Crosby

      Yes poor Paul Sharman just can’t get over the fact he isn’t on the committee. The committee is large and includes senior staff and emergency personnel among others. Paul’s problem is it doesn’t include Paul. While he whines about this, people continue to die and get sick and lose their jobs.

  • Perryb

    I wondered about this so I asked the Mayor why. She said that there have been two examples of ‘parades’ involving 150 vehicles including motorcycles, staged in a parking lot somewhere (social distancing observed there?) and winding through the city, and a recent request for help in organizing an even bigger one. As usual, there are idiots who push the envelope when given a chance. Should the rule have been 10 cars, or maybe 50? Hard to draw a line, isn’t it?

    So go ahead and have a neighborhood drive-by, but forget about a kilometre long random procession which is obviously more for the participants than the honorees.

  • Don Fletcher

    Did you catch Ontario’s COVID-19 update today? Doug Ford was asked about Burlington’s apparent restraint on such parades (<5) and said that he thought we were taking things too far. Contrary to this article and my understanding, he said that he (or Jane McKenna) would talk to the Mayor, implying that she was responsible. Not the best national CBC exposure for Burlington

    • Joe Gaetan

      I believe Ford said it was up to the Mayor, even if it isn’t. Here is the thing, we are getting cranky
      and overreacting. As to the press, if it bleeds it leads. Much ado about nothing, nothing to see here, time to move on and let the “nothing police” deal with it.

  • Craig Gardner

    The Toronto media sure is having fun with this (and our banning of painted rocks being left) as I have heard last night on CTV and today 680 news making fun of our mayor and our city over this. Not mentioning it is provincial thing and no other sities seem to be enforcing it. Personally I can not see the risk. Perhaps if we called iit a procession not a parade be okay ?


    This interesting development raises a couple questions in my mind. First have the august scientists of Burlington discovered that the COVID 19 virus is some how spread in exhaust of vehicles. This would in deed be a great breakthrough in understanding the spread of the virus!
    On a more practical note, as it is up to law enforcement to attribute purpose, then any group of more than five vehicles could be deemed to be in violation and ticketed, resulting in the inconvenience of arguing,, with the expense of lawyers, in a courtroom (with more than five people present). So if I am approaching a read light in my car and I notice there are already five vehicles stopped at the light , how far back must a stop? a full block? half a block? how far? in order to avoid being in violation of Burlington’s interpretation of social distancing rules?

  • Heidi neal

    You’re proud of them?? That’s why you’re banning celebratory car parades?? Overstepping largesse!

  • For the first time I think social distancing laws are going too far. No harm in people staying in their cars, driving by offering support for kids birthdays or first responders. People in Burlington have been pretty good abiding by the rules.

  • Judy christie

    Too bad!! The parade made us feel so good! Even the residents of Wellington Terrace had met on the corner(at a distance) waiting for the parade last Friday and were disappointed when it did not show. Is it really that dangerous when everyone is in trucks and cars and self distancing. It was such an upbeat thank-you to all of our very precious first line workers.

  • Paul

    More like a double standard!! Here is another one. Try to get simple Lawn Care Service companies to maintain your seasonal properties in rural cottage country, while you are trying to honor the stay at home order. Some Municipalities are not allowing that service either, yet have bylaws on their books that state you have to maintain your property. Stupid is, as stupid does!

  • Penny Hersh

    Does this mean there will not be a “siren” parade this evening? Or will there only be 5 vehicles?

  • WC

    What a ridiculous decision. News is mocking her rightfully so.
    No harm in putting smiles on people’s faces.

  • Brian Jones

    My granddaughter wss a recipient of the good wish driveby that seems to be creating such a commotion. During these dreary and unknown what comes next, it is gratifying to see a group or groups getting out for good causes to kids under 15.
    In this case, neighbours knew, bypassers stopped (distance) no one left a car, no one left properties, no one congregated. They all clapped playing music and wow, enjoyed a short time .
    The parade was large but it’s nice to see people appreciating people and deeds. They then went on to the next birthday. EVERYONE enjoyed EVERYONE.
    The Mayor has nothing and notice she does not, any need to apologize.
    I myself, took part in a 20 car. That was family so I believe the province is slightly off base.
    We observed not getting out of the cars waved and drove away. There is little traffic these days.
    Oh, and yes it is cheeky for the Gazette, if I read right, to point out the Mayor out of her car in a previous hospital drive. I did not see an infraction of distancing. Did you?

  • Lynn Crosby

    You forgot this part:

    “Police, fire and paramedics do participate in the city’s monthly first responder hospital salutes, the first Friday of each month during the emergency, supervised by police escort.“. So it sounds like those will continue. They are happening in many cities.

    I believe the parades she is talking about here are separate private parades that some groups were doing to celebrate children’s birthdays, for example. Last weekend Mayor Meed Ward attended one of those, which began small but they are growing. This announcement presumably is saying those can’t continue unless they are kept smaller and the rules followed, etc.

  • Michelle Harris

    The City has severely overstepped. Not more than 2 weeks ago, they replied to a tweet about “Burlington Dads” doing drive by’s for Birthdays. It said that it not only lifted the spirits of the recipients but also to the neighbour’s during this tough time. The Mayor even posted about it. You would think they would have better things to do, (like talking about pay cuts to staff and council members) to further reduce the negative impact this pandemic is causing on the City financially. (Including it’s residents) The City should not police people driving in their cars and honking their horns. This is a total disgrace and already being mocked on local tv news programs.