Veterans will have to share Remembrance Day with Santa Claus at east end mall

A mall in Montreal’s east end is facing some heavy criticism for the timing of its holiday festivities.

Santa Claus will be arriving at Place Versailles by helicopter on Sunday – which is Remembrance Day.

Radio host Pierre Arcand interviewed veteran Daniel Chenard, who said holding a Christmas event on Remembrance Day was disrespectful to those who fought for our country.

“I don’t know what they were thinking, but I’m sure the veterans think there’s a lack of respect,” said Stan Kircoff, president of the Verdun Legion, Branch 4.

“It’s not a good idea,” added legion member Michael Ryan, whose father and grandfather both served in World War I and II. “If anything, merchants should realize that the 11th is a special day for Canada, especially this year being the 100th anniversary of Passchendaele.”

Place Versailles put out a statement on Facebook apologizing for the overlap, but said because of logistical constraints, November 11 is the only possible day to fly in Pere Noel.

Kircoff said traditionally retailers hold off on Christmas activities until after Remembrance Day.

“The general consensus around here is they should have waited maybe a week and then do it,” he said, adding that it’s important not to forget those who served for our country.

In the Facebook statement, the mall’s administration promised to make arrangements to honour Remembrance Day.

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