"A very tragic incident, very traumatic for everyone who was involved with the parade and at the scene," said Cpl. Dal Hutchinson, of the Nova Scotia RCMP.
"My understanding is there were a lot of people nearby when this took place. So our thoughts right now are with this little girl's family, as it's a very difficult time, but also with the community, with people that were there watching the parade."
The incident happened just before 7 p.m. near the intersection of Main Street and Starrs Road in Yarmouth, about an hour after the Yarmouth Christmas Parade of Lights began.
Here comes Santa Claus! Downtown St. Johns Christmas Parade is a go
"She was not on the float. She was running alongside of the moving float when she fell underneath the float," Hutchinson said.
But on Sunday afternoon, the Tri-County Regional Centre for Education announced the girl was a pre-primary student.
In an email, the centre said members of its crisis management team will be at schools Tuesday morning (Monday was a scheduled day off for students) to provide support to staff and students.
“Its a tragedy beyond anything anyone could have imagined,” said Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood on Sunday. “Most important, I think, is the community reaching out to each other, trying to comfort each other.”
Vance Webb, a retired machinist who lives on the outskirts of Yarmouth, attended Saturday's parade with his wife, stepson and three grandchildren.
"We were just watching the parade, and then about 30 feet away, I hear — all of a sudden, the float stops, and I kinda see something on the ground," Webb told The Canadian Press in a phone interview.
Large crowd welcomes Santa
"People within 50 feet of it — none of us are OK. All the adults were crying. Everywhere I saw, there were hundreds of people crying," said Webb. "This is really gonna affect the town."
In a subsequent interview with CBC News, Webb noted there were cars parked on both sides of the road during the parade. He said people were standing on the street in front of the cars to get a better view.
"I never saw that before at a parade," Webb said. "It just reduced the visibility and created a narrow point on the road and we felt that was not right, right from the start."
To make the parade safer next year, Webb suggested having volunteers walk alongside floats to make sure no one gets too close. He also suggested having the parade during daylight hours could also make it safer.
A Nova Scotia community is mourning the loss of a four-year-old girl after she was killed by a float in Saturdays Santa Claus parade.
St. Johns Santa parade gets the go-ahead
Organizers of the parade, known as the Christmas Parade of Lights, addressed the situation in a Facebook post Sunday morning, saying they were "devastated by the traumatic accident."
The bike is a replica from 1860, he explained, purchased mostly so he could show it off each year in the parade. "This was before a chain was put on the bicycle. And there's no brakes on it, so it's good luck, so to speak."
"We, along with the community, mourn the familys' [sic] loss and are praying for everyone affected. The focus is on coming together as a community and helping this family through a very difficult time," the post read.
The girl was treated at the scene immediately by RCMP officers and Emergency Health Services. She was taken to Yarmouth Regional Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Mayor Pam Mood wasn't at the community-run parade, but said now is a time for the community to come together.
Decked out in purple and yellow, marchers of all ages surrounded a Wizard of Oz-themed float doubling as a fundraiser for Nevaeh's Lemonade Stand, a charity that has raised $250,000 for sick children across the province.
"So right now, this entire community is mourning [and] very concerned for the family, the first responders, anybody involved in that. The community is just spending our time comforting each other and making sure everybody is OK."
Clear skies treated tens of thousands to a sunny Santa Claus parade in downtown St. John's on Sunday, with about 100 floats and 5,000 participants snaking down the parade route along Duckworth and Water streets.
Mood says thousands of people come to watch the parade every year. She said the parade has been an annual tradition in the town for about 20 years.
Postal workers were on hand to collect those carefully crafted notes to Santa — and perhaps owing to St. Nick's magical presence, one postal worker got her own holiday present early.
Fundraiser launched for family of girl who died at Yarmouth Santa Claus parade
She says mayors and colleagues from across Nova Scotia have reached out to offer the town support. The Prime Minister also expressed his condolences to the town.
Grab your winter coats, your hot chocolate and your letters for Santa because the annual Downtown St. John’s Christmas parade is a go for this afternoon.
Sean Mills, a father and fisherman from Yarmouth, started a fundraising campaign to go toward funeral costs.
Weather Looking Good for St. Johns Christmas Parade November 24, 2018
"It's just a tragedy, it's an accident and it's terrible. We all have kids and this could have been any one of our kids, we were all at the parade last night," Mill said.
Mills said he knows money won't make the family feel better, but said it will alleviate the financial burden.
"I have a child around the same age and it's terrible news, there's no good at all in it," he said.
"I think the whole community in general feels the exact same way, they know it's terrible. It's supposed to be a good time of year and a tragedy happens and it just completely turns around."
Hutchinson said he knew there were many people who witnessed the incident and suggested that people may want to reach out for help, including first responders, who will be offered assistance if they ask for it.
"If you're struggling with what you witnessed, it's very important to talk about it and seek some help to deal with those emotions," he said.
Victoria residents Jillian and Steven Peters brought their five-year-old, Kashis, to the parade for the first time. Hes just losing his mind, Steven Peters said of his son, who was sporting a Christmas light headband.
A grief reduction specialist will be at Yarmouth's Rodd Grand hotel at 6:30 p.m. Sunday for anyone who needs to talk about this tragedy.
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A delay in the start time and freezing temperatures didn’t deter thousands of spectators from the 20th annual Charlottetown Christmas Parade.
Small N.S. town comes together in wake of Christmas parade tragedy
While it was scheduled to leave UPEI on University Avenue at 5 p.m., it did not depart until roughly 5:35 p.m. which left many spectators wondering what caused the hold-up.
The event also saw donations accepted for the food bank, while Canada Post workers collected letters for Santa.
4-year-old killed in parade – Canada News
City of Charlottetown tourism officer Laurel Lea said city police and the public works department secure the parade route and radio ahead when the route is fully secure and clear of all traffic.
“For whatever reason this year there was some additional challenges with securing that route and it took a little longer than we expected so we will be doing a debrief in the coming days just to discuss what went on and how we can address that moving forward,” she said.
Despite the delay, a majority of spectators stuck around to see the live nativity scene, a jailed Grinch, and Star Wars characters covered in Christmas lights, which were just a few of the festive sights at this year’s parade.
The parade also saw Canada Post workers accepting letters for Santa, while volunteers collected donations for the food bank.
He took his eldest son Tristan the inaugural year of the parade and was there on Saturday with his two youngest children Lacey, 15, and Eric, 7.
“I haven’t missed a parade yet,” he said. “It brings everybody together all at once.”
“Mrs. Claus was able to slip down from the North Pole and keep Santa company last night,” said Lea.
This is the second year the city held the parade, the Christmas tree lighting, and the Victorian Christmas Market together in one festive-filled Victorian Christmas Weekend.
“It really does make for a magical start to the holiday season,” said Lea. “We found last year when we paired everything together it served for a wonderful kick-off so we were happy to continue that this year.”
There were 95 entries in this year’s parade. Four awards will be announced on Monday for best first-time entry, best holiday spirit, kid’s choice, and best firetruck.