Santa reads a special book at Guildford Town Centre. (File photo)

Santa reads a special book at Guildford Town Centre. (File photo)

UPDATE: Santa Claus won’t be visiting Surrey’s largest shopping mall due to COVID-19

All ‘holiday marketing activations’ now cancelled in Ivanhoe Cambridge-operated malls this year

** This story has been updated

It turns out Santa Claus won’t be visiting Guildford Town Centre this holiday season, after all.

Reservation-only visits with the man in red were to take place at Surrey’s largest shopping mall starting Nov. 24, with bookings for the “magical open-air socially distanced” visits opened on Nov. 9.

Details about the “Holidays at Guildford Town Centre” promotion were posted online at guildfordtowncentre.com, but that webpage link is now dead, and a message about the promotion is now posted to northpolepictureco.com/locations/guildfordtowncentre.

“Due to the evolution of the situation in regard to COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel photos with Santa this year, as well as mini portrait sessions,” the website post says.

“The health and safety of our customers, tenants and employees continues to be our number one priority as we head into the holiday shopping season. For information on our health and safety measures, please visit www.guildfordtowncentre.com/en/covid19.”

Kyla Way, marketing director for Guildford Town Centre, said that due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country, mall owner Ivanhoe Cambridge has made a corporate decision to cancel all “Holiday Marketing” activations in the company’s properties this year. “Ivanhoe Cambridge is committed to putting health and safety at the forefront this holiday season,” Way wrote in an email on Tuesday (Nov. 17).

Refunds from photo reservation fees will be processed by The North Pole Picture Co., according to the web post. “Guests should expect, depending on their financial institution, to see the refund in their credit card account within 14 days. For any questions related to this decision, please email marketing@guildfordtowncentre.com.”

On Nov. 9, Way told the Now-Leader that holiday activities at the mall would include professional family mini-portrait sessions “perfect for this year’s holiday card,” and that reservations would be required. Proceeds from the photo sessions were to support Surrey Firefighters Charitable Society.

“We want to remind everyone that visits could be cancelled at any moment, reflecting the pandemic situation,” Way told the Now-Leader on Nov. 9.

For photos with Santa, a maximum of six people were to be allowed, per session, and all attendees were to be from the same household. “Santa’s Winter Wonderland” was being set up at Entrance 2 of the shopping centre, off 152nd Street.

For the holidays, from Nov. 23 to Dec. 31, mall operating hours are extended to Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Face masks are encouraged to be worn when visiting the shopping centre.

Meantime, this year’s Toy Mountain charity drive at Guildford Town Centre will not involve a mountain of toys.

Instead, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4, shoppers can add on a donation to a gift-card purchase and mall operators will match the donation, up to $5,000.

“Guildford Town Centre has been a proud supporter of CTV’s Toy Mountain for the past 7 years,” says a website post. “Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are unable to build a mountain of toys this year. We’ll miss seeing you at the centre with your toys, but we hope to count on your continued support.… We look forward to continuing to help bring smiles to families faces in need this holiday season.”

Elsewhere in Surrey, the annual Gingerbread Village contest/event hosted by Downtown Surrey BIA will take place at Central City Shopping Centre from Dec. 5 to 13.

“We would like to invite all schools, business, non-profit organizations, community services, sports teams, families and all other individuals in the community to build a gingerbread creation representing what they would like to see in their Gingerbread Village,” event planners say. “Our panel of judges will be awarding over $10,000 in cash prizes to the best gingerbread creations. We will also once again be awarding a ‘People’s Choice Award’ which this year will be $1,000.”

Creations are sought for the contest via a form found at downtownsurreybia.com. The no-fee entry deadline is Nov. 20. Email adrienne@downtownsurreybia.com with questions, or call 604-580-2321.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

ChristmasSanta Claus

Just Posted

A cache of 89 crabs was discovered during a 2018 compliance inspection at South Surrey’s Elgin Park Marina. (Contributed photo)
$7,500 fine for illegal crab harvest discovered in South Surrey

Laird Goddyn found guilty in Surrey Provincial Court following 2018 investigation

South Surrey’s Meridian Golf Course – a 15-acre property that also includes a residence – has been sold. (Colliers Canada photo)
South Surrey’s Meridian Golf Course sold to new owners

Deal for popular par 3 course expected to close by end of the year

Gerry Vowles (left), Michael Cook, and Dave Sinclair were awarded “Dominion Command Presidential Citations” June 17 in Cloverdale. The rare awards were given out for “exemplary service to the Legion.” (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Three B.C. legionnaires awarded ‘Presidential Citations’

Ceremony took place in Cloverdale June 17

City of Surrey photo
Surrey starts Slow Streets pilot project

Speed limits have been reduced in six Surrey neighbourhood zones for one year to monitor impact on residents

Gymnast Shallon Olsen. (Photo: olympic.ca)
Olympics-bound Surrey gymnast Shallon Olsen enters sports hall of fame – in Coquitlam

She was the youngest member of Team Canada when she made her Olympic debut at Rio 2016

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

Most Read