For his own protection, the annual Santa Claus Parade scheduled for tomorrow in Fenwick has been cancelled by the Town of Pelham.

In a brief statement released Friday afternoon, the Town cited the weather forecast for Saturday, which calls for strong winds to blow through southern Ontario tomorrow afternoon into evening, as the reason. Gusts of 100 to 120 kph are forecast, with Environment Canada warning of likely utility outages.

The call to cancel what would have been the 24th annual parade was made by the Town of Pelham’s Emergency Operations Committee.

“I’m very appreciative of the concern that Pelham has shown,” said Mr. Claus, who spoke to the Voice by cellphone while he was en route to Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport, where his sleigh and reindeer were being prepared for departure.

“We want to return to the North Pole tonight,” said Santa. “It will be wonderful to get back to Mrs. Claus, who couldn’t come along on this trip.”

Santa said that the long-term forecast for Christmas Eve was good, and he did not expect any delays making his global gift deliveries.