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Jun. 5, 2020 | Friday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: Why Rotary cancelled Holiday House Tour
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Dear editor:

I never thought in a million years that I would ever be writing this letter for the benefit of Niagara-on-the-Lake residents.

In the last few weeks the Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club has given the viability of going forward with this year’s Holiday House Tour a great deal of thought and we want to share our thoughts with you as to why we came to the decision to cancel it in December.

The Holiday House Tour is an ongoing process throughout the year.

In January and February, we start acquiring the homes. This year we had three homes that were definite and several other possibilities. We still needed to visit these homes to determine their suitability and discuss the logistics with the homeowners.

Under the present circumstances we cannot get into homes nor do we think it appropriate to try to persuade these homeowners to allow almost 4,000 people to come through their homes, even if it is seven months away. We just couldn’t do it.

We also have over 300 great volunteers in our database. Asking them to be in close contact with our visitors was unthinkable, never mind envisaging the lineups outside the homes with people in close proximity.

In the same vein, asking our decorators to donate time and merchandise would have been inappropriate given that they spend large sums of money each year on decorating these homes to perfection. Many of these businesses have been affected by the pandemic crisis and it would be unreasonable to ask them to donate their time and money.

Our sponsors are mostly local businesses; again, it would be very insensitive to ask them for their sponsorship in this COVID-19 climate.

We have no idea how long this situation will last. Even if we did postpone a decision, say until May, to see how things develop, it would be extremely late to complete the aforementioned preparations.

The brochure is usually well underway by June, ready to be proofread and sent to the printers in August. In our opinion we just cannot do it and keep up our reputation as of one of the best holiday house Tours in the area.

I promise that we will endeavour to make 2021 one of the best ever.

Lorna Penman

Chair

Rotary Holiday House Tour

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