Toronto, Ontario, CanadaAddress:
111 Queen's Park
In 1904 Santa Claus walked from Union Station to the Eaton's store on Queen Street West. In 1905 there was a single float that carried Santa Claus to the Eaton's store. The Santa Claus Parade was born. Each year it marks the arrival of Santa Claus to Toronto. Santa is here to find out what good children would like for Christmas. We had not seen the parade in person for many years. This year we headed downtown to join in the fun.
Before the parade even starts, you can watch the Holly Jolly Fun Run. Runners race along the same 5 km route as the parade, in order to raise money. The majority of runners usually do the run dressed in holiday costumes.
Finally, we caught sight of the parade coming down University Avenue. The first to arrive were the Celebrity Clowns. These clowns have all made a donation to help support the parade. You never know who might be under all that makeup and wigs.
The parade is made up of many floats towed behind vehicles. One of the oldest floats is Mother Goose. A Mother Goose float first appeared in the parade in 1917 and this year was no exception.
The Toronto Police are always a big part of the parade. Toronto Police do crowd control to keep the parade goers safe. Sometimes the attendance at the parade can reach almost a half million people. The Toronto Police also show off some of their classic vehicles like this 1957 Chevy in bright yellow.
Our favourite Toronto Police car will always be Blinky. Blinky used to be bright yellow, but when the car colours were changed to white with a red and blue stripe, so did Blinky. Blinky also used to talk and of course blink those big eyes.
The Toronto Police Mounted Unit also took part in the parade.
With horses always comes the need for a clean-up crew. Toronto's Mayor John Tory volunteered for the job. There are lots of marching bands yet to come that don't need to be dodging road apples.
Here comes one of the bands now. The Ridley College Cadets are just one of the bands keeping the crowd moving to Christmas classics. Bands come from all over Ontario for the honour of being part of the parade.
Another parade float tells the creation story. In the story, a flood takes over the land and a muskrat dives to the bottom of the water and grabs some earth. The earth is then placed on the back of a turtle forming North America or what is also called Turtle Island.
Other floats didn't have as quite a meaningful story behind them. This one is simply a lion enjoying a toboggan ride. Most floats have corporate sponsors who help keep the parade going each year. This float was sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada.
The majority of the floats have a holiday or winter theme. The float above features two polar bears and a reindeer.
This float features a few of Santa's reindeer in the horn section.
The McDonald's float also featured some musical woodland creatures out in the snow.
A few floats required a little more thought to see how they connect to Christmas. How about this 123Dentist float? All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. And of course the Tooth Fairy is a close personal friend of Santa Claus.
How about this float full of creamy garlic and pizza? Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day. Especially for that grass skirt wearing pineapple pizza. At St. Lawrence Market, where the parade ends, Pizza Pizza was giving out slices to all of the volunteers who braved the cold and helped make the parade a success.
The volunteers walk the parade in all sorts of costumes like the pink octopus costumes above.
There was a group of snowmen. Don't worry the weather was below freezing on parade day.
There was a flock of blue jays. Some parade goers might have been disappointed that none of these blue jays were part Toronto's baseball team.
A favourite costume is the upside down clowns, or this year upside down monkeys. You try walking nearly five kilometres on your hands!
Mrs. Claus is also a big part of the parade. After seeing Mrs. Claus, we know it won't be very long until Santa arrives.
A Peanuts float featuring Charlie Brown and Snoopy was sponsored by Canada's Wonderland and their Winterfest event. In 2020 and 2021 the parade took place at Wonderland. This year the parade finally returned to the Toronto streets to perform live.
The parade takes about an hour to an hour and a half in order to pass any particular spot. We saw a float turn the corner and realized it was being led by a group of reindeer. Santa had finally arrived! We recommend the Toronto Santa Claus parade as one of the biggest and longest running parades in the world. Just remember to dress warmly and keep moving. Most importantly, no matter what age you actually are, we can all be kids at the parade. Merry Christmas everyone!