The Toronto Santa Claus Parade, also known as The Original Santa Claus Parade is held every year on the 3rd Sunday of November.
This year, it’ll be on Sunday, November 17, 2019. It starts at 12:30pm and lasts about 2.5 hours.
Since it first started in 1905, the Toronto Santa Claus Parade has become one of the largest parade productions in North America. More than half a million people attend the parade every year.
The parade route is almost 5.6 kilometres long.
The original concept for the parade grew out of a promotion from Eatons in 1904. The idea was to have an actor wearing a Santa suit to walk from Union Station to the Eaton Centre as part of the department store’s Christmas promotions.
The following year, the first official parade took place, with just one float. Since then, the parade has grown, involving more floats and attracting larger crowds.
Eaton’s also held similar Santa Claus Parades in Montreal and Winnipeg, where it is now operated by the Winnipeg Jaycees.
The Toronto Santa Claus Parade became the largest parade of its kind in North America.
Preparations for the parade was an all year effort, with the department store’s merchandising department responsible for fabricating the floats and creating the costumes worn by the actors.
The Toronto Santa Clause Parade was broadcast on television for the first time in 1952.
The parade almost came to a halt when Eaton’s ended its association in 1982. A public campaign was held to save the parade, with 20 corporate sponsors stepping in.
Today, the parade is made possible with the generous support of companies such as Canadian Tire, Lowe’s, MacDonalds, Toys R US, Mattel, The Walt Disney Company and Tim Horton’s.
GETTING TO THE PARADE
To accommodate the large crowds in attendance, streets around Toronto’s Downtown Core are closed from 8:00am to after the end of the parade in the afternoon.
Public parking is available, but if you want to see the parade in person, you’re encouraged to take public transit.
For more information, visit the following link:
If you’re taking the TTC, you can get off at any of these subway stations:
Presto tickets are available at Fare Vending Machines at subway stations and at Shoppers Drugmarts across the city. Children under 12 ride free!
HOLLY JOLLY FUN RUN
Another fun tradition of the Toronto Santa Clause Parade is the Holly Jolly Fun Run, where participants put on their running shoes in a 5 kilometre fun run that follows the same route that Santa himself will take during the parade.
To participate, runners must be at least 10 years old and accompanied by an adult.
Runners older than 16 years old do not require an adult companion.
The Holly Jolly Fun Run will take place on Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 11:45am. Starting point will be at 555 Bloor St. East.
Registration is required, click here for more information:
Registration will cost you CAD55.00. Additional packages with reserved spots to watch the parade are also available.
The Bronze VIP Package will cost you CAD75.00, and will come with 2 VIP tickets for the parade
The Silver VIP Package will cost you CAD95.00, and will. Come with 4 VIP Island Tickets.
USEFUL TIPS FOR THE PARADE
Whether it’s your first or 100th time at the parade, you should come prepared to have a great time!
Expect cold weather for the parade, just like how Santa likes it. Make sure to come in layers, and pack gloves, scarves and toques. It might take some time before Santa gets to your spot, so be ready for anything Mother Nature throws your way!
Spots along the parade route tend to get taken very early, so try to get there well ahead of time. Don’t worry, no matter where you end up on the parade route, Santa will make sure to send some holiday cheer your way!
If you can’t make it to the parade, it will shown on CTV on Sunday, November 17, 2019 at 4:30pm Eastern.
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