Toronto, Ontario – The annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade has been enjoyed by millions for more than a century. More than a half million attend in person, and it’s televised (some years internationally.) The parade was started in 1905 as a publicity stunt by the Timothy Eaton Department store. The first year Santa arrived on foot, but by 1910 he was in a carriage was drawn by 8 reindeer imported from Labrador. With funding by Eaton’s for 77 years, the parade continued to grow in popularity and size, adding floats with nursery rhyme characters, bands, etc. It’s become the world’s longest-running kids’ parade.
Today it’s a not-for-profit organization, which receives funding from Canadian Corporations, including about 150 executives who contribute $1000 each year to dress as ‘celebrity’ clowns – a fun fund-raising idea that was started by Ron Barbaro and Academy Award-winning Norman Jewison in 1982. Today the parade is made possible because of the help of 1500 volunteers who man elaborate floats, march in bands, and participate as clowns and costumed characters. Many of those clowns you’ll see driving the floats are actually the city’s paramedics. The parade leads Santa past about a half-million people who line the streets of Toronto for the annual mid-November event.
Also, each year, 13,000 volunteers at Canada Post help with the more than one million children from around the world who write to: Santa Claus North Pole, Canada, H0H 0H0.
The parade usually starts at 12.30 pm at Christie Pits, that’s Christie St and Bloor St., then goes east on Bloor to Avenue Rd., then south and around Queen’s Park (east side), continuing down University Ave to Wellington St. It then goes east to continuing on Front St. to end at Church St. by St. Lawrence Market. (Check annual details here)
92-100 Queens Park, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C7, Canada