At Toronto’s very first Santa Claus Parade in 1913, Eaton’s arranged for Santa to be pulled by live reindeer, which had been imported from Labrador specifically for the Parade. The reindeer had a dedicated veterinarian who looked after them and supplied their special diet of moss. That year, children along the route started to march through the city along with Santa, stopping to dance and sing as they went. They dropped letters to Santa into baskets on poles carried by bearers, and every letter with an address received a personal response from Santa.
Today, there are more than 25 animated floats with themes ranging from Harry Potter to Hockey Night in Canada. More than 200 Celebrity Clowns lead the Parade and raise about $200,000 annually, while around 2,000 costumed participants march happily through Toronto’s streets. Because of its popularity, Toronto police have asked Parade organizers to extend the route by one mile in order to spread out the crowds of spectators.
Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade is the longest running children’s Parade in the world, broadcast across North America, as far away as New Zealand, Norway and Ireland. This year marks its 111th celebration!
“The Santa Claus Parade is a highlight for the City of Toronto, which brings joy and entertainment to people across Canada every year,” says Peter Beresford, Santa Claus Parade President and CEO. “Our continued partnership with MLSE helps ensure the Parade is at its magical best.”
The Parade will take place on Sunday, November 15th at 12:30 p.m., when children of all ages will line the streets waiting for a chance to see the jolly old elf himself. Now, in its third year, the Holly Jolly Fun Run, a 5km run, will kick off the parade and lead the way for Santa. Starting at 12:00 p.m. on Parade day, the run will follow the Parade route and end at Maple Leaf Square. All proceeds go to support the Santa Claus Parade.
The Parade will travel the same route as last year, beginning at Bloor and Christie Streets, following Bloor Street to University Avenue, travelling down University Avenue to Wellington Street, going east on Wellington and ending at the intersection of Front and Jarvis Streets at the St. Lawrence Market. The 111th annual Santa Claus Parade airs Sunday, November 15th at 4:30 p.m. ET/PT on CTV and 4:30 p.m. AT on CTV Two Atlantic. Click here for more information.