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.” …