Some would say the happiest season doesn’t really start until the streets of downtown Toronto come alive to celebrate the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, a cherished tradition that dates back over a century.
Aside from it holding a beloved place in the hearts of Torontonians, this iconic event is also renowned as one of the oldest and largest Santa Claus parades in the world.
Want to learn more? Read on as we share with you what makes it so special.
The Toronto Santa Claus Parade: A Quick Introduction
The Toronto Santa Claus Parade is one of the largest parade productions in North America, the oldest Santa Claus parade in the world, and one of the world's oldest annual parades.
You’d be surprised to learn that this iconic parade really started out as a marketing strategy. The first-ever Santa Claus Parade was held in 1905, although it wasn’t really a very big celebration then.
The event was led by Timothy Eaton, the founder of Eaton's department store. Eaton organised the event to officially mark the start of the holiday shopping season.
Well, what screams Christmas better than a bunch of reindeer and the Père Noël himself?
During then, the procession featured horse-drawn floats and carriages adorned with holiday themes, with Santa Claus arriving on the last float. But over time, the parade grew in size and popularity, attracting larger crowds and expanding its route.
In the 1920s, the parade transitioned from horse-drawn floats to motorised floats, adapting to the changing times and technology.
What stayed consistent though is the featured iconic characters, such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and various beloved storybook figures.
The Toronto Santa Claus Parade has celebrated several milestones, including its 100th anniversary in 2005 and its 100th consecutive year in 2014. Til now, Torontonians and tourists look forward to this celebration yearly.
Toronto Santa Claus Parade
happiest season doesn’t really start until the streets of downtown Toronto come alive to celebrate the Toronto Santa Claus Parade, a cherished tradition that dates back over a century.
The Toronto Santa Claus Parade Today
The event is now organised by the Toronto Santa Claus Parade Foundation, a non-profit organisation that raises money for local charities.
In 2021, the Foundation donated over $1 million to multiple charities, including The Hospital for Sick Children, The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, The Daily Bread Food Bank, and more.
It’s also not cheap to produce such a grand event yearly. In estimate, organisers need approximately $2 million to produce the parade.
Thankfully, the event is sponsored by a variety of renowned companies, including CTV, Rogers Communications, and the City of Toronto.
The parade’s current route is almost 5.6 kilometres (3.5 mi) long, running from Christie Pits along Bloor Street West, south on Avenue Road/Queen’s Park Crescent/University Avenue to Front Street West, and east along Front to St. Lawrence Market.
The Santa Claus Parade is also broadcasted live on CTV Television Network and streamed online annually in over 100 countries around the world.
Tips for Attending the Toronto Santa Claus Parade
To have the best possible time at the parade, follow the following tips:
- Arrive early to get a good spot.
- Bring a blanket or chair to sit on.
- Make sure to dress comfortably and bring a hat and gloves, as it can be cold on parade day.
- Bring a camera to capture the memories.
- Be patient and respectful of other attendees
- It would be better not to bring a car so you don’t have to worry about parking.
- Pack some snacks and a lot of water.