The Santa Claus Parade
Can Christmas be far behind? Today is the Santa Claus Parade in Toronto. It is one of the great parades, started in 1905 and going strong.
Toronto, Ontario - The annual Santa Claus Parade is enjoyed by television viewing families from Norway to New Zealand. It 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. Today it's a not-for-profit organization, which receives funding from Canadian Corporations, including 100 executives who contribute $1000 each year to dress as 'celebrity' clowns. About 1500 volunteers man elaborate floats, march in bands, and participate as clowns and costumed characters. They lead Santa past about a half-million people who line the streets of Toronto for the annual mid-November event. 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.
Three generations of our family have enjoyed the Santa Claus parade.
Here is a photo the the parade as my mother and father might have enjoyed it.
One of my memories of ther Santa Claus Parade was the introduction of the character, Punkinhead. Does anyone else remember Punkkinhead? Sadly, it did not endure as a Christmas icon like Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer.
One of my lasting memories of the parades of my youth was the behaviour of my mother. She was always very determined to make sure we got a good view of the parade. Sometimes, this meant I got to sit on my father's shoulders. But I remember once when we were several rows back on the crowded sidewalk (havinf arrived a little late) and the parade was about to pass in front of us.
"Mom, I can't see!" "Mom, the parade is coming." We are going to miss Santa!"
(panicky sobs and tears begin).
My mild mannered mother was energized. Bold as brass she went into action. Like Moses parting the Red Sea she cleared a path for us to the front row.
"Let the little children through!!" " The parade is for children." "Coming through!" Suddenly, we were at the very front and my sister, brother and I watched the parade sitting on the curb.
[ It wasn't until I was a parent that I understood this behaviour. I am so mellow sometimes I have to injure myself to let me know I am alive .(LOL) Twice I have lost my cool in defense of my son: once with a teacher that had the audacity to discipline Parker unfairly (I told her she had no right to discipline him without my permission) and once when a doctor made him (at 13) cry for taking him to task for not coming to the emergency room earlier in the day (I stormed back in and tore a piece off that jerk.)]
This is float at a parade to which I took my son after we returned to the Toronto area to live.
We stood with our parents and my sister and her family on St Clair Ave W at Christies Pits, a place were my father played as a child. We then got on the subway and traveled to University Avenue and watch the parade all over again.
Around the Northeast Ontario there are parades in Timmins, North Bay and Sudbury. We used to have one here in River Valley. It was a modest affair which included about four floats , (including the firetruck loaned to our volunteer company by the Ontario government) and a marching group for the school. And , Santa of course.!
It is always a joy to take young children to a parade. Toronto's Santa Claus Parade is a great one, very much one of the many wonderful parades in that city during the year.
Almost time to start greeting people with a "Merry Christmas!"
"Merry Christmas to All!"
Note: For more imformation on the parade and to see some historic photos visit this site on the Santa Clause Parade becoming 100 years old http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/english/exhibits/parade/index.html