Santa Claus ParadeToday is the Santa Claus Parade in Toronto. Christmas is coming! I am not ready.
The Toronto Santa Claus Parade is the oldest and largest Christmas parade in the world. It is 105 years old this year. It is a Toronto institution. My parents watched it as children, my siblings and I have memories of standing in crowds, or sitting on the curb watching the parade and waiting for the final float with Santa himself on board; and, for the few years I lived near Toronto after returning from the US, my son got to watch the parade alongside his cousins. I hope my grandchildren have seen it in person. If not, it is not too late. I wrote a long blog entry a couple of years ago on this. You can find it here.
Santa in the 1957 Santa Claus Parade. It is from the later part of my era of me watching the parade.
For 77 years, the T. Eaton Company sponsored the parade, which they founded. It terminated at their large department store where Santa entered though a second story window to take up his place on his thone in Eaton's Toyland. How we loved our yearly visit to this wonderous place full of toys.
Eaton's was a major institution in Toronto dominating retailing there and across Canada though their mail order business. People in remote rural communities could buy almost anything through the catalogue. In Toronto, at one time, you could even order your groceries and have them delivered by Eatons. Eaton's vans were a familiar sight on the streets around Toronto as they delivered orders made over the phone. Sadly Eatons is no more. It failed to adapted and did not survive the changing retail scene. In Toronto, the Eatons Centre is a monument to what was.
The Santa Claus Parade now has many sponsors and executive of companies can even be celebrity clowns for a fee. I wonder if it is more commercial now than what I remember? I believe it is still largely a volunteer organization that puts it all together and makes it a success.
you can go and look through the 1909-1910 Fall and Winter Eaton's Catalogue. By clicking on the page, it turns over. You can also zoom it to enlarge the images. I have it open at the toy section. I am surprised at how many of the toys are still popular today, nearly 100 years later. The prices are also a shock. In the section of wood burning cook stove you could buy a lovely one for $35. I have been offered $3,000 for my antique stove.
It is interesting to view. There are even short clips of the parades past to view.
It has been years since I was at the Santa Claus Parade. I live too far away. It is best watched with children. It would be interesting to view it now and see the crowd. Canada is now so much more ethnically and culturally diverse now compared to when I was a child and even since I moved away when my son was a child. I wonder how many of the newcomers have gotten in the spirit of the Parade and how the parade has changed due to the new demographic. The parade has always been a secular event. Religous communities do not participate, to my knowledge, ecept for the Salvation Army and the YMCA. All groups should be able to participate in the parade as well as the watching of it.
Must go. The parade is about to start of TV. I hope this is the beginning of the Christmas season for some. (Delayed for Americans because of Thanksgiving. :) )