Toronto Santa Claus Parade

5 things we did wrong during the Toronto Santa Claus Parade

The Santa Claus Parade is a Toronto tradition that’s been going 111 years. It’s broadcast on national television and over half a million people line the parade route ever year. Therefore it’s fair to say it’s a pretty big deal. So on November 15th we stopped what we were doing (looking for parkas in Hudson’s Bay) and headed over to University Avenue to catch a glimpse of the man in red. However, it wasn’t quite what we expected so we’ve come up with a few thoughts on what NOT to do at the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.

1. Get there early

There’s a parade map on the website and live tweets let you know its whereabouts (in previous years there’s also been an app), so when I saw a tweet saying the parade was approaching University Avenue, I suggested we head to our spot. Whilst this was a good idea in theory, Santa was not moving as fast as does on Christmas Eve and we stood not-so-patiently waiting for him FOR OVER 2 HOURS! Who knew Santa had such a large entourage.

Santa Claus Parade Toronto
The main man himself turned up eventually, lucky it was a warm day so we didn’t freeze to death


Lego Float Toronto Santa Claus Parade
Even the Lego float couldn’t cheer Stewart up after all the waiting


Thomas the Tank Engine Toronto Santa Claus Parade
Poor Thomas failed to impress bored Stewart too

2. Expect to enjoy all the beautiful Christmassy floats 

Whilst I realise that the parade relies on fees from large corporations to make it financially viable, I had assumed they would all put in a lot of effort into their festive floats. There were some good ones for sure but also some more random ones that failed to get even a sliver of excitement from the crowd.

Floats at Toronto Santa Claus Parade
Surely they could have at least worn a santa hat?


3. Hope to come away with at least a candy cane

Again, I knew that some major companies were taking part in the parade. I had these visions of coming away with armfuls of candy canes and other promotional crap, rather like at the London Olympic Torch Relay, where Stewart came home with enough granola bars to last us a month. I guess really I should be grateful that the streets of Toronto weren’t littered with plastic crap.

Mayor John Tory Santa Claus Parade
Stewart got a lot more excited by Mayor John Tory than he did Santa!


Raptors Float Toronto Santa Claus Parade
The Raptors’ float was my favourite of the sports teams’ efforts.


4. Underestimate the sheer number of marching bands in the Greater Toronto Area

There’s no doubt that the marching bands were good but they were so many of them that it got pretty tiresome. I’m very surprised that there weren’t more bored and screaming children. These Canadians are clearly more patient than us Brits.

Marching Bands Toronto Santa Claus Parade
“Oh look, there’s another marching band!”


5. Understand the relevance of clowns at Christmas

There were a lot of clowns in the parade and I really didn’t know why, but according to Wikipedia it’s been a tradition for Celebrity Clowns to lead the parade since 1983.

Celebrity Clowns Toronto Santa Claus Parade
Celebrity Clowns are high profile members of the community dressed up in clown outfits apparently!

To top it all off, after the parade we headed to the newly opened Nutella Cafe to find a huge queue snaking around the store, so left with plans to instead eat pizza at our favourite place, only to find it had closed early!! Whilst we’re not ones to write negative posts and we did laugh a lot about how it was the worst day of our lives so far, we would not discourage others from visiting the parade next year. Just take into account our tips above 🙂



3 thoughts on “5 things we did wrong during the Toronto Santa Claus Parade

  1. Thank you for pointing out that was the Mayor. We had no idea who he was!
    I was also stumped about the clowns. So many clowns. Clowns freak me out. It sounds like you viewed the parade close to our location. Never again will I view it at the end of the parade route.


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