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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂