Toronto welcomes first winter flurries with annual Santa Claus Parade
If there is one thing I love about Toronto it is the fact that there is always something happening in this city.
Yesterday as I was on my way to my favourite Shawarma place on Bloor St and Spadina Ave, I was greeted by an endless line of people on either side of Bloor St. Despite the wet flurries and a temperature of mere degrees above zero, over 1500 children and adults gathered and waited anxiously for the annual Santa Claus Parade, a winter spectacle that included 24 floats, 22 bands and 180 clowns.
As a newcomer to the city of Toronto, I had no idea this parade has taken place every year since 1905, making this year its 104th anniversary.
As he has every year since 1905, Santa Claus descended on Toronto streets yesterday, bringing an army of clowns and familiar characters along with him.
Before the parade began, hawkers could be heard over the distant sound of marching bands readying their drums for the trek from Bloor and Christie to Front and Church Sts.
Though the children cheered wildly for characters including Ronald McDonald, Mr. Peanut, the Kool-Aid man, Little Red Riding Hood, Mother Goose and Winnie the Pooh, the heartiest screams were reserved for Santa, who arrived shortly after a mid-afternoon snow flurry blanketed eyelashes and frosted lips.
He was greeted with cheers and screams from children, parents and grandparents alike, many of whom gathered hours before he touched down in town.
But for all the excitement along the parade route, those most touched by the scene seemed the ones gathered outside Sick Kids Hospital, where children, many of them attached to intravenous machines, sat on the side of University Ave., smiling and cheering on those in the parade.
Just in case you were curious (like me) this parade was started more than a century ago by the Eaton's department store as a marketing strategy to lure the children (and their parents) to Eaton's shopping centre, located at the heart of downtown Toronto. Over the years, the parade has become a family tradition. This year, moreover, proceeds from merchandise sale such as Rudolph noses are going to the Sick Kids Hopsital.
Founded by the Eaton's department store 104 years ago as a marketing ploy to get children and parents into the Christmas shopping spirit, the parade has, for many, grown into a family tradition.
Along the parade route, children and adults alike could be spotted wearing red Rudolph noses, the proceeds of which were going directly to the patients at Sick Kids.
As I sat nice and warm inside the Shawarma place enjoying my pita, I lamented not bringing my camera with me on my lunch trip. If anyone has any photos to add to this story, please feel free to do so. If you attended the spectacle, leave a comment and share your experience with NowPublic!