Hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets of Toronto to watch the 108th annual Santa Claus Parade. Indeed, Santa Claus came to town, but he wasn't alone as there were 25 floats, 200 clowns and more than 2,000 participants.
Under sunny skies and mild temperatures, families began to wait for Santa Claus starting at 6:30 a.m., but the parade only began to get underway at 12:30 p.m. at Christie Pits. The parade headed east towards University Avenue, south to Queen’s Park and then east on Wellington Street ending at St. Lawrence Market.
Canada Post workers took letters from children who had their traditional wish lists to Santa Claus.
There were numerous floats that joined in on the holiday spirit, including Tim Hortons, McDonald’s, the Toronto Star, Sears, Redpath, Metro and much more. There were also many bands from across the province of Ontario playing the classic Christmas songs.
There was a float for everyone in the audience: a donut shop, a float of cookies, Turtles chocolates, Barbies and for those just wanting to enjoy the atmosphere (Canadian Tire) and the food (Metro).
Even Mayor Rob Ford and Budget Chief Mike Del Grande joined in on the fun. The mayor handed out candies and wished everyone a Merry Christmas, while Del Grande was driving around in a golf cart.
In honour of the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup, former head coach and current vice-chair of the Toronto Argonauts, Michael “Pinball” Clemons, waved to the crowds from the celebratory float. The trophy was also showed off to the crowd.
Although there were brief disputes among those families in attendance, it was a rather festive and joyous event, which is the longest running children’s parade in the world and is actually broadcast across the globe.
The parade ended in the middle of the afternoon and many of the roads started to open up, but the streets were still busy as many headed towards the nearest subway station.
Santa Claus urged everyone to wish each other a Merry Christmas before the crowd disbursed.