The Santa Claus Parade in Toronto
With so much for you and your family to see and do during the holiday season, it’s easy to feel a little overwhelmed. To ensure you don’t miss any Christmas fun, we’ve put in the time to find some of the best local events happening near you this season.
Ho, ho, ho; it’s Christmas in Toronto! Full of thick coats and snowstorms and the one and only Santa Claus! But not just that, it’s home to The Original Santa Claus Parade.
Held on the third Sunday in November, it sees a whopping half a million people turn out for the event. Started in 1905, it’s not just one of the biggest parades in North America, but one of the largest productions, period.
Impressed? You should be. With so much going on, it’s easy to lose track of it all. Fortunately, we’re here to filter through the unnecessary information and to provide you with the important stuff. Read on to discover everything there is to know about Toronto’s big day.
What Day Should I Mark on My Calendar?
Because it’s such a large-scale spectacle, Toronto goes through great pains to make sure the timing of the event is predictable. The show is always held on the third Sunday in November, which means that this year it’ll be on the 17th of November.
Where Can I See Santa?
That depends. If you’re in Toronto, you can catch it starting on the corner of Parliament and Bloor Street, running West. But if you’re out of the country or otherwise engaged, the parade is a world event and is broadcast globally, meaning that everybody can join in on the fun.
What Can I Expect?
Imagine a carnival of colour, a parade so energetic and vast and exciting that you wouldn’t be able to sleep for weeks in anticipation of attending. It really is that great; just check out the crowds that have turned out for the event in years past.
The Toronto Santa Claus Parade offers everything from groups of celebrity clowns strutting down the route, to a Holly Jolly Fun Run that spans the 5km of the parade and kicks off at 11:45 am with the thousands in attendance cheering participants on. There’s more food than you could possibly sample, more beverages than you could possibly drink, more friends than you could possibly make, and an eye-watering 31 floats to see. If you can imagine it, Toronto probably has it, which is why it’s one of the best parades around.
Some more exciting news is that as of this year, after much deliberation and consultation with the Big Man himself (Santa Claus), the route has changed.
Spanning 5.6 km, it gets on track at 12:30 pm at Bloor Street East and Parliament Street before heading along Bloor to Queen’s Park Crescent East. Next, it continues along University Avenue to Wellington Street West, and then onto Yonge Street and eventually Front Street East, ending the two-and-a-half-hour journey. Make sure to check the parade website for the best times at the best spots.
Planning is key to getting the most from your parade experience, and this all starts with the right clothing. Wrap up warm and pack lots of layers as you’ll be standing around doing a lot of waiting.
Another tip is to get there early in order to secure the best spot or be prepared to use a pair of binoculars. The best way to do this is to take the GO — and Metrolinx is putting on extra trains at a special discount of $15 for a round trip, with kids under 12 free.
Once you find the spot you’re after, check the nearest transport links online to avoid any unnecessary travel time. But be warned, roads will be closed and getting to your destination may take a little longer than expected.
One way to get into the spirit is to print off the official ‘letter to Santa’ template from the Parade website. If you’re worried about what to do to entertain yourself while you’re waiting for the festivities to kick-off, it might be a good idea to take a book and a camping chair. A final handy hint if you want to know where the parade is, is to keep track of its progress on social media.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Toronto Parade is one of the best out there, and it’s definitely one that everyone should see if they get the chance. If you’re vacationing in Canada for the season and looking for a great time — or if you’re studying, or over on an IEC — then look no further than Toronto.
While you’re at it, why not visit the Christmas Glow event in Toronto? It’s a spectacle like no other, combining specialty vendor markets with bars, live music, and child-friendly play areas. But that’s not all, as it boasts the most magical display of lights we’ve ever seen, with over one million on display across several sculptures inside, resulting in a truly spellbinding experience. If you’re looking for the hotspot of the festive period then look no further: Christmas Glow Toronto has it all!
Note: This post is in no way sponsored or endorsed by the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.