The Santa Claus Parade in Vancouver
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.
As you’re probably already aware, Vancouver has an incredible range of Christmas events — and the annual Santa Claus Parade is one of the biggest of the lot. Everybody knows how important Santa himself is to the image of Christmas, and there aren’t many better places to see this in action than in Vancouver’s own parade.
We’re all familiar with his face, his reindeer, and his ample stomach — not to mention that telltale wink. But far from being an overdone trope, there are plenty of ways to innovate when it comes to Santa Claus, and Vancouver’s parade proves this as much as anything. 2019 marks the 16th year running the parade has been held in Vancouver, and despite a few budgeting and sponsorship hiccups over the last couple of years, the organizers have always managed to pull things together and create a little holiday magic, no matter how tricky the circumstances.
In the following article we’ll be running you through everything you need to know about Vancouver’s Santa Claus Parade; make sure to check out the advice section for some quick tips on how to make the most out of the day.
The Parade Itself
First of all, let’s run through a few numbers. The Santa Claus Parade takes place on December 1st every year, which happens to be a Sunday this time around. As one of the city’s most-loved annual traditions, past years have seen attendances reach well into the hundreds of thousands, as the event has proven to be a surefire good time for families, groups of friends, and everything in between.
In order to create an event with such widespread appeal, though, you need to put in a lot of work. Vancouver goes above and beyond in this respect. Generally, there are around 2000-2500 people taking part in the parade itself, all of them playing different roles. The various distinct and diverse communities that call Vancouver home join in on the fun, with some 50+ disparate groups pitching in on the celebration in their own way. It’s important not to forget the hundreds upon hundreds of volunteers who voluntarily donate their time and energy to the project as well; without them, the event would likely not be the roaring success it has undoubtedly been in recent times.
The Santa Claus Parade will start off at Broughton St. this year. The endpoint is Davie, with both Howe St. and Georgia St. featuring in the procession as well. Spanning a total length of slightly over two kilometres, it’s just about the perfect length for a parade — not too long to tire everybody out too much, but not so short that some floats and participants need to be cut out of the action.
During the Georgia St. portion of the route, revellers will be able to participate in the Christmas Square event, which takes place right beside the Vancouver Art Gallery. There’s no shortage of fun activities to take part in before the parade even begins, with face painting and live music available, not to mention the specialized letter-writing station where children can create their own Christmas wish lists and send them off to the main man himself.
Visitors to the parade are well-advised to bring a blanket or some sort of collapsible chair, since the sizeable procession does take a while to complete, and it’s going to be pretty cold. On the same note, turning up early (we recommend at least an hour or so before noon when the parade starts) will likely save you from a lot of neck-craning related headaches. Even though it might not look too crowded when you get there, the Vancouver Parade is such a big deal that it always fills up fast, and you’ll be glad you got up that much earlier when things finally get going.
Take advantage of the enjoyable — and completely free — activities available in the Christmas Square. The kids will have a whale of a time, of course, but the grown-ups can also avail of some seasonal beverages, and it’s a fantastic place to meet a few new friends. Don’t just count on the on-site entertainment, however, since there can be a lot of waiting around; you certainly won’t regret bringing a book along.
Whether you’re a hardcore Santa Claus Parade veteran or whether this is your very first Christmas in the city of Vancouver, this is one of the must-see events of the winter season, and the date should be circled on everybody’s calendar — it really is that good. The hours and hours of hard work the volunteers and other workers put in every year contributes to a terrifically fun day out, and it’s the perfect opportunity to create some lasting memories with the people you love the most.
If you’re in the market for even more Santa Claus this Christmas, you might also want to check out the Glow events being held in Vancouver and nearby Abbotsford as well. Featuring live music, a licensed, on-site bar, and more than a million lights spread across an impressive variety of illuminated structures, it’s a recipe for a great Christmas experience, and there’s so much to see that you can even pay multiple visits to the show and still find new things to get excited about. For more information about Glow, you can click here, while finer details about the Santa Claus Parade itself can be found here.
Note: This post is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Vancouver’s Santa Claus Parade.