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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Santa making the rounds in parades across Ontario



   One-Tank Trip for Oct. 31/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   With less than two months until Christmas, the jolly gent in the big red suit will soon be making the rounds at parades in his honour.
   Off he will go with a hearty “ho, ho, ho” on tour to cities and towns across Ontario and beyond to the delight of thousands of children.
   November is the busiest month for his public appearances combined with the launch of Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and festivals of lights.
Ho, ho, ho and off we go as Santa reigns in his Toronto parade. (Ontario Tourism - Daniel Taub)
   The granddaddy of Santa Claus parades is Toronto’s now in its 111th year and happens on Nov. 15 and runs for three hours.
   It is said to be the longest running children’s parade in the world and is telecast internationally each year.
   It was first held on Dec. 2, 1905 with just a single float and created by Eaton’s department store chain.
   Fittingly, the then-Saturday morning parade ended outside Eaton’s and Santa would climb a ladder to a rooftop and in a window to the store’s Toyland.
   In some early years, he would arrive by a specially decorated train locomotive at Union Station and in 1919 arrived by air, touching down at the Aerodrome on Eglinton Avenue.
   In 1913, Eaton’s arranged for Santa’s float to be pulled by live reindeer brought in from Labrador.
   These days, the parade is funded by various corporate sponsors and attracts half-a-million people along the 5.6-kilometre route.
   It’s held on Sundays now, starting at 12:30 p.m. at Christie Pits along Bloor Street West, then travels south on Avenue Road/Queen’s Park Crescent/University Avenue to Front Street West, and east along Front to the St. Lawrence Market.
The Eaton’s Santa Claus parade makes its way through Toronto streets in 1930.
   It has grown to include some 25 animated floats with themes ranging from Harry Potter to Hockey Night in Canada.
   There are more than 200 celebrity clowns leading the parade accompanied by 2,000 costumed participants and 24 bands. thesantaclausparade.com
   Also in the Greater Toronto Area is the Brampton Santa Claus parade on Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. “under the stars” for an extra twinkle. bramptonsantaclausparade.com
   The Mississauga parade takes over the historic village of Streetsville on Nov. 29 starting at 1 p.m. mississaugasanta.com
   Oakville gets into the spirit on Nov. 21 at 9 a.m. in the downtown for its “Christmas in Motion” parade. oakvillesantaclausparade.ca
The elaborate holiday windows at the Hudson’s Bay store draw a crowd. (Jim Fox photo)
   Taking a page from Eaton’s with its iconic holiday window displays is the current occupant of the building, the flagship store of Hudson’s Bay at Queen and Bay streets.
   Its windows rival Macy’s in New York with functioning train sets, mechanical mice and moving Santas.
   Also notable are the seven holiday windows of the flagship upscale Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street.

   I love a parade
   Among the other upcoming Santa parades is Downtown Chatham’s on Nov. 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on King Street West.
Santa waves to the crowds greeting him at parades around Ontario. (Ontario Tourism)
   They’re kicking off the “holiday season” in Bayfield from Nov. 13 to 15 with the Lighting of the Trees on the Friday at 7 p.m. and Santa’s parade on the Saturday at 11 a.m.
   The Niagara Falls Santa Claus Parade is on Nov. 14 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with 2,500 participants and a meet and greet with St. Nick outside city hall on Queen Street after the march.
   Owen Sound’s 70th annual parade is on Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. in the downtown “celebrating music” in this year’s theme of Canadian Christmas.
   Santa keeps busy in Orangeville with his parade on Nov. 14 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. from Hanson Boulevard to the Rotary Park parking lot on Second Street.
   Look for London’s parade on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. and parades in Kingsville on Nov. 21, 6:30 p.m.; Amherstburg, Nov. 29, 6 p.m.; Windsor, Dec. 5, 6 p.m.; and Essex, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m.
   The Goderich parade at Lions Harbour Park and around town is on Nov. 22 at 6:15 p.m.
   Other parades are on Nov. 14 in Sudbury at 5:30 p.m.; Nov. 15 at 2 p.m. in Cobourg; and Nov. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in Bradford.

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Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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