How to experience Toronto's Santa Claus parade
Published Friday, November 19, 2010 4:24PM EST
Canada's longest-running Santa Claus parade will bring its 106th seasonal dose of early Christmas magic to Torontonians on Sunday.
Here's what you need to know to enjoy the event with your family.
Before the parade starts, there will be a free breakfast at Yonge-Dundas Square (Dundas subway stop on the Yonge line) from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. that will also offer entertainment and face-painting. People are encouraged to bring a toy to donate to the Santa's Toys for the North campaign. The RCMP is organizing gift collection, transportation and distribution.
The event starts at 12:45 p.m., leaving from Christie Street and Bloor Street West (Christie Subway station). It will proceed westbound on Bloor to Avenue Road before heading south on Queen's Park Crescent.
It continues going southbound to Dundas Street West before turning left and heading east to Yonge Street.
At Yonge, the parade route heads south and continues to Front Street. It then turns left and continues eastward before ending at St. Lawrence Market.
The total route is 5.6 kilometres long. There will be 31 floats, 24 marching bands, the RCMP musical ride, upside down clowns and monkeys -- and thousands of kids walking along in costumes.
"Every spot is the best spot," said Alfred Iannarelli, the parade's general manager and creative director.
How soon should you be there to get great seats? The earlier the better, he said. The parade is very popular, and crowds can be six to eight people deep.
"The little ones should be right on the sidewalks looking up at the floats. You don't want to be in behind a bunch of other people," he said.
Prepare to keep your little ones amused. Iannarelli recommends bringing colouring books and toys or even chalk to draw on the sidewalk.
Bring whatever chairs or other devices you want, so long as they are safe, he said.
Consider using reuseable mugs for drinks such as hot chocolate carried in a Thermos bottle.
If you're taking public transit, the following subway stops will put you either right at or very close to the action:
Bloor line (from west to east):
- St. George
University line (north to south):
- Queen's Park
- St. Patrick
Yonge line (north to south):
If you are coming into downtown from the suburbs, GO Transit will be offering extra service on Sunday. From Union station, you can either take the subway or walk eastward on Front Street to catch the parade's southern end.
The only designated wheelchair-accessible route is at Berczy Park on Front Street East at Scott Street.
If you're driving, remember there will be no parking along the parade route. The Toronto police have issued an advisory about road closures. There will be city parking lots and commercial parking downtown. But Iannarelli said parking will still be difficult. He recommended taking public transit.
As of Friday, Sunday's high is expected to be 10 degrees Celsius with a 60 per cent chance of showers, so be prepared for rain.
It should take about 90 minutes from the time the parade starts before Santa first appears, Iannorelli said.
For those with smartphones, the parade will offer a Santa-tracking app. A second one will allow your smartphone to ring "Jingle Bells" if you shake it, he said.
Those who can't make it to the parade can watch on television, either conventionally or online. The online stream will start at 12:45 p.m.
CP24 will start its live coverage at 1:30 p.m.
CTV will start its broadcast at 4:30 p.m., and CTV Toronto's supper-hour show on Sunday will have all the parade highlights.
If you shoot any video or photos that you'd care to share, please consider submitting them to CTV Toronto's MyNews page.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Sneha Kulkarni
It should take about 90 minutes from the time the Santa Claus parade starts on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010 until St. Nick first appears.
Toronto's Santa Claus parade draws huge crowds, so make sure you arrive early.