Santa drops in on Toronto for annual parade
It wasn't exactly a winter wonderland Sunday as thousands of festive folks lined Toronto's streets for the 105th annual Santa Claus Parade.
The event, which bills itself as the largest of its kind in the world, came as temperatures in Toronto climbed well into the double digits - about five degrees warmer than what is considered seasonal.
The parade began around 12:30 p.m. at Christie Pitts with the route continuing eastward along Bloor to University Avenue.
The parade then headed south along University, but twisted eastward on Dundas Street before making a final stretch down Yonge Street. Earlier parades have instead used Queen Street, but the route was changed this year.
The parade finished as Santa himself greeted children and people of all ages at St. Lawrence Market.
Vehicle traffic throughout the city was tied up for several hours along several major downtown routes, but police estimate the roads should reopen by the evening. Police began gradually opening up streets again by about 3 p.m.
Last year, snow was falling at the parade's outset, but this year, temperatures are expected to rise into the early teens.
About 1,500 volunteers are making the parade happen this year, with about 21 bands playing and 26 floats.
The parade has become an annual tradition in Toronto, with Eaton's being the chief sponsor.
In 1913, the company paid for live reindeer to pull Santa Claus. During the Second World War, many of the costumes were made out of paper because scarce resources like tin and cotton were needed for the war effort.