Saturday 30 November 2013

Eaton's Santa Claus Parade

My Mom and Dad have great memories of attending the Toronto Santa Claus Parade when they were young.  Here are ten things you may not know about the 77-year tradition.

1.  In 1905, Santa arrived by train at Union Station and walked to Eaton's Department Store with the Eaton family.  In 1907, he arrived on horseback.

Santa arriving by white stallion circa 1907 courtesy

2.  From 1910 to 1912, the parade was a two-day event starting in Newmarket and making its way to Toronto's Yonge Street the following day.

3.  The year 1913 featured eight live reindeer from Labrador pulling Santa's sleigh.

4.  In the early years, Santa would visit Massey Hall after the parade where he would host 9000 kids.

5.  While the first few years only featured a horse and carriage and trumpeters, by 1917, the parade included a number of floats.

Image courtesy

6.  In 1919, Santa arrived by plane.

7.  In 1930, a Mother Goose float re-appeared which would be the parade's longest running float (30 years).

Mother Goose float courtesy

8.  The parade survived both the Great Depression and two World Wars.

9.  The event was broadcast on television for the first time in 1952.  That year the parade featured many floats and 2000 participants.

10.  During the Fifties and Sixties, Eaton's colouring books were handed out.

The Archives of Ontario Remembers an Eaton's Christmas: An Eaton's Santa Claus Parade Colouring Book with Punkinhead's North Pole Race (1960) - Front Cover

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