This is the 26th annual Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus Parade and everyone is ready to greet the jolly old elf. Little ones have their letters to Santa ready to give to the Canada Post volunteers, the floats have been cleaned and polished, marching bands have practised their Christmas songs, bunny rabbits, snowmen, penguins have had costumes fitted and many shopkeepers are preparing cookies and hot chocolate for the smiling spectators as they wait for Santa.
The parade starts 10 a.m. at Dwight Ave., just west of Royal York Rd. and travels along Lake Shore Blvd. West to 33rd St.
Parade Chair Carlos Guerriero promises that this will be the best parade ever. He says, “It’s a true community event with over 60,000 people coming to watch. A small committee of volunteers work throughout the year to make it a very special event. Scouts, Guides and Cadets are very much part of the tradition and they are joined by members of nearly every local organization making it a true community event. It’s an amazing and exciting day.”
Over the years’ volunteers built 15 floats including Santa Claus and his reindeer, a little toy train, a giant antique model T car carrying Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, a pirate ship with working canons, a mouse choir, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party and others carrying penguins, snowmen and giant rabbits.
The morning of the parade makeup artists performs their magic on more than 250 costumed characters transforming them into bunnies, princesses, snowmen and penguins. It is estimated that 1,500 people now take part in the parade.
The Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus Parade is now considered one of the best community parades in Ontario. More and more families and Santa fans from all over the GTA are now making it part of their holiday celebrations and as the Lakeshore community grows and changes more organizations want to join in the fun – one group is even bringing little ones to the Lakeshore by bus.
This year there will be new features and surprises. The representatives of the Invictus Games to be held in Toronto next September will take part along with their mascot VIMY. Santa will be celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday.
Joining the fun from last year will be Dragon Dancers, the Soccer Bubble Balls and the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs. Then there are walking bunnies, penguins and snow people all ready to share selfies and high fives.
The Lakeshore parade has become a haven for sports teams both minor league and professional. Mascots love the parade: Argos (Jason), Iggy – the Igneous Rock (Rock) will take part. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors send their Mobile Fan Zones. Another popular mascot is SONAR, the giant Newfoundland dog who represents the Royal Canadian Navy.
The minor-league teams include hockey, soccer, ringette, rugby, lacrosse, softball. Skateboarding and martial arts are also represented. There will be a bicycle spinning class too.
The parade has grown as local business support increased. The parade is sponsored by the local BIAs plus over the year’s businesses based in the Lakeshore have been very supportive. Now more local shops and restaurants along the route are making it fun for spectators offering free hot chocolate and festive treats.
Santa Claus gets excited too since this is one of his favourite parades.
The website is www.lakeshoresantaclausparade.com
Come Skate with Santa
Santa will be a busy man on Saturday, Dec. 3.
He’ll be up early as the Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus Parade starts at 10 a.m.
Then it’s off to the Skating Trail in Col. Sam Smith Park for a second event called Skate with Santa, from 12.30 to 4 p.m. Santa arrives at 1 p.m.
Everyone is invited to make Dec. 3 a special day –a perfect start to the holiday season.
This is the third year for this event which lets kids of all ages take a selfie with Santa and families go skating.
There’s free hot chocolate, the Beaver Tails food truck is on site, 98.1 CHFI provides Christmas music and the TD Bank sponsors a Kid Zone playground. There will also Lego for the kids and there will be a silent auction.
www.lakeshoresantaclaus parade. com
Bring your letters to Santa
HO-HO-HO the Canada Post carriers will collecting letters the children have for Santa.
Every letter will be answered. Be sure to include a return address.
The letters don’t need a stamp. The address is:
North Pole H0H OHO