The annual dose of Christmas magic is one of the oldest in North America. It began in 1905 by the Eaton's department store, when Santa arrived on a train and walked to the Eaton's famous downtown store.
The first float was introduced in 1908 and it contained one truck and a band. The 2010 parade boasts 31 floats, 24 marching bands, the RCMP musical ride, upsidedown clowns and monkeys and thousands of kids wearing costumes. The parade is broadcast in several countries to boot.
The morning will be rather frosty at 2°C but will climb to a daytime high of around 7°C with variable cloud. There's a chance of showers in the late afternoon so bring your umbrella just in case. Unlike northern Ontario, there won't be any heavy snowfalls. Regardless, if you're planning on being outside all day, it's a good idea to break out the mittens and scarves.
Before you venture out to get your fill of holiday cheer, there's some important things you should know.
If you're hungry, there will be a free breakfast at Yonge-Dundas Square before the parade starts from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Face painting and entertainment will be offered as well.
The RCMP is organizing a gift collection with transportation and distribution. People are encouraged to donate a toy to the Santa's Toys for the North charity.
The parade gets underway at 12:45 p.m. and leaves from Christie Street and Bloor Street West. It proceeds westbound on Bloor to Avenue Road before heading south on Queen's Park Crescent. It continues southbound to Dundas Street West before turning left and heading east to Yonge Street. The parade then continues down Yonge to Front Street. It then turns left and continues eastward before ending at St. Lawrence Market. The total route is approximately 5.6 km long.
The parade's general manager and creative director, Alfred Iannarelli, says that the earlier the better is your best bet for great seats. “The little ones should be right on the sidewalks looking up at the floats.” He also suggests bringing colouring books and toys or even chalk to draw on the sidewalk for children.
Officials recommend taking public transit. If you're planning on driving,there will be commercial parking downtown. Still, Iannarelli says that parking could be difficult to find.
SANTA VISITING OTHER ONTATIO CITIES
Toronto isn't Santa's only stop in Ontario this weekend. He's also visiting Ottawa, Barrie, Orangeville, Bradford, Kingston, Cambridge, Guelph and North Bay.
To stay up-to-date on the current weather conditions, be sure to check your local forecast.