2017: Friday April 14, at 3 p.m.
On Good Friday, Little Italy is back in time, before the Easter Bunny became commonplace. The religious procession usually starts at 3 p.m. and goes on for roughly three hours. The route starts at St. Francis of Assisi Church (Grace and Manning), then follows Dundas Street, Montrose Avenue, College, Manning, and back to the church.
My daughter was given the image of a saint as we waited for the procession. I hadn't seen one of those in years! It really added to the retro feeling of this event which has been a tradition for ages. Each year, the parish of St. Francis of Assisi organizes the mile-long march re-enacting the fourteen Stations of the Cross (Jesus on his way to his crucifixion). Followers walk behind banners held high, many of these beautiful pieces of craftsmanship. Some are dressed as shepherds and apostles in long robes. The most impressive station of the procession is obviously the one featuring an exhausted Jesus bearing his cross, surrounded by tough Roman soldiers. My then wide-eyed five-year-old kid had to be reminded this was a re-enactment.
If you are looking for a non-religious celebration of Easter (with a lighter focus on bunnies) check Toronto Beaches Lion's Club Easter Parade, on Easter Sunday.