Santa's hit parade!
Year after year, brave adults tackle Santa Claus parades all over Canada with a smile, initiating their little ones to the event where they get a sight of the big man (often for the first time). We've attended a few parades big and small, during the day and at night time. Here are a few tips to get the most out of the experience.
Yonger kids who can't wait to see the real Santa will be happy with any parade.
Be a sport! If you don't want to brave the traffic (or the crowd on the TTC), are really stressed out about finding parking and hate the cold, chances are you'll be a grumpy parent ruining it for everyone. You'd better stay home and watch your local parade with your family (with hot chocolates and warm cookies) on your local channel (parades are usually aired a few hours after the event).
Most parades last one hour (except for Toronto's, which goes on for two hours). If you're standing at the end of the route, you are bound to see the parade roughly one hour after the official departure time. In smaller towns, it means you can arrive 30 minutes after the departure time and find a spot closer to the end of the route.
Older kids will really appreciate Toronto Santa Claus Parade for the "wow!" factor of the floats. It's the only one where I would take teenagers.Toronto's parade (which took place on November 17) is by far the biggest one. Plan to arrive one hour before the parade starts to snatch a vantage point suitable for your children.
Evening parades offer the advantage of floats with pretty lights.
Old parts of towns offer the best decor for a soulful parade. You'll find the links to over 150 Santa Claus Parades across Ontario on the website vacationingwithkids.com.
Some parades to consider:
Saturday November 15 at 9 a.m. Oakville Santa Claus Parade (in cute old Oakville)
Saturday November 15 at 11 a.m. Niagara Fall Santa Claus Parade (with lots of attractions to visit in the afternoon)
Sunday November 16 at 12:30 p.m. Toronto Santa Claus Parade (offers the most impressive floats)
Sunday November 30 at 1 p.m. Mississauga Santa Claus Parade (in the old part of town called Streetsville, a country feeling withing the big city)
Saturday December 6 at 10 a.m. Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus Parade
Saturday December 6 at 6 p.m. Kinsmen Santa Claus Parade in Peterborough (to combine with a visit to Lang Pioneer Village)
Saturday December 13 at 11 a.m. Niagara-on-the-Lake Santa Claus Parade (old-fashioned feeling throughout the beautiful village)
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