The Toronto Christmas Parade

Yesterday we had our first snowfall (if you could call it that). We were viewing an apartment and out the window it was snowing, 5 minutes later when we walked outside it stopped. Master 8 and I got very excited at the first sign of the white fluffy stuff, the Canadian among us knowing what is ahead not so much. KILLJOY!

This week fall disappeared quickly and we are on the downhill slide into winter. The trees have finished shedding like a bald man and we are in single digits most days and the thermometer has even dipped below zero a couple of nights. BRING IT ON!!!
Season changes are one of the things that excite me most about our move to Canada from Australia. We have been living in Brisbane for the past 10 years and it is a city in Australia that basically has summer year round. The three seasons in Brisbane are warm, hot and stinking hot. It took me a few years of living in Brisbane to work out that I am a winter person at heart and I’m sure Peri-Menopausal and that perhaps it is not an ideal climate for me to reside. A few years ago I started performing Chinese water torture techniques on my husband (begging) until he agreed to a move to Canada and now we find ourselves living in Toronto and a climate that is more to my liking. I’m sure come February I will be bitching and moaning about the cold and weather just like a local and hanging out for spring however for me that is the bonus that each season has an end and you start looking forward to the next season.
With the cooler weather and 5-minute snowfall, it has really started to feel like Christmas in Toronto. The kickoff for Christmas in Toronto is the Annual Santa Parade. I am no Parade virgin having attended many a Mardi Gras Parade when I lived in Sydney, however, this was my first Ferris Bueller style day street parade and it was so much fun. This parade has been going for 111 years and is a big deal in Canada. It is broadcast on Television Canada-wide and more than half a million people attend the parade each year.
Lucky for us our short term apartment was on the parade route so we watched from our windows as they closed off the streets in the morning and as the crowds started to form. The parade kick off was 12.30 so just before start time we went downstairs to the cafe (If you can call Tim Horton’s a cafe) and got our hot chocolates and moved over to the parade route.
What we didn’t factor in was that the parade route was over 5km’s long!!!!! Our location??? Towards the end of the parade route. Our smugness that we didn’t have to commute to the parade or find a spot hours before the parade started soon disappeared as we stood waiting for 2 hours before the 1st float even appeared in front of us!!!! I was starting to get over it before it had even started. It was however well worth the wait.
Massive floats like these:

parade float

parade float 2

I have also never seen so many marching bands in my life.  So much band camp.

parade band 3

parade band 4

parade band 5
Needing to use the bathroom I walked back to our apartment only to discover that the view was just as good and with the added bonus of seats, a toilet, food and booze so this is where I remained with the best seat in the house. The Canadian and 8-year old didn’t last much longer and soon returned to the premium box seats of our apartment where we enjoyed the rest of the parade.

This was the view from the apartment.

Unfortunately next year we won’t be in this apartment so my tips for the parade:
1/ Take lawn or camping chairs, find a spot and set them up.
2/ After setting up the chairs leave them and go and find a restaurant, bar or cafe. Sit in the cafe until the parade is about to start and then make your way back to your chairs.
3/ Take a book, charged up phone or game to kill time as the wait is long.

4/ If you are attending the parade with children listen to a podcast to drown out them asking every 5 seconds “how long until the parade starts”

5/ Watch from the area closest to the start of the Parade Route.

6/ Wear a Nappy!  (Only Kidding they have Porta Loo’s along the Parade Route)



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