Santa still a hit as he flies into town by a new route

Santa Claus brought his annual parade to town this afternoon, but if he was worried the new route he was taking into downtown Toronto might throw off his young fans, he needn’t have been. Thousands of kids and their parents lined the streets starting at Bloor Street East and Parliament Street, in the northeast corner of Central Toronto.

Many of them wore Rudolph’s red nose to help light Santa’s way.

In previous years, floats and marchers had gathered at Christie Pits to begin the route along Bloor Street West.

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A few people still waited at Christie and along Bloor West for the parade to begin there this time, but they soon caught on and rushed over to Queen’s Park to catch the parade where it turned south towards downtown.

The 115th edition of the parade this year is said to be the biggest ever held in Toronto — with 34 floats and 20 marching bands.

Musicians in Santa Claus parade
HAVING A BLAST: Brassy arching bands — this one the Burlington Teen Tour Band — are always a large part of the parade.

That’s saying something, since Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade has already been known as the largest kids’ parade in North America, not to mention the largest outdoor entertainment event in Canada.

The parade got underway by 1 p.m. and quickly moved west along Bloor to Queen’s Park Crescent, then south on the east side of the crescent and the northbound lanes of University Avenue, and on into downtown.

Mayor John Tory led a continent of “Original Santa Claus Parade” celebrants, to mark the parade’s 115 years since it began in Toronto in 1904 when Santa walked from Union Station to Eatons’ downtown store.

John Tory in Santa Claus parade
CITY HALL SANTA: He’s not pulled by reindeer, but Mayor John Tory helps celebrate 115 years of the Santa Claus Parade in Toronto.

Santa Claus, bringing up the rear of the parade as always, was a rather chatty old fellow, telling the crowd how great it was to be in the parade for 115 years and doing live interviews with media along the way.

Along with his steady stream of cheerful Merry Christmases and ho-ho-hos for all the kids, of course.