This Week in Canadian History Nov 27- Dec 3 2016: Toronto\’s First Santa Claus Parade

The T. Eaton Company held the first Toronto Santa Claus parade on December 2, 1905. Now one of the largest in North America, the first parade was only 1 float. Today there are more than 25 floats alone, and the parade route has stretched 6 km some years. It also has the distinction of being one of the oldest in North America. Being born in Toronto, I myself have memories of attending the parade.

In keeping with the Eaton\’s history of philanthropy in Canada, the parade was fully funded by the company. The floats and costumes were made by them. Children applied to be in the parade, sometimes waiting as much as three years before they got their chance to participate.

In 1913, Santa\’s float had real reindeer. Eaton\’s brought them in from Labrador. After the parade, they were sent to live on an executive\’s land outside of Toronto.

Eaton\’s funded the parade until 1982, until it was no longer financially possible for the company to do so. It was saved by George Cohon and Ron Barbaro when they formed a non-profit organization to oversee running of the parade. They also got 20 corporate sponsors that first year. The organization has run the parade ever since.

You can find out more about the history of the parade here:

4 thoughts on “This Week in Canadian History Nov 27- Dec 3 2016: Toronto\’s First Santa Claus Parade

  1. So interesting – and wow, kids having to apply to participate! I'm trying to remember if I went to the parade as a child – I'm from Ottawa, but my grandmother and aunt lived in TO and we used to go there for Christmas up until 1973. Either way, thanks for writing about this important piece of Canadian history 🙂


  2. I like the more unusual history facts. History gets boring if you only look at the political names and dates. I'm sure if more people looked at the everyday things, they would find history more entertaining 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: