Updated for 2019: It’s less than four weeks until Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade 2019 ! The annual holiday tradition takes place on Sunday, November 17, 2018 and the parade route changes slightly this year…see below for more details. I have so many fond memories of seeing the parade with my family as a girl. The parade creates memories that last a lifetime. It’s not surprising that so many people love seeing the spectacular floats…it’s a great way to get into the festive holiday spirit since you get to share the excitement with everyone at the parade. If you want to get the most out of your experience, here are some tips that will help you navigate the Santa Claus Parade:
1. Get to the Parade Early and Be Prepared for Crowds
You can’t just decide to drop in to watch the Santa Claus Parade at the last minute. With more than 500,000 people attending each year, you should plan to arrive by 11:30 a.m. at the latest in order to get a good viewing spot along the parade route. If that doesn’t appeal to you, you are probably better off watching the parade on television. CTV will be broadcasting the Santa Claus Parade 2019 later the same day at 4:30 p.m.
2. Wear Warm and Comfortable Shoes
Going to the Santa Claus Parade in Toronto means standing for at least 90 minutes while you watch the parade go by. The shoes you choose to wear can either make or break your experience. It is absolutely crucial that your footwear is both warm and comfortable, so choose comfortable shoes such as Birkenstock or Merrell shoes. You don’t want to have to leave early because your feet are tired or freezing!
3. Bring Hot Beverages and Extra Clothes
November weather in Toronto can be downright frosty, so you’re going to have to be prepared for the cold if you will be attending the Santa Claus Parade. Since you are going to be outside for a few hours, why not bring a backpack filled with extra scarves, hats, mittens, and socks, as well as a thermos of hot chocolate or coffee to keep you warm. You could also bring a fold-up chair to rest on since there can be a bit of a time lag between floats.
4. Have an Emergency Plan Ready
One of the most important things to do to prepare for the Santa Claus Parade is to have an emergency plan ready. This means that you should talk to your viewing party whether that be family or friends about what to do in case you get lost from the group. Due to the large number of people at the parade, phones may not work properly, so you need to have a designated spot where you can meet should any members of your party get lost.
5. Get Informed about the Route and the Restrooms Available
The Santa Claus Parade route has changed for 2019. This year, the Santa Claus Parade begins at Bloor St. E. and Parliament Street and then heads to University Avenue where it proceeds south. Make sure that you identify important locations along the parade route, such as coffee shops with washrooms, especially if you have young ones in tow. You might want to choose your viewing spot based on how close it is to a coffee shop or fast food outlet. There are many Tim Hortons, McDonald’s and Second Cup retail outlets along the parade route where you can drop in to warm up with a coffee or hot chocolate and use their washrooms. Here are a few locations along the Santa Claus Parade 2019 route:
Second Cup, 60 Bloor St. W. (at Bay Street)
Starbucks – 175 Bloor St. E., south building
Starbucks – 100 Bloor St. E. (in The Market by Longo’s)
Starbucks – 1 Bloor St. W., Suite 5
Starbucks – 525 University Avenue (at Elm Street)
Starbucks – 180 Queen Street West (at University Avenue)
Starbucks – 55 University Avenue (at Wellington Street)
Tim Horton’s – 419 Bloor St. E. (at Sherbourne Street)
Tim Horton’s – 700 University Avenue (at College Street)
Tim Horton’s – 657 University Avenue (just south of College Street)
Tim Horton’s – 481 University Avenue (at Edward Street)
Tim Horton’s – 438 University Avenue (at Dundas Street West)
Tim Horton’s – 33 University Avenue (at Wellington Street)
Wendy’s – 55 University Avenue (at Wellington Street)
If you are attending the Santa Claus Parade 2019 in Toronto, I hope you have a wonderful time.