Toronto Santa Claus Parade

I Attend The Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade So You Don't Have To

I Attend The Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade So You Don't Have ToI live in the south end of Toronto, just a short walk from Lake Shore. That makes attending the annual Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade awfully convenient.

With my youngest napping and my oldest kids otherwise engaged, I attended the parade this morning with my nephew Nate. Nate has an irrational fear of sirens and this parade has a surprisingly heavy use of sirens, but I still managed to photograph every float.

Here are pics from this year's parade, along with a little snark, completely free of charge.

The first "float" is the "Rehab Unit". That reminds me, Rob Ford was dumping candy canes on little kids last year after being uninvited from the big parade, but he was nowhere to be seen this year.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

Then we had a gentle reminder that Toronto is hosting the Pan Am Games next summer. That sparked a debate between me and my brother as to which is less interesting to us, the Pan Am Games or Commonwealth Games. It was a draw.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

This next float brought back wonderful memories of watching Looney Tunes on Saturday mornings. That's not snark, that's totally legit nostalgia.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

Here we have some sort of underwater motif. It's colourful and cute, and although it wouldn't make the cut at the big downtown parade, it was almost too good for the Lake Shore parade.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

I'm not sure if this is Cinderella or not. It's really more of a generic homogenized prince and princess float that I'm sure was a big hit with the little girls in attendance.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

I'm pretty sure this is an Alice in Wonderland float, because there's the Cheshire cat on the roof. When I first saw the clocks I actually thought of Jessie Spano and the fact there's never enough time.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

Now we're just getting lazy. Is this even a float or just a truck delivering hay that took the wrong exit from the Gardiner Expressway?

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

Fun Fact: I thought the animatronic penguin on the bench was a real kid and was very impressed by the makeup job.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

Nothing says winter in Toronto like Trinidad and Tobago's official musical instrument, the steelpan.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

I caught 2 minutes of the live Peter Pan musical the other night and couldn't take it anymore. I thought the young lady playing Captain Hook on this float did a far better job.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

Geek alert: Red Hat Linux made an appearance. (No, not really.)

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

This Snow White float is top notch. Well done, Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

What amuses me about this little parade is how just about anything could be a float. This is a fire truck. It is also a parade float.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

Somehow I doubt this Thomas the Tank Engine-ish float was licensed from Gullane Limited.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

This was, without a doubt, my favourite float in the entire parade. It's a group of hillbillies complete with moonshine and beards. Bumpkin sensibilities be damned!

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

I believe these are polar bears wearing sunglasses and riding a snowmobile called "Polar Express". Why the hell not?

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

This is the scariest looking Grinch I've ever seen. A good effort nonetheless!

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

I cannot look at this old ambulance without seeing the Ecto-1.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

Ok, really.... how is this a float? This is a spinning class in progress. That's not a float, that's a pre-cinnamon dolce latte activity.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

I think this is a dragon, but I suppose it could be a dinosaur. I can say for certain, however, that it's a very bright green.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

T'was the night before Christmas, and these mice still lacked noses and eyes and mouths...

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

And now, for the penultimate float... a skiing snowman!

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

The Santa Claus float at this parade is far lower to the ground than the Santa Claus float at that other Toronto parade. I like this better as it makes Santa seem like more of a regular guy. He's not all high and mighty, he's on our level.

Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade 2014

There you have it, the 2014 Lake Shore Santa Claus Parade in its entirety. The elves were extremely generous with the candy canes and the weather cooperated fully.

I'll be back next year.

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2013 Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus Parade

Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus ParadeAfter attending 9 Toronto Santa Claus Parades in a row, I didn't make it downtown for this year's event. But I did attend the Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus Parade along Lake Shore in New Toronto yesterday morning.

I was there to support my new hood and check out this annual event for myself. Unlike the main Toronto parade, there is plenty of room for all in attendance but the trade-off is comparably underwhelming floats with a fraction of the budget and a rather small town vibe. And by small town, I just mean small...

The very first "float" was the "Rehab Unit", rather appropriate since Rob Ford threatened to crash this party.

First float... rehab truck for Rob Ford?

Toronto sports teams were well represented. There was Carlton from the Leafs, Jason from the Argonauts and a mock-up of the Leafs and Raptors dressing rooms. Oh, and Mike "Pinball" Clemons was walking the route and I told him I liked his jacket. He seemed to appreciate that.

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Carlton

Leafs dressing room

Raptors dressing room

Then there was this big unwelcome distraction called Rob Ford. He walked the route while tv cameras followed him, and his driver slowly drove Rob Ford's Escalade on the other side, saying "Merry Christmas" to us as he rolled by.

Ford ruckus

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There were floats, too... many clearly unauthorized by the copyright holders, others mashed together in nonsensical ways. Here are a few of the better ones.

Bugs

Princess

Alice

Hook

Dwarves

Ski

And finally, there was the guest of honour himself, Santa Claus.

The big guy

It was cold, but I didn't have to battle crowds and I was home in seconds. Nice job, Etobicoke Lakeshore.

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Santa Claus Parade Memory Lane

picturesNine Toronto Santa Claus Parade's in a row... I'm a lucky SOB. And I'll most definitely be back...

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Toronto Santa Clause Parade 2004

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Toronto Santa Claus Parade 2005

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At the Parade

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2009 Santa Claus Parade

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2010 Santa Claus Parade

2011

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2012

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2012 Toronto Santa Claus Parade

santaI took the kids to the 2012 Santa Claus Parade today. It was my ninth parade in a row, and the kids had a blast, but when I arrived at my usual spot at 10:30am, I received an unexpected surprise...

We usually set up camp early just North of Dundas on the west side of University on one of the big islands. This year, almost the entire island was blocked off by gates for Canadian Tire. Kids weren't just told they couldn't sit on the curb, but they couldn't sit in front of the gates, either. A whole whack of great real estate was taken out of commission so Canadian Tire could set up chairs for an exclusive audience, half of whom never showed up.

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This was the first time our regular spots were unavailable, and if I hadn't have been 3 hours early, I likely wouldn't have been able to score the kids a front row seat. It's a city parade and the curb is city property and I just felt like these spots should have been available to the general public. Sure, Canadian Tire is one of the many sponsors, but that's why they get to plaster their logo everywhere and field an ever-increasingly commercialized float. Barricading the islands to prevent Torontonians from enjoying the parade just felt wrong.

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I took these photos. Despite having to scramble for a spot this year, we'll be back next year.

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Here are my recaps of the last eight Toronto Santa Claus Parades I attended.

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An Entry For Me To Make My Eyes Sweat

picturesAt the tail end of my 2011 Santa Claus Parade recap, I linked to my recaps of the previous 7 parades. Each time I attend a parade with my kids, I try to photograph every float and I put together a Flickr photoset. Every photoset includes at least one shot of my kids watching the parade. That got me thinking...

With the boy only a couple of months away from reaching double-digits, and his days at the parade with daddy numbered, what would my eyes do if I put all of these shots in succession. Would my eyes sweat? I'll let you know after the pics...

2004

Toronto Santa Clause Parade 2004

2005

Toronto Santa Claus Parade 2005

2006

Ready

2007

At the Parade

2008

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2009

2009 Santa Claus Parade

2010

2010 Santa Claus Parade

2011

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Yep, my eyes are sweating.

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2011 Toronto Santa Claus Parade

santaI took the kids to the 2011 Santa Claus Parade today. It was my eighth parade in a row, and the weather was the best yet. It was sunny and nice all afternoon, which sure beats the rain / snow combo we were hit with a few years ago.

I took these photos just North of Dundas on the West side of University. We'll be back next year.

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Here are my recaps of the last seven Toronto Santa Claus Parades I attended.

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Redesigning Old Floats To Make 'Em New

santaThe Toronto Santa Claus Parade needs to mix things up year after year, to ensure they don't rerun the same parade. Often, they'll simply redesign an existing float.

For example, here's the Yahoo! float that was in the parade the last few years. As you'd expect from Yahoo!, it's a young girl on her laptop.

2009 Santa Claus Parade

Now that it's a Duracell float, that same girl is gently fondling batteries and playing with battery-operated toys.

2010 Santa Claus Parade

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2010 Santa Claus Parade (Snark Version)

SantaI just wrote the sweet as all hell recap of the 2010 Santa Claus Parade. That's the one you can show your kids or little nephews and nieces or cousins. This is the snark version.

I'd like to know how much DreamWorks had to pony up for the massive Shrek DVD push that opened the parade. In addition to Shrek himself, every kid at the parade got a little gift pack complete with Shrek ears. There were more Shrek ears than reindeer antlers and Santa hats combined.

2010 Santa Claus Parade

Hey, celebrity clowns. I don't mean to look a gift horse in the mouth and all, but where was the chocolate? It was all candy, no chocolate, and I friggin' love those holiday eggs you've handed out in previous years. Couldn't you have taken some of that DreamWorks money and scored some chocolate?

2010 Santa Claus Parade

The first real float was called "Rob Ford" and it passed without any fanfare. It was surreal, really.

2010 Santa Claus Parade

Poor Blinky... he doesn't even blink anymore. First he stops driving himself, then he stops talking, but now that he's not blinking, is he really Blinky anymore?

2010 Santa Claus Parade

Nothing says Christmas like Lady Gaga!

So very, very creepy.

2010 Santa Claus Parade

These guys just stink.

2010 Santa Claus Parade

Really, Ken? A pink tie?

2010 Santa Claus Parade

I don't know what these things are, but I hate them.

2010 Santa Claus Parade

These guys might be creepier than the upside down clowns.

2010 Santa Claus Parade

I for one am sickened by the continuous and overt sexualization of animals in this parade.

2010 Santa Claus Parade

A notorious criminal celebrated in front of our precious children? Disgusting.

2010 Santa Claus Parade

Blowing through walls just got a little easier.

2010 Santa Claus Parade

Somebody has an ego!

2010 Santa Claus Parade

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2010 Santa Claus Parade

santaI took the kids to the 2010 Santa Claus Parade today. It was my seventh parade in a row, so I've got it all down to a fine art. I know when to arrive, where to score great seats for the kids and how to keep them warm and entertained during the two hour wait beforehand.

This year wasn't as warm as last year, but it was far better than the rain / snow combo we got a couple of years back. We parked ourselves at University and Elm, right across from Sick Kids where they put up the heart warming bleacher seats for the patients.

I took 115 photos and videos you'll find here. We'll be back next year.

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Here are my recaps of the last six Toronto Santa Claus Parades I attended.

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No More Cookies! No More Cookies!

santaAs Santa rolled by yesterday at the Santa Claus Parade, he made a request. I captured his plea on video.

He's asking that we not leave him cookies anymore. He'd far prefer an apple or orange. My kids have taken note.

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