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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Comments (9 - click here to join in!)


Rob Ford must have an alliance with Canadian Tire - LOL.

November 18, 2012 @ 8:34 PM

Rick C in Oakville

Corporate sponsor ship, just like the Platinums at Leafs games LOL. Canadian Tire throws a lot of support behind this, and without many of the corps stepping up it would die a slow agonizing death unfortunately.
My youngest is 18 and the last time we were there was about 8-10 years ago. Always loved the parade and even watched the edited Version with Ken Shaw and Melissa (can't remember her last name), but of course not the same as being there. I always liked University Ave, not only because of the wide space, but Village by the Grange was the next block over and was very easy to take the kids to the washroom without lining up at any of the establishments on University. We used to go down to the Hummungbird (now the Sony centre I believe) but washrooms were almost impossible to find and the sidewalks so narrow, it was a real hassle to be there.
Thanks for sharing Mike.

November 18, 2012 @ 9:10 PM


Third photo. That empty fold-out chair section. Front row behind the fenced barrier.
There is a water bottle on the 2nd chair from the end, something else is on the next, and a cup in the holder plus a Christmas Cap in the 4th and last chair of the photo. No one is there except a yellow jacket guard at the back.
Whose stuff is that?

November 19, 2012 @ 12:00 AM


The really big news of Sunday was the AAAARRRRGGGGGOOOOOSSS

November 19, 2012 @ 7:56 AM

Toronto Mike Verified as the defacto Toronto Mike


They were reserved seats for Canadian Tire. Some people showed up and sat there (corporate employees, maybe?) but most seats remained empty for the entire parade.

November 19, 2012 @ 9:07 AM


I think this really backfired on Canadian Tire. They may have impressed the handful of people in theri gated community but most people that were there found it wasn't appropriate for them to be there at a family event displaying such a corporate approach. They are not taking manufacturers to a private booth at a Raptors game. Have some common sense. Does anyone over there get basic PR and public perception.

November 19, 2012 @ 10:42 AM


This was a disgusting display. The reserved Canadian Tire area was almost empty in some spots. The kids I brought (2 4-year old kids) had no place to watch the parade. I could not hold both of them up to see the parade. It was very sad to see all these kids and parents come out (hours before the parade) and not have a place to stand.

November 19, 2012 @ 3:40 PM


There's tons of space along Queen's Park. The crowd was only 1 deep and there's plenty of grass to spread out. I was in the Parade this year, but if I'm not next time, that's where I'll be.

November 20, 2012 @ 7:50 AM


Heidi, how do you get involved in the Parade? I've always wanted to do it. :)

November 22, 2012 @ 1:49 PM

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