I 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.
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.
I took these photos. Despite having to scramble for a spot this year, we'll be back next year.
Here are my recaps of the last eight Toronto Santa Claus Parades I attended.