St. Catharines hosted its annual Santa Claus Parade this past weekend, following a new, updated route. The event, which took place on November 19, started at McGuire Street in front of the Meridian Centre and ended at the corner of Queen Street, close to where the Rankin Cancer pedestrian bridge is located.
Despite the cooler temperatures and the not-so-friendly rainy forecast, the event appeared to be a success with parade-goers lining up in lawn-chairs along St. Paul Street, decked out in their warmest winter clothes. The great turnout of local St. Catharines citizens, the parade was also made up of a whole array of community members and group organizations ranging from Home Depot, to the St Catharines Transit, to Brock University.
“Brock [was] really excited to be at St Catharines Santa Claus Parade,” said Sheena Erhardt, who works for Student Life and Community Experience.
Is the chance to help others throughout the holiday season by donating non-perishable foods, hats and mittens to Community Care of both St Catharines and Thorold. Volunteers collected the donations along the parade route.
Many of the participants in the parade were also happy to help raise donations.
“We’re excited,” said Jerry Sokal, a St Catharines Transit Commission driver and member of the ATU local 846. “The transit members and the union workers are excited to be here giving donations for community care, filling the bin, and handing out candy. Local 846 is happy to join in on the festivities and say hello to our fellow citizens here in St Catharines. Hopefully we’ll have a lot of fun here today.”
Fun was definitely the object of the day with the parade providing lots of music from Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School’s drumline and Notre Dame’s drumline, as well as lively representation for all sorts of sports teams in the Niagara region like Niagara Cheerleading, the Niagara River Lions, and the Niagara Ice Dogs.
Canada Post workers collected letters to Santa along the new improved parade route.
The implementation of the new route was the second time that the parade route has changed within the past two years in the city’s on-going effort to add additional activities for holiday-goers. Last year, the parade ended on Wellington street near City Hall and the Marketplace where further activities were being hosted. Additional changes were also made to free up parking.
This year, the changes were specific to activities being held at the Meridian Centre, including a free skate. Other activities were available as well, including family friendly kids crafts, pony rides, face painting, a concession stand, and a visit with Santa Claus himself.
While the first changes in the route did help with both parking and activities, the new changes will hopefully be the last that will have to be made now that activities will be held at the Meridian Centre in the future.