Hundreds of community members banded together in the streets of downtown St. Catharines amidst chilly temperatures for the annual Santa Claus Parade. The hour-long parade kicked off the holiday season with an afternoon of marching, donation collection and fun.
The parade began at 1:00 p.m. on November 18 and featured just over 50 entries from a number of local businesses and organizations. Marching began on McGuire St., behind the Meridian Centre and travelled along McGuire St., moving left on Carlisle St., then left on to St. Paul St. where it finally came to a halt at the Queen St. intersection. Community members could be seen lining the streets that were a part of the marching route to watch as some of these entries such as bands, girl scouts, elves, larger-than-life characters, dancers and cheerleaders made their way through the core of downtown.
As is custom, Brock had a holiday-themed float in the parade which was trailed by numerous volunteers from the school community clad in red. These volunteers handed out candy canes and gave high fives along the parade route. The streets of St. Catharines were filled with Brock spirit while the float passed along as volunteers interacted with each other and the residents of the community. Even with finals coming up, the Brock volunteers committed to spending time in the community and engaging in the festivities of the season.
Students and participants in the parade were encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and warm hats and mittens for both the Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold, which were collected along the parade route by volunteers for the Community Care. Throughout the parade, numerous children could be seen eagerly handing their letters to Santa to the many Canada Post workers who were present along the sidelines.
After the end of the parade, an after-party was held at the Meridian Centre from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Events included taking pictures with Santa, arts and crafts, face painting and pony rides outside of the Centre. Concessions were also available for purchase at a concession booth located within the Centre.
Elsewhere in Canada, a number of Santa Claus Parades took place this weekend. Saturday saw parades happening in places nearby such as Kitchener, Cambridge, Oakville, Niagara Falls, Welland, Hamilton, Fort Erie, as well as farther locations like Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Montreal. Sunday saw parades occurring in Toronto and Milton. Over the next three weekends more than 20 parades are slated to be held in Ontario alone with many more being held across provincial boundaries.
The annual Santa Claus Parade serves a greater purpose than just being another holiday tradition; it has fostered and continues to foster greater connections between families and communities and brings people together beautifully. The parade brings out the importance of volunteerism and charity in our community and welcomes the holiday season