Santa Claus finds a small town in Toronto

14th annual Beaches Santa Claus Parade showcases small town community spirit

Santa arrives on Kingston Rd, to celebrate the 14th annual Toronto Beaches Santa Claus Parade on Nov. 24. 2019
Santa arrives on Kingston Rd, to celebrate the 14th annual Toronto Beaches Santa Claus Parade on Nov. 24. PJ Boyd/Toronto Observer

Toronto’s Beaches small town culture marched in full display this past Sunday as the 14 annual Toronto Beaches Santa Claus Parade walked through the community with children front row and in the spotlight.

Organized by Community Centre 55, the Beaches Santa Claus Parade is one of the many community events that brings out residents to engage and support one another in the Beaches area. Other events have included outdoor movie nights, soup tasting competitions, breakfast with the Easter Bunny and many more.

Kashmera Self, a mother of two and a resident of the Toronto Beaches for over 15 years, has attended the Beaches Santa Claus Parade previously, as well as Centre 55’s Canada Day and Easter events.

2019 Toronto Beaches Santa Claus Parade. Kashmera Self with husband and kids, Norah and Billy attend parade with friends, Scott and Andrea Dunsmuir and their children Heath and Islay.
Kashmera Self with children, Norah and Billy, attend 2019 Beaches Santa Claus Parade with friends, Scott and Andrea Dunsmuir and their children Heath and Islay.

“It gives me and my family a look into how our neighborhood operates,” Self said. “You have everyone coming together to watch out for each others kids and help each other. We are all professionals, most of us in this neighbourhood, so, to be able to balance family life with work life is a little difficult. And so this neighborhood this community lends itself well to that.”

This year’s parade theme of Santa’s Little Helpers was on full display as hundreds of children took part in marching in the parade, or sitting curb side waving. From student marching bands to children wearing Santa hats and Christmas-themed pyjamas among the 40 floats, Centre 55’s theme brought families of all sizes out to the parade along Kingston Road Village.

Maddy Harpley, a Child Care worker for Centre 55 marched in this year’s parade as her husband William watched in support among the crowds. 

“I feel like this community is all very close knit and supportive of each other. It shows with how many people have come out to support the event even though it’s not very well known,” Harpley said. “This theme is a great idea as people often forget that Christmas isn’t about presents, it’s about children. And keeping the Christmas spirit alive with children.”

Following the parade, Centre 55 kept the festivities going with a barbecue, along with activities for children that include crafts for children and photos with Santa.

“I think it’s a lovely community event that we have, and it’s another option for those who don’t necessarily want to go downtown to the big parade,” said Evonne Hossack, Program Director of Community Centre 55. “They have another choice in their own community where they can come and participate. And also a way to give back to the community and to families that were helping,”

“The parade has impacted our community as it has helped spread awareness on our Share a Christmas program, as well as given people the opportunity to support families in their own community,” Hossack said

The Beaches Santa Claus Parade is both a kick off to the holiday season each year, as well as Centre 55’s Share a Christmas program. This program has helped support local families by bringing toys and food to more than 1,000 families in need each year for the past 37 years.

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Posted: Nov 28 2019 12:13 pm
Filed under: News