Santa Claus has come back to town

Beaches parade returns to east-end streets after three-year hiatus

Beaches Santa Claus parade
Father and son waving to Santa at Beaches Santa Clause parade on Nov.19. (Maria Rodelo / Toronto Observer) 

Toronto’s popular Beaches Santa Claus parade returned to the Upper Beaches on Nov. 19 after a three-year absence. 

For more than a decade, Community Centre 55 has organized the parade that runs west from Victoria Park Avenue along Kingston Road before turning north on Walter Street to end at Community Centre 55 on Main Street.

The parade did not take place in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and last year’s 2022 was cancelled due to staff changes at Community 55 and street construction in the area, according to Jenni Commander, receptionist at Community Centre 55.

She’s glad to have the parade back because the community looks forward to it.

“It gets people in the mood before the big Santa Claus parade downtown,” she said.

Hundreds of children and their families lined the street waving to dancers, marching bands, Santa’s little helpers sharing candy canes. and Mr. and Mrs. Claus, the most awaited family from the north pole.

“I’m so excited, I mean, this is our daughter’s first Santa Parade and she’s three,” said Naomi Sullivan. “So this is amazing for us to have the parade back in the community.”  

The event planning began back in April, and although inflation created obstacles, the collaboration of 100 volunteers and many sponsors helped the Beach Santa Claus parade return to the street, according to Reza Khoshdele, executive director at Community Centre 55.

“Trying to provide a really good program, a really good event in a cost-effective manner was, I think, really, really challenging but we’re lucky enough to work with great partners,” Reza said, mentioning Royal LePage and Fearless Meat on Kingston Road as two sponsors.

Beaches Santa Claus parade
Mayor Olivia Chow, in Santa hat, poses with families at the Beaches Santa Claus parade. (Maria Rodelo/Toronto Observer.)

The Toronto Police 55 Division, Mayor Olivia Chow, MPP Mary-Margaret MacMahon and Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine, celebrated with the crowd dancing and taking pictures.

“I am so glad the parade is back on the street,” Chow said. “You could see all the smile from all the kids. Everyone had so much fun.”

Centre 55 continued the celebration after the parade with a barbecue and activities for children, such as face painting, cookie decoration, popes and photos with Santa and Mrs Claus.

While some children and adults asked Santa for dinosaurs, squishmallows or the latest PlayStation, many asked for peace in the world.  

“There’s a lot going on in the world, a number of problems in different places,” said Mary Carew, volunteer of Community Center 55. “If any one of them get to be resolved, it would make my Christmas complete.”

Mary Carew, volunteer member at Community Center 55, wearing what she described as a “confused Capitan Hook costume” at Beaches Santa Claus parade. (Maria Rodelo/Toronto Observer)

The Beaches Santa Claus Parade is both a kick-off to the holiday season as well as part of Centre 55’s Share a Christmas campaign, a program that helps support local families in need with toys and food during the holiday season.

“This year is particularly difficult with the cost of living going up. So if we can just make sure that every kid has a present under their tree on Christmas morning, I think that would be a success for us,” Reza said.

Reza Khoshdele, Community Centre 55 executive director, gets his wish with Mrs and Mr. Claus after the parade. (Maria Rodelo/Toronto Observer).

For information on how to support this year’s Share a Christmas campaign at Community Centre 55, go to

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Posted: Nov 23 2023 10:01 am
Filed under: Entertainment News Toronto Legacy