Thirty-six days before Christmas, Santa took time off his busy schedule to grace the streets of downtown Montreal. The Santa Claus parade returned to Ste-Catherine Street for its 70th year of cheer Saturday, after a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Yes, of course, we hope that people shop around, but it’s especially the memories that we want people to build and to remember these wonderful moments in downtown,” said Montreal Centre-Ville executive director Glenn Castanheira.
Organizers say 400,000 people bundled up to watch the parade, resuming old traditions and starting new ones.
“We’ve got a three year old and a one year old. This the first year having the two kids out for the Santa Claus parade, it has been fantastic,” said Rene Cormier.
Families flocked to the downtown core from all over Quebec and even Ontario. One family left their Ottawa home at 6:30 in the morning, to attend the parade.
“Every year I can’t watch Santa’s parade because I’m working mom and I’m also working full time. So I said to my daughter, we won’t miss this day because it’s a special day for everyone,” said Ottawa resident, Sheila Villanueva.
A 100 per cent electric fleet of vehicles pulled the floats down the 2.6 kilometre route, for the very first time.
“So we have, of course, many Teslas, but many electric pickup trucks carrying the heaviest floats that we have and that we’re pretty proud of as well,” said Castanheira.
The parade’s return featured a glamorous Star Fairy. Drag queen Barbada said it was an honour to play the part.
“I’m so glad that we can show diversity. We can show uniqueness, because I’m pretty sure in the whole wide world we don’t see drag queens doing the Star Fairy very often,” she told Global News.
Even with musical acts and dancers leading the parade, children are still most excited to see the jolly man in the red suit.
“My family is mostly excited about the Santa float,” said 11-year-old Jason Broadbent.
After an hour of waiting, Santa rode his sleigh down the street. He reminded children to be good and leave him milk and cookies on the big day.