Santa Claus Parade comes to Winnipeg

By | November 16, 2019

Tens of thousands Winnipeggers lined up under the stars along Portage Avenue on a misty Saturday evening to see Kris Kringle come to town in the annual Santa Claus Parade.

Holiday tunes and cheer paired with the swishing of snowpants and scraping of snowboots on the pavement as the crowd gathered along the parade route. The yearly tradition shuts down most of the roads in the city’s centre and marks the beginning of the festive season.

Parade participants spent weeks preparing the dozens of floats decked out with bright lights, eclectic characters and corporate and public branding.

Five-year-old Callie Hedlin had one of the highest vantage points from atop her father’s shoulders. Andrew Hedlin, who stands six feet eight inches tall, and his immediate family was joined by grandma, grandpa and the cousins at the event.

Five-year-old Callie Hedlin sat atop her father Andrew’s shoulders to view the parade. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

How excited were the kids? “68 million” times excited, they said.

What are were they hoping to see? “Fire.”

What were they waiting for? “Daddy, it’s starting!”

Hometown sports fans got riled up for the Winnipeg Jets float. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

Lorlene Perrick brought her two daughters and two step-sons, who were all bundled up in winter coats, mittens and Winnipeg Jets gear. “They’re pretty excited,” Perrick said, moments before the paraders took off.

A firefighter hands out treats to children along the parade route. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

Even the Grinch, Cinderella and dogs made appearances at this year’s parade.

A dog on a leash chases behind its friends from the animal agency. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch,” blasted from a float carrying a green brute in a red suit who was caged up as part of the Crimestopper’s float.

A flurry of old police cars blaring their sirens also participated.

Long-time faithful fan Monica Cook channelled her enthusiasm for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Saturday’s parade in the lead up to the Western Final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

Diehard Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan Monica Cook roared as the team’s float passed by. “Let’s bring it home this year!” she exclaimed.

Cook has the team’s logo permanently branded on her body in the form of a tattoo of the football going through the W.  “Why follow them and not be optimistic about it?” she asked. The Bombers take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday in the CFL’s Western Final in Regina.

Manitoba Hydro received a warm welcome just five weeks after restoring power to tens of thousands of Manitobans due to an unprecedented winter-like storm in October. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

Kathleen Vitt took Felix, who is nearly three months old, to his first Santa Claus parade. The two were joined by other family members.

“We’re more here for the two year olds who can kind of take it in, but we’re enjoying our time, too,” Vitt said.

Kathleen Vitt kept her nearly three-month-old baby Felix close and cozy while he dozed in and out of sleep during the boisterous parade. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

Curtis Sankar perched in front of the bus stop in front of the Bay with all of his nieces and nephews.

Curtis Sankar, left, said his family found prime spots to watch the entire parade at the intersection of Vaughan Street and Portage Avenue. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)

“It was really, really fun,” Daniel, one of the children who was with Sankar, said. The kids were thrilled to see their cousins and sister marching with the Clifton School patrols.

But the best part? Seeing Santa.

A child waves at Santa Claus as the final float parades past her. (Dana Hatherly/CBC)