The 2014 Calgary Stampede Parade, the opener to what is billed as the "Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth," had people lining the route to get the best views hours before its kickoff this morning.

At 9 a.m. MT, the parade headed through the downtown, led by marshals William Shatner, the Star Trek star and one of Hollywood's most famous Canadians, and Olympic speedskaters Denny Morrison and Gilmore Junio.

Organizers say about 250,000 people lined the downtown route for the annual event. Some spectators even camped overnight in the streets to get prime seats.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife joined the spectators.

"We don't get to spend enough time here, so this is a great time of year to do it," said Harper.

He also noted how well the Stampede has recovered since the grounds were badly flooded last year.

"The mayor tells me there is still some longer term work to be done but this is a resilient, dynamic, entrepreneurial place."

The Calgary Stampede runs to July 13.