Streets closed in Winnipeg for annual Santa Claus parade
Santa is coming to Winnipeg Saturday for the annual Santa Claus Parade.
Traffic will be rerouted in the city's downtown to make room for the colourful floats and celebrations.
The parade starts at 5 p.m. on at Portage Avenue and Young Street and will run east on Portage Avenue, south on Main Street to William Stephenson Way.
The City of Winnipeg has announced the following streets will be closed:
Starting at 1:30 p.m.:
- Portage Avenue east of Sherbrook Street to Portage Avenue East at Westbrook Street
Starting at 3:00 p.m.:
- Southbound Main Street from McDermot Avenue to Graham Avenue
- Northbound Main Street from St. Mary Avenue to Portage Avenue
- Pioneer Avenue from Main Street to Westbrook Street
- William Stephenson Way from Main Street to Waterfront Drive
Starting at 4 p.m.:
- Main Street from St. Mary Avenue to McDermot Avenue, except for the northbound lanes north of Portage Avenue and the southbound lanes south of Graham Avenue
- Westbrook Street from Portage Avenue East to William Stephenson Way, except for the northbound lanes between Pioneer Avenue and Portage Avenue East
- York Avenue from the east side of Fort Street to the west side of Main Street
Winnipeg Transit will re-route all buses through the area between 1:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
The parade is followed by fireworks and more entertainment at The Forks starting at 7 p.m.
All streets will re-open once the parade is over.
Eaton's Department Store held its first Santa Claus Parade in 1905 in Toronto and it was so successful that in 1909 Eaton's started parades in Montreal and Winnipeg.
Due to rising costs, Eaton's in Winnipeg organized its last parade in 1965. Capt. George Smith of the East Kildonan Fire Department, on behalf of the Winnipeg Firefighters Club, bought the Parade from Eaton's for $1.50. That marked the start of the community-based format the parade still follows to this day.
From 1966 to 1975, the Winnipeg Firefighters worked very closely with volunteers from schools around the city to carry on the parade tradition. And in 1975, the Winnipeg Jaycees, now JCI Winnipeg, took over the stewardship of the parade.
In 1987, the Christmas Cheer Board began its relationship with the parade, collecting donations and non-perishable food items along the route.
In November 1998, the City of Winnipeg hosted the CFL's Grey Cup championship game and Manitoba Hydro, along with event organizers, organized a Grey Cup parade in downtown. Hydro continued to sponsor an annual night-time parade, the Power Smart Festival of Lights Parade, in downtown from 1999 to 2005.
When the Grey Cup returned in 2006, JCI Winnipeg joined forces with the City of Winnipeg and Manitoba Hydro, rolling their events into one big Santa Claus Parade.