Santa's en route, and has a few extra helpers this year

The annual Downtown St. John's Christmas Parade is Sunday — and it looks like Santa Claus has added some additional helpers.

Downtown St. John's parade is largest community event in the province

Inmates at Her Majesty's Prison are building floats for the St. John's Santa Claus parade 4:58

The 25th annual Downtown St. John's Christmas Parade is Sunday — and it looks like Santa Claus has a few more helpers this year.

Volunteers have spent countless hours selecting a theme and putting the floats together. Two of this year's floats are being built by prisoners of Her Majesty's Penitentiary.

It's the second time that the penitentiary and the John Howard Society have collaborated on the parade.  

Cindy Murphy is the executive director of the John Howard Society. (CBC)
Cindy Murphy, executive director with the John Howard Society, said the first time they had involvement with the parade program, two of the three inmates received a gradual release back into the community. 

"They came to live in one of our residential programs and successfully completed their placement with us, and went on to find employment in the community," said Murphy. 

The project gives the inmates a chance to learn a skill and give something back to the community. 

Graham Rogerson, Supt. of Prisons, said it also gives those involved a chance to get into the Christmas spirit. 

"It will be an opportunity to say, 'I have done something good here.' They know it's seen on television, and there's a lot of interest from the community in new floats," said Rogerson. 

Parade not just about floats

In addition to the floats, volumes of people will walk the parade route on Sunday.

The local Filipino community is one of the groups participating.

Spokesperson LitoLibres said they're walking for a good reason.

Lito Libres says he and members of the Filipino community want to show their gratitude to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador for their support since Typhoon Haiyan hit the Phillipine islands on Nov. 8. (CBC)
"It's really important for us to go out there and express our gratitude," he said. 

Libres said his group wants to show St. John's how appreciative it is, for all the support received after Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippine Islands on Nov. 8.  

"We will be walking together to symbolize our unity. We will be singing to express our hospitality to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador; and also we will be carrying a lantern. We call it a Paról in the Phllippines, and it symbolizes share of faith," Libres told CBC News. 

The parade begins at noon, departing from the Fort William Building on Factory Lane in St. John's. 

Organizers are anticipating up to 60,000 spectators.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.