Toronto

The big guy in the red suit comes to town as parade floats through Toronto

Santa Claus has come to town on Sunday and the president of the longest running parade in Canada that features the big guy in the red suit says the event is magical every year.

Police stopped the parade briefly due to a 'suspicious package' but Santa was deemed to be safe

Santa Claus surveys the parade on Sunday from his sled high atop a 12-metre long float. (Muriel Draaisma/CBC)

Santa Claus came to town on Sunday and the president of Canada's longest running parade that features the big guy in the red suit says the event is magical every year.

Peter Beresford, who saw his first parade when he was eight years old, says it never gets old.

"Well, you know, it doesn't," he told CBC Radio's Here and Now on Friday.

"It's the smiling faces on the children sitting at the side of the sidewalk, watching in awe the magic of the Santa Claus Parade. It doesn't get old." 
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, with his nose so bright, is there. (TPSMotorSquad/Twitter)

"For me, the fun is watching even grandparents and their children and their grandchildren, all standing three generations. They keep coming back because of the magic of Santa."

Thousands of people watched The Original Santa Claus Parade in Toronto on Sunday as it made its way along the 6.5 kilometre route downtown.

It got underway at 12:30 p.m. as Mayor John Tory and the crowd at the start shouted "Ho Ho Ho!"

At 1:25 p.m., Toronto police received a call about a "suspicious package" at the intersection of Queen Street West and University Avenue and officers stopped the parade briefly.

But the event resumed after a couple of minutes, said Const. Craig Brister, a spokesperson for Toronto Police Service.

"It was an abandoned bag," he said. "There were some clothes in it. We stopped the parade as a precaution."

Santa was determined to be safe.

Here comes Santa Claus on a 12 metre long float. (Muriel Draaisma/CBC)

The parade featured 28 floats, including the ones carrying Santa and Mrs. Claus, and there were 21 marching bands.

This year, Santa's float was about 12 metres, or 42 feet long, Beresford said.

"It is the most impressive float that we have ever built in my 35 years. And what a perfect way for the star to arrive," he said. 

One float celebrated Canada's upcoming appearance in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. 

"The magic of the parade brings out the child in all of us," Beresford said.

"Every place is a front row seat. And the important thing for everybody to remember is, the tickets to the show are free." 
The parade kicked off at 12:30 p.m. at Bloor and Christie Streets. (Yanjun Li/CBC )

Beresford said, in the first parade he saw as a child, the upside down clowns were the main attraction for him.

"I was absolutely in awe," he said. 

The parade started at Bloor and Christie Streets. It travelled along Bloor Street to University Avenue. From there, it went south on University Avenue to Wellington Street, then travelled east on Wellington.

Then, the parade headed south on Yonge Street before it headed east on Front Street. It ended at the intersection of Front and Jarvis Streets at the St. Lawrence Market. 

This year marked the 113th year for the annual holiday parade. 

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