By ALAN SHACKLETON
The 14th annual Beaches Santa Claus Parade will take place on the afternoon of Sunday, Nov. 24 along Kingston Road.
The parade is presented by Community Centre 55 and the businesses of Kingston Road Village, and serves as the kick-off to the Christmas season in the East Toronto area.
The theme of this year’s parade is Santa’s Little Helpers, and youngsters are encouraged to attend the parade wearing their Christmas morning pyjamas and elf hats if they have them.
Youngsters attending the parade are also reminded to bring their letters to Santa as volunteers will be collecting them along the route.The parade starts at 1 p.m. at Kingston Road and Victoria Park Avenue.
From there, the parade heads west along Kingston Road to Walter Street where it turns north up to Lyall Avenue and briefly jogs west and then north on Kimberley Avenue before dispersing at Swanwick Avenue behind Community Centre 55.
The parade is expected to end at approximately 3 p.m. at Community Centre 55, 97 Main St. Following the parade, there will be barbecue, children’s crafts and photos with Santa at Community Centre 55.
“It helps get people thinking about Christmas and is the kick-off to our Share a Christmas campaign,” said Jade Maitland, Special Events and Volunteer Coordinator at Community Centre 55, of the parade.
Community Centre 55’s Share a Christmas has been helping out families in need in the East Toronto area for the past 37 years with donations of food, toys for kids and other items.
This year, Share a Christmas will be making the holiday season brighter for more than 1,000 local families. The campaign requires massive community support in the form of both donations and volunteer work, said Maitland.
And the parade play’s a key role in bringing Share a Christmas to the forefront of local residents’ minds.
Along the route, volunteers will also be collecting donations of toonies for Share a Christmas.
While final numbers are yet to be determined, there are expected to about 50 groups taking part in this year’s parade. Participants include local businesses, police, sports teams, clubs, community organizations, musical bands and more. Be sure to look for the Beach Metro Community News team as they march in the parade.
Marching bands slated to take part include Malvern Collegiate’s, The Signals Band from Toronto and the Ryan Reynolds Memorial Pipe Band.
As the parade marks the start of the holiday season locally, Community Centre 55 also has a number of other upcoming events this month and next.
They include the Pancake Breakfast with Hamper the Reindeer for the kids on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Reservations are not required for Breakfast with Hamper, which features pancakes and crafts, but a $3 donation is suggested.
Also, the Centre 55 Tanenbaum 10K run is planned for Dec.1 in the Beach.
The run raises funds for Share a Christmas and begins and ends at the pavilion at the foot of Lee Avenue.
To register for the run, which starts at 9:20 a.m. with a 1K for kids and 10 a.m. for the 10K, please visit www.tannenbaum10K.com
For more information on this year’s parade, how you can help out with Share a Christmas, or the Breakfast With Santa, please call Community Centre 55 at 416-691-1113 or visit www.centre55.com