The 109th annual Toronto Santa Claus parade, whether Rob Ford attends or not, will wind its way from Christie Pits to St. Lawrence Market via University Avenue later today, roughly matching the route St. Nick took in the 1920s and 30s during a series of T. Eaton Co. sponsored events.
Back then, the parade floats were of fairy tale characters and
traditional Christmas scenes. The Mother Goose float - the biggest of
all when it first appeared in 1917 - often took pride of place (behind
Santa, of course) and was sometimes ridden by a band of musicians or
Giant toy soldiers and a group of slightly demented looking dolls were also part of the event in 1926.
The parade always ended at Eaton's, then a sprawling department store
and factory where the Eaton Centre is today. Each November the company
would build "Toyland," a festive paradise packed with toys, where Santa
would greet city kids and hand out gifts.
1936, the year some of these photos are taken, kids were tantalized in
the Eaton's catalogue by a Buck Rogers rocket ship with genuine shooting
sparks, a Buttercup Doll with real moving eyes, an electric train set,
and a chemistry set stuffed with litmus paper, magnesium, and test
What a time to be young.
Wooden soldiers snake round a bend in a road just behind Osgoode Hall, west of current City Hall.
Giant wooden dolls are guided on a leash in 1926.
Noah, his ark, and menagerie pass in 1926.
Santa, flanked by toy soldiers, greets the crowd from a balcony at Eaton's in 1925.
Santa Claus comes down University Avenue in 1934.
The same Santa float on November 20, 1926.
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