I’ve attended many Lakeshore Santa Claus parades over the past couple of decades and retain vivid and enjoyable memories from each of them. Every year we learn and experience something new and different.
I’ve reported on the 2012 and 2013 parades in previous posts:
I have a new “Search” function at this website. It’s a delight to use it as a resource to find previous posts quickly.
Click on the photos to enlarge them.
“Santa Stops Here”
In previous years, I approached the handing out of “Santa Stops Here” signs as having the features of a major production. I had to think about how to proceed. This year, I truly did feel like an “old pro” at the task. Handing them out was a breeze; it all went quickly. I especially enjoy the fact that children and their parents are so keen to have a sign, to display for Santa at their window.
The parade is a form of theatre and it’s also a great occasion for children, parents, and the entire community to get together for a festive event where people meet face-to-face in “real time” in a “live” setting. Many key businesses, resources, and services in the community are represented.
What I also remember from this year’s Santa Claus Parade, as from previous ones, is how happy the children – very young ones as well as older ones – are to be witnessing the event. What stays in mind as well is the good cheer among the adolescents and the adults.
Oxygen Bike Co.
When I observed the floats all lined up on Birmingham St. before the event, and when I observed the work that went into getting Lake Shore Blvd. West, from Dwight Ave. in New Toronto to the No Frills in Long Branch, open again for traffic, I also reflected on the tremendous amount of work that goes into the planning and staging of the annual event.
This year, among other displays, I enjoyed the Oxygen Bike Co. float – a crew of cyclists riding exercise bikes on a float. I also enjoyed the float where a burst of smoke would go off to represent a cannon shot from a sailing vessel. There was a vintage fire truck and ambulance as well, that I enjoyed seeing.
It was a two-hour event and the time went quickly. In my case, the time went even more quickly than otherwise because I spent the first part of it walking along handing out signs, and then I walked back, taking photos along the way, toward where I had parked my car, at the Second Street Junior Middle School near the corner of Birmingham and Dwight.
Lakeshore Hospital Grounds
At the 2013 Santa Claus parade, I had a conversation that led me to read about some wiretap evidence that I might not have otherwise learned about. This year, I spoke with a local resident, Terry Smith, who had an interest in details about the buildings at the Lakeshore Hospital Grounds, which are on the parade route along Lake Shore Blvd. West at Islington Ave.
I agreed with him, in our conversation, that the fact that it was the patients who had built the buildings did not mean that they were thereby exploited as a cheap source of labour. That’s because, in those days, such work was sincerely believed by hospital staff and administrators to be therapeutic in nature.
I mentioned that I’ve discussed the Lakeshore Hospital Grounds extensively at my blog, and that the relevant posts can be found by doing a search – using the internal search engine at my site – for “Lakeshore Hospital Grounds.”
Two good resources for further information are Geoffrey Reaume, Associate Professor, Faculty of Health, York University and Steve Bang, who conducts Doors Open tours at the Lakeshore Hospital Grounds. Geoffrey Reaume is author of Remembrance of Patients Past: Patient Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, 1870-1940 (2000).
CP24 Clip of Etobicoke Lakeshore Santa Claus Parade
A CP24 video clip of the event can be accessed here.