Argyle Santa Claus Parade promises Santa AND sweets

It’s east London’s turn to welcome Santa to the city.

The Argyle BIA’s annual Santa Claus Parade along Dundas Street is set for 11 a.m. on Saturday. This year’s theme is “candy-coated holiday magic”.

“We have about 78 individuals entries. I believe we have 28 floats and then quite a few costumed walkers,” said Leah Thomas, parade organizer and Argyle BIA creative director. “There are a lot of really fun additions this year with Grosvenor’s Haunted Lodge with Lady Krampus, Mrs. Grinch, and Jackie Frost walking in the parade. We’ve got a demolition derby vehicle that looks like it is ramming through a Christmas tree…. There are more entries this year than last and they are a little more off the wall.”

The parade will begin at Parsons Street and head west down Dundas until it reaches Hale Street. The area will be closed to traffic around 10 a.m. People planning to line the parade route are encouraged to arrive early and bring a non-perishable food or toy donation.

The East London Soccer Club is hoping to collect 1,000 lbs of food along the route for the London Food Bank, while TLC Landscaping employees will be collecting the gently used toys to donate to local children in need.

“The volunteers will be right at the start of the parade,” said Thomas. “You’ll have your donation taken off your hands quickly and then quickly replaced with lots of candy that is being handed out this year.”

Free hot chocolate stands are also being set up outside five businesses along the parade route.

For a second straight year, two designated accessibility spaces will be in place for those with mobility and sensory issues.

“When the parade starts off down Parsons Street, which is the entryway to Home Depot, that will be a quiet section for people with sensory issues who still want to come out and have a good time but with their surroundings a little less overwhelming,” said Thomas. “Further down the parade route, we have a low mobility section, which we have partnered with Participation House to have paratransit for them to bring them to and from the parade. We are really happy to provide that for them and make the parade more accessible to everyone.”

More information, including details of a post-parade social media contest can be found at www.argylebia.com.