The Eaton's Parade had started in 1905 and according to an absolutely fascinating - for me at least - section on the Ontario Archive website several of the early parades took two days to wend their way the 32 mile route from Newmarket to Union Station in Toronto - the route was later restricted to downtown Toronto. In those days the parades consisted of one horse-drawn float, a band and a few marchers. People came out from the farms that lined the mud road to greet Santa and no doubt would be running to their Eaton's Christmas catalogue the minute they got back into the house.
And many years later we would do exactly the same thing - come home from the parade and open the Eaton's Christmas Catalogue. But one item had already been ordered and received that had us all prepared for the Big Parade - the Eaton's Santa Claus Parade Colouring Book. As I understand it the first one was published in 1951 and chances are I had it as a 4 year old, no doubt biting my tongue in earnest concentration as I tried to stay between the lines for the purple cows that were on in the Farmer's dell.
Over the next few days I thought I'd flip through those pages and see how Santa was welcomed to Toronto* back in 1951.
In those days Santa had his little sidekick with the shock of woolly ginger hair - Punkinhead.
Punkinhead was launched by Eaton's in 1948 and was to be their Christmas mascot for the next twelve years. I recall having a Punkinhead doll, a Punkinhead puppet and probably Punkinhead flannel sheets for the winter.
*Eaton's also had similar parades in Montreal and Winnipeg.
15 decembre - Santa Maria Crocifissa di Rosa