Monday, December 06, 2010

Santa Claus Comes to Town - 1952

Last year I thumbed through the first colouring book that the Eaton company put out in 1951 for their annual Santa Claus Parade. The Parade was a big event in Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg. It meant that Christmas had officially begun - I seem to recall it being on the last weekend of November and Christmas decorations didn't appear until then - anywhere. Of course there is a possibility that I may be romanticism everything with the "things were better back then" brush old folks like me tend to paint things with.

And looking at the calender of Saints I noticed today was Saint Nicholas so what could be more appropriate than starting a look through the following year's parade in the Eaton's collection at the wonderful Archives of Ontario.

The 1951 colouring book had been a runaway success for the store but there had been a few complaints that the drawings were too detailed for younger children to colour. The 1952 and subsequent editions had simplified drawings which allowed for bigger swatches of colour but remained faithful to the fantasy of the floats we saw on the parade route.

Looking at that Drummer following the majorette reminded me that the Black Watch Band always officially led the parade off.

The average float was around 40 feet long but no float could be over 15 feet high because of the overhead electrical and streetcar wires. Of course to us kids they were gigantic and the people riding on them - mostly Eaton's employees - were magical and that Princess! Why she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen!

And over the next few days we'll follow the parade as it wends its 10 kilometre route from Christie Pits to Eaton's Flagship store on Queen St.

06 decembre - San Nicola di Bari


Debra She Who Seeks said...

How I miss Eaton's!

Anonymous said...

Love it. This year's Santa Claus parade was a couple of weeks ago in TO. A bit earlier than you remember but not by much.