Sadly, Edmonton’s indoor Santa parade has been cancelled this year. But, there is talk of moving it outdoors next year. I hope it does, it would be a great example of Edmontonians embracing the philosophy of the Winter City Strategy and having some winter fun!
Outdoor winter parades were once common in Edmonton – we have plenty of evidence at the City of Edmonton Archives. All you need to do is make sure you dress well and bring a blanket or two, as demonstrated below by the kids enjoying a Santa parade in 1949.
The Archives has many parade applications like this one from Eaton’s.
I’m always interested in what can be learned from these documents. From names and signatures to details like the parade route (which seems a bit convoluted) and how many floats and people were in the parade. You can also see what issues the City’s administration cared about. The second last paragraph states that the applicant must ensure that “no articles bearing offensive or disloyal inscriptions are used.” I wonder what constituted disloyalty?
At any rate, I doubt there was any danger of expressions of disloyalty in the Santa Parade. It looked like a lot of fun in the image above, taken on the south side of Jasper Avenue just east of 100th Street. Today the World Trade Centre Edmonton building has replaced the building with the pillars on the right side of the picture. The other pillared building in the background still stands; it used to be Hops Handbags (the bottom half of the pillars were removed though).
The Archives online catalogue is full of images of Santa, my favorites feature skeptical children. We also have some great images from creative holiday promotions by the Hudson’s Bay Company. For example, they celebrated the modern age of aviation by bringing Santa to Edmonton first by plane and then by helicopter. Of course, he then went to their toy department where he gave out gifts and took special requests from Edmonton children.
Do you have any memories of Santa parades, especially outdoor ones? Would you go if they hold one next year? Please share your thoughts in the comments!