Christmas in the Capital, 2008 edition

by DaniGirl on November 1, 2008 · 13 comments

in Happy holidays, Life in Ottawa

Edited to add: Click this link for the 2018 Santa Claus and holiday parade info!

With Halloween barely put to bed (with a sore belly from all that candy, no doubt) we’ve nary the time for a breath of air before the season of Santa Claus parades is upon us. This is the third year I’ve scoured the internet and a handful of community papers to bring you details of the Santa (or, if you prefer, “Holiday”) parades in the neighbourhood. Can you believe this is one of my most-trafficked posts of the year? Turns out a lot of people love parades as much as I do!

Without further ado, and in chronological order, here’s the local 2008 parade information:

Kanata Santa Claus Parade
Saturday November 8, 2008, starting at 10 am. Parade runs from Castlefrank to Abbeyhill Drive to Hazeldean Mall.

Gananoque Santa Claus Parade
Sunday November 16, 2008. Join us at 2:00 to welcome Santa to town to kick of the festive holiday season.

Barrhaven Lions 12th Annual Santa Parade
Sunday November 16, 2008, starting at 5:30 pm. Follows Strandherd Drive from Beatrice to Greenbank. Note the new Sunday date this year!

39th Annual Ottawa Help Santa Toy Parade
Saturday November 22, 2008, starting at 11 am. The parade will start at 11 a.m. at Elgin and Laurier (City Hall), head West on Laurier Street, turn South on Bank Street, and finish at Landsdowne Park. Please note that the parade will only accept donations of new, and not used, toys. See their website for more details.

Smiths Falls Santa Claus Parade
Sunday November 23, 2008, 1 pm. Location: Downtown Smiths Falls.

Gatineau Santa Claus Parade
Friday November 28, 2008, starting at 7 pm. “There will be fun and games for you and your friends starting at 6:30 pm” at the marina on Rue Principal in Aylmer.

Brockville Santa Claus Parade
Saturday November 29, 2008, starting at 2 pm. “The Magic of Christmas.” See their website for parade route and details.

Carleton Place Santa Claus Parade
Saturday November 29, 2008, starting at 5 pm. The theme for 2008 will be “A Toy Box Christmas”. The parade will travel from Townline Road down Bridge Street. It will then travel down Lansdowne Avenue and end at Coleman Street.

Santa’s Parade of Lights, Orleans
Saturday November 29, 2008, starting at 6 pm. Once again the Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association will be hosting Santa’s Parade of Lights on St-Joseph Blvd. in Orleans.

Stittsville Parade of Lights
Saturday November 29, 2008, starting at 7:30 pm. Edited to add: The Stittsville Village Association will again organize the annual Parade of Lights on Stittsville Main Street. The Parade starts at the School Board grounds and ends at Carleton Cathcart Street. When Santa arrives at the Village Square the lights on the trees will be turned on for the duration of the festive season. Hot beverages will be served and everybody is invited to join in singing festive songs. (Thanks to Kristi for the additional info!)

Richmond Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 6, 2008 starting at 11 am. Starts at South Carleton High School (3673 McBean Street) and travels to the Richmond Plaza.

Pakenham Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, December 6, 2008 starting at 1 pm. Parade begins and concludes at the Stewart Community Centre, Pakenham. The parade theme this year is Ole Tyme Christmas. Santa and Mrs. Claus will make their way to the Upper Hall of the community centre following the parade where they will be available to meet with children of all ages. Complimentary hot chocolate and hot dogs will be served. There is also free public skating from 2 to 3 pm following the parade.

Perth Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, December 6, 2008, starting at 6 pm. The Annual Perth & District Santa Claus Parade of Lights starts from Sunset Blvd. Please Note: Parade route only goes to Cockburn Street.

Almonte Santa Claus Parade
Sunday, December 7, 2008, starting at 1:30 pm. The parade begins at the Almonte Community Centre Parking Lot. Santa and Mrs. Claus will make their way to the Upper Hall of the community centre following the parade where they will be available to meet the children. Hot chocolate and hot dogs will be served compliments of the Almonte Lions Club. There will also be free public skating from 2 to 4 pm.

In addition to the parades, here are some other ideas for Christmas fun in the national capital region:

Upper Canada Village – Alight at Night
Thursday, November 27, 2008 to Sunday, January 4, 2009
4:30 – 8:00 pm Monday to Thursday until December 18
4:30 – 9:00 pm Friday to Sunday until December 14
4:30 – 9:00 pm Nightly from December 19 to January 4
Bundle up for an evening stroll around the this gorgeous 1860s-era village, and see heritage buildings all magically lit, with over 200,000 lights – a true winter wonderland! For an additional fee, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, skate outdoors under the stars or ride on an illuminated toy train!

Christmas Lights Across Canada
December 4, 2008 to January 9, 2009
Launched in 1985 by the National Capital Commission (NCC), Christmas Lights Across Canada is one of a host of unique programs which was created to liven up the winter months. Canada’s Capital will come alive as more than 300,000 dazzling Christmas lights illuminate the heart of Ottawa-Gatineau.

Canadian Pacific Rail Holiday Train
The Canadian Holiday Train will embark on its two-week journey on Saturday, November 29 from Montreal, Quebec, finishing up in Port Moody, B.C., on Friday, December 19. Local stops include Smiths Falls on November 30, and Perth, Belleville and Trenton on December 1. Check out their website for schedule details!

Don’t forget, you can write to His Jollyness and get a reply, too! Send snail-mail to before December 18 to:

Santa Claus
North Pole
H0H 0H0

Or you can send an e-mail through

Got any other tips or ideas to share? Leave a comment or e-mail me at danicanada (at) gmail (dot) com and I’d be happy to add them to this post.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lindsay November 1, 2008 at 9:00 am

Thanks for this! I love this season!

Just to clarify, it looks like the Annual Ottawa Help Santa Toy Parade will still be picking up NEW toys along the route, just not used toys.

2 Shauna / skygirl November 1, 2008 at 10:49 am

I’m hoping to hit the Light Up the Night in Almonte this year. It’s supposed to be fantastic!

3 DaniGirl November 1, 2008 at 10:54 am

Thanks Lindsay, I’ve edited the entry for clarity!

Thanks for the Almonte info, Shauna!

4 Theresa November 1, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Wow! I can NOT believe the Christmas stuff starts next weekend!?!

5 Annika November 1, 2008 at 8:18 pm

You rock. Thanks Dani…I was just expecting B-haven to be Saturday as usual, thanks for letting me know!

6 suzanne November 2, 2008 at 8:54 am

Great list! Does anyone know where the ‘best’ Santa is located for annual Xmas photos?

7 Linda November 3, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Thanks for the great list! Another Christmas thing we enjoy is the CMHC gingerbread house competition.

8 Kristi November 10, 2008 at 10:28 am

Here’s some more info on the Stittsville Parade.

9 DaniGirl November 10, 2008 at 11:44 am

Thanks Kristi! Stittsville info has been updated!

10 KL November 18, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Does anyone know what time the Ottawa Help Santa Toy Parade usually reaches Landsdowne Park or ends? I’m trying to plan my day and wonder if I can let the baby nap and still catch the Santa float. I am within walking distance this year. Thanks.

11 T Kerkhoven December 19, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Do you know if there is a list or website that tells you great neighbourhoods for christmas lights?

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