Edited to add: Click this link for the 2018 Santa Claus and holiday parade info!
Welcome to one of my favourite holiday traditions, the 8th (!!) annual round-up of Christmas, Holiday and Santa Claus parades for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario! Wheeee!
It’s another busy year for holiday parades – apparently it’s not just on Christmas Eve that Santa needs his magical reindeer power to zip his way around to meet all the excited girls and boys! The parades seem to have inched back a week closer to Christmas, but the only significant jump in date is the Barrhaven parade. Here’s the 2013 Santa Claus parade line-up, in chronological order:
Kanata Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, November 16, starting at 10:00 am. The parade will proceed onto Castlefrank Road, turning onto Abbeyhill Drive and on to Hazeldean Mall.
Kemptville Kinsmen Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, November 16 (rain date Saturday November 23), starting at 1:00 pm. Parade departs from Holy Cross school parking lot, east on Clothier Street, right on Prescott Street and right onto Concession Rd. Visit Santa’s North Pole in the Holy Cross church and school parking lot from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm after the parade.
Cornwall Santa Claus Parade
Saturday November 16, starting at 5:00 pm from St. Lawrence Intermediate School 1450, Second Street East. It will then proceed west to the Canadian Legion Branch 297. The theme for this 42nd annual parade is Family and Friends at Christmas.
Ottawa Help Santa Toy Parade
Saturday, November 23 starting at 11 am. Note! The parade is back to a daytime schedule! The parade starts at the National Archives on Wellington street, heads east on Wellington Street and then turns right on Bank Street. It continues south on Bank Street then turns left on Laurier Avenue. New toys (no used toys, please) and cash donations will be collected by the Ottawa Firefighters.
Smiths Falls Santa Parade
Saturday, November 23 starting at 5:30 pm. Note that the parade is now an evening event! Not much info available – please let me know if you have more details.
Russell Village Christmas Parade
Sunday, November 24, starting at 1 pm.
Clarence-Rockland 2013 – Christmas Parade of Lights
Sunday, November 24, starting at 4:30 pm. Parade runs on Laurier Street.
Gatineau Santa Claus Parade
Friday, November 29, starting at 7:00 pm. A tradition that goes back several years, this light-filled parade that departs from the Aylmer marina and attracts crowds from the entire region.
Brockville Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, November 30, starting at 2:00 pm. Jolly Old St. Nick will be making his annual appearance in downtown Brockville for the 2013 Brockville Rotary Santa Claus Parade. This year’s theme is “Christmas Traditions”. Canada is proud to promote it’s vast cultural diversity and we in Brockville embrace this. Come and share your Christmas Traditions with our community.
Carleton Place Santa Parade
Saturday, November 30 starting at 5:00 pm. Thousands of spectators, over one hundred floats, and one jolly St. Nick will meet downtown Carleton Place for the largest Santa Claus parade in the Ottawa Valley, supporting the Lanark County Food Bank and Christmas Basket Fund. This yearâ€™s theme is â€˜Toys Aliveâ€™.
Pembroke Santa Claus Parade of Lights
Saturday, November 30 starting at 5:30 pm. Parade runs from Moncion’s grocers through historic downtown Pembroke to L’Equinox School. Bring your hand bells to share your appreciation for the floats and non-perishable foot items in support of the Salvation Army food bank.
Orleans Parade of Lights
Saturday, November 30 starting at 6:00 pm. Once again the Ottawa Professional Firefighters Association will be hosting Santa’s Parade of Lights on St-Joseph Blvd. in Orleans. Toy and cash donations will be collected by firefighters along the route.
Saturday, November 30 starting at 6:00 pm. After the Santa Claus Parade all participants and spectators are invited to the Legion. A special visitor may appear so that you may share your special Christmas wishes!
Stittsville Parade of Lights 2013
Saturday, November 30 starting at 6:00 pm. The SVAâ€™s annual Parade of Lights is a community favourite, drawing thousands of spectators along the parade route. Each year, dozens of beautifully decorated community floats set the tone for Santaâ€™s much anticipated arrival at the end of the parade.The parade runs along Stittsville Main from Carp Rd. to Carleton Cathcart. Merry makers are also encouraged to stay for the lighting of Village Square Park, and to share in some hot chocolate.
Gananoque Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, November 30, starting at 5:30 pm. Come and visit Santa and all his reindeer at the annual Santa Claus Parade!
Embrun Village Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, November 30 starting at 6:30 pm.
Casselman Santa Claus Parade
Sunday, December 1, starting at 5:00 pm. The parade is the finale of the annual Christmas Festival that runs from November 29 to December 1.
Barrhaven Lions Club Light Up the Night Santa Claus Parade
Sunday, December 1, starting at 5:30 pm. The parade runs down Strandherd Drive, starting at Beatrice Drive and ending at the park n ride, where it turns north for dispersal. Please remember to bring non perishable food items or cash donations for the needy. We will collect these items along the parade route.
Vankleek Hill Christmas Parade of Light
Friday, December 6 – start time to be confirmed.
Richmond Village Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, December 7, starting at 11:00 am. Parade runs from Perth St, south on McBean St, then left on Burke St. Later that night at 6 pm, enjoy the annual â€œLighting of the Park.â€
Manotick Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 7, starting at 1:00 pm. Parade runs from the Manotick Arena down Manotick Main Street. This is our favourite of the season! 😉
Renfrew Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 7, starting at 1:00 pm.
Constance & Buckhams Bay Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, December 7, starting at 1:00 pm. Floats gather on Baillie Ave and runs along Bayview to Len Purcell then winds up at the community centre for hot dogs, Santa, and hot chocolate. Be sure to check out the Christmas Craft Fair, Silent Auction, Outdoor Hockey Registration, and the return of the Learn to Skate program. Bring your non-perishable food item for the West Carleton Food Bank.
Pakenham Santa Claus Parade
Saturday December 7, starting at 1 pm.
Perth Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, December 7, starting at 5:00 pm. Different themes each year, with a multitude of twinkling lights and Christmas music make this a magical parade not to be missed. Always a special appearance by Mr. Claus himself! A very special way to welcome in the Christmas season in Perth!
Hawkesbury Santa Claus Parade
Saturday December 7, starting at 7:00 pm. Let yourself be carried away by the magic of this beautiful tradition which will unravel on Hawkesbury’s Main Street. (Thanks for the corrected info, Dominique and Mullin family!)
Almonte Santa Claus Parade
Sunday December 8, starting at 5 pm. Also watch for Almonte’s Light Up the Night starting December 6 at 7 pm.
Carp Santa Claus Parade
Saturday, December 14, starting at 12:00 p.m. Details forthcoming!
Eganville Santa Claus Parade
Sunday, December 15, starting at 1:00 pm. The Parade starts from Eganville Distrist Public School and ends at the Eganville Legion. Everyone is invited after the parade to visit Santa and have hot chocolate/coffee and donuts. The theme for this year’s parade is: “Once Upon A Christmas”.
Note: I had to drop a few towns this year as I couldn’t find any information about Metcalfe, Osgoode,
Pakenham and Almonte. If you have any info about these parades, please let me know and I’ll update the listings!
And don’t fret if you can’t make it to the parade – how about one of these other fun family events with a holiday theme in our region?
Christmas Lights Across Canada: December 5, 2013 to January 7, 2014
Each year, the National Capital Commission coordinates the Christmas Lights Across Canada program. The Christmas Lights program was launched in 1985 to brighten the Ottawa winter, and at first the lights were only on Parliament Hill, but over the years the program expanded. Now, Ottawa and Gatineau glow each winter with more than 300,000 Christmas lights at over 60 sites along Confederation Boulevard. The program also includes all 13 provincial and territorial capitals, making it Christmas Lights Across Canada. Here’s my shivery, embarrassingly amateur video of the 2006 lighting ceremony (you can see why I’m a photographer and not a videographer!!)
Upper Canada Village: Alight at Night
Bundle up for an evening stroll through this picture-perfect postcard setting! With close to one million lights adorning the heritage buildings, trees and fences of Upper Canada Village creating a one-of-a-kind magical backdrop for its annual Alight at Night Festivalâ€¦a true winter wonderland! Times and dates vary, so check the link for details, but the lights are up from December 6, 2013 through January 4, 2014. (Closed December 24 & 25)
Manotick’s Olde Fashioned Christmas
Saturday December 7 and Sunday December 8. The Village is transformed into a Village of Yesteryear. There will be a Victorian Tea and Penny Sale, horse-drawn wagon rides, pictures with Santa, face painting, strolling carollers and more.
2013 Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train hits the rails again in November, visiting over 150 communities. Since the program’s inception back in 1999, more than $7.4 million and over 3 million pounds of food has been collected in Canada and the United States. The goal of the Holiday Train is to collect food and money for local food banks and to raise awareness in the fight against hunger. At each event, the Holiday Train provides a box car stage, a line up of great musical talents and a corporate contribution to the local food bank. The community, in turn, is encouraged to donate food and funds, all of which stays in the community. Local stops include Merrickville, Smiths Falls and Perth (with Melanie Doane and Jim Cuddy!) on November 27 and then Trenton, Belleville and Brighton on November 28. Check this link for more details on the schedule.
Alexandria Festival of Lights
November 30 to December 31, 2013 from 5 to 10 pm each night. This is a community event that not only brings forth colorful trees but unique and individual displays from businesses, schools, and local organizations. There is no entrance fee into the festival for either the exhibitors or the public. Events include wagon rides, pictures with Santa and a scavenger hunt, plus fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
Ian’s Christmas Adventure Park
If you’re looking to make a family adventure out of selecting and cutting down the perfect Christmas tree, Ian’s
Evergreen Plantation Christmas Adventure Park has way more than just trees: mazes, a hay barn, wagon rides, Santa’s Workshop, real live reindeer and much more. We got our very first “non-artificial” tree there a few years ago – you can read about it here. They’re open daily starting November 23.
If I’ve missed anything, or if you’d like to share information about your family-friendly Ottawa Christmas or Holiday event, please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at danicanada (at) gmail (dot) com and Iâ€™d be happy to add them to this post!
Edited to add: Saw this great tip on Twitter – when you’re headed out to the parade, take a quick photo of your kids so you have a picture of exactly what they’re wearing if you get separated. Brilliant!
Let the holiday craziness begin!