Toronto Santa Claus Parade 2019

by Maria on November 27th, 2019

The days leading up to this parade were brutally cold, down into single digits. The weather forecast offered some hope, promising temperatures around the freezing mark. A couple of degrees would make a big difference as to how comfortable we would be and how well our instruments would work.

Additionally, due to construction on Bloor Street, the parade was not lining up in an area with which we were familiar. Some people were concerned about the basics, like finding a place to eat lunch and finding bathrooms.

Apparently not everyone was worried. Kelly took this picture of Irene carrying supplies to the bus. She looks pretty happy! Notice the snow cover in the background.

For the past several years, Bob has been our bus driver. We request him because he takes really good care of us. Sometimes, his wife, Donna, also comes along. She always brings breakfast pizza to start off our day.

Since Donna and Bob don't march with us, they are able to take pictures of us before the parade while we are getting organized and at the end of the parade.

The bus has to stop for the railroad tracks on North Street, and Arnie lives close by. It has become an annual tradition for Arnie to stand in front of his house and play his trumpet as we drive by. Is he barefoot in the snow?

Some of us walked over to Eaton Centre. The Hudson Bay Company attracts large crowds with its decorated windows. This year, the theme was very futuristic, featuring robots and automated toy factory assembly lines. Jodi took this picture of Don S. spreading his arms to match the wings of a snow angel.

Craig and Monica stopped by our hospitality suite. Craig is the Band Director for The Santa Claus Parade. Some of our female band members were painting their fingernails, and Craig just had to join in. Jodi took this picture of Monica painting Craig's pinky nails.

What a good looking group! As you can see, the sky was clear and the sunlight was strong. The latter caused dark shadows in some of our photos. As I mentioned earlier, we couldn't line up in our usual spot on Bloor Street West. Instead, we lined up on Bloor Street East - on a bridge! The horizontal shadow in the photo above is from one of the bridge trusses. We were very lucky to have good weather. There was no shelter on the bridge. It would have been miserable if the weather had been blustery.

There were two first timers: Dennis and Megan. Dennis carried one end of the banner and Megan played alto sax.

Gemma came back! Gemma is Canadian and a trumpet major at Humber College in Toronto. She played with us for the first time last year, and we were happy to have her back again this year.

Russ played baritone with us for the third time. He is one of Josh's colleagues from Prime Time Brass. They did three parades in Canada on Saturday. Then Josh and Russ stayed over night and joined us to march on Sunday.

Irene is still smiling! She made matching quilted Christmas scarves for herself and her daughter, Kim. Irene plays piccolo and Kim plays clarinet. Her other daughter, Karen, couldn't make the trip this year. Maybe next year, Karen!

Cindy, Jack and Matt H. also couldn't make it this year. A few weeks before the parade, Cindy injured her foot and just couldn't take on a four mile parade. Jack was out of state on a family vacation. Matt H. was out of state setting up a new plant for work.

There are three of us who have marched in all 28 parades: Scott M., Maria and Josh. Some years, Scott has played trombone, some years he has played snare drum. Most years Maria has played tenor sax, but she has also played alto sax and cymbals. Josh has always played bass, either sousaphone or contrabass bugle. The first time he went to Toronto, he was only 16 years old!
Some people went all out on the Christmas accessories. Here Theresa, Mike and Karen model their Christmas design sunglasses. Unfortunately, the glitter made the nose-piece feel scratchy, like sandpaper, so they couldn't wear the glasses for very long. Mike is very proud of his Buddy the Elf costume. He danced and zig-zagged the street so much that we joked that he probably did eight miles instead of four. He is used to walking long distances because he is a letter carrier for the US Postal Service.

Tara and her husband, Bob K., show off their Christmas accessories in this photo. Bob, wearing an elf hat, carried one end of the banner in the parade. Tara, wearing a Christmas tree hat and matching green booties, played piccolo.

The photo below is a close-up of Tara playing her piccolo. Notice the mustache. It actually clips on to the piccolo!

For color guard, we had Bob K. and Dennis carrying the banner; Mike H. as Buddy the Elf.

For woodwinds, we had Irene and Tara on flute/piccolo; Mel, Kim, Kelly, Karen R. and Jodi on clarinet; Margaret, Steve and Megan on alto sax; Maria on tenor sax.

For brass, we had Doug, Tom J., Bob and Gemma on trumpet; Scott M. and Zachary on trombone; Russ on baritone; Josh and Matt on sousaphone.

For percussion, we had Theresa on bells; Don S. and Scott W. on snare drum; Andy and Jon on bass drum; Kristen and Stephanie on cymbals.

During the parade, Jodi took this great photo of Steph, Jen and Matt S.  Steph used to play snare drum with us. Then she moved away, and now she's back. Unfortunately, she isn't able to march four miles, so her daughter, Jen, came along to push her mother in a wheelchair. The snare drum didn't fit in Steph's lap, so she switched to cymbals. At one point, the wheelchair got caught in a rut, and Steph almost tumbled out, but Jen quickly got them back on track.

Looking on from the back row is Matt S. playing sousaphone. While Matt was waiting in the hotel lobby, a well-dressed gentleman approached him and wanted to know if he was holding a mouthpiece for a bong. After all, marijuana is legal in Canada. Matt was holding a mouthpiece, but it was the mouthpiece and lead pipe to his sousaphone.

Four miles later, we crossed the "finish line." It was still sunny, but we were in the shadow of a building. The woman wearing jeans in the center is Craig's sister, Pam. She works as one his assistants on parade day.

We always make a circle at the end of the parade and play one last song: Rockin' on Top of the World from The Polar Express. It's one of our favorite songs, but it's too fast for marching. It's quite an accomplishment to play this last song at the end of such a strenuous parade, and we take great pride in having the strength to play one more!
Our last event for 2019 is the Hometown Holidays Weekend in Caledonia & Mumford. On December 7, we'll march in the parade and, if the weather is cooperative, we'll play a few songs in front of the fire hall. See you there!

Posted in not categorized    Tagged with Toronto, Santa Claus Parade, Irene, Tara, Mel, Kelly, Karen R., Jodi, Kim, Margaret, Steve, Maria, Doug, Tom J., Bob, Scott M., Zach, Josh, Theresa, Don S., Scott W., Andy, Jon, Kristen, Steph, Dennis, Bob K., Mike H.



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