It all started early in 1991, when the Lakeshore Village (New Toronto) BIA came to Long Branch BIA with the idea of starting a Christmas parade on the Lakeshore again after a 25 year hiatus. It was felt that this would be a way to bring a large number of people to the Lakeshore to let them know that it was alive and well and would hopefully attract them to the area. A steering committee was formed and seed money was provided by both BIA’s. The first parade was launched on December 5, 1991 after its 25 year hiatus.
For the first two years, our floats consisted of borrowed 48 foot flat beds that were dropped off a few days prior to the parade. Committee members and community volunteers would work almost round the clock to decorate them. On parade morning, community volunteers and residents who drove tractor-trailer and truck cab would hook onto the trailer and assemble at our parade marshalling area on Birmingham Street. Over the years the parade added its owned floats to the lineup with money and donations and from the 2 BIA’s as well as from the local community business.
Like in the past, the parade and committee is entirely run with all community volunteers, 100% sponsored by local businesses and organizations and is a not-for profit organization. We rely on the helpful sponsorship support and donations from many community business and organizations and our local BIA’s. We currently have a total of 15 floats, 4 of them are self-propelled and hundreds of costumes, many that co-ordinate with each float theme.
In 1995, Arnold Hughes, a band leader and designer with the Toronto Carabana brought a third dimension to our floats and our characters with his larger than life characters that he and the committee designed and created with wire frame and covered with costume fur.
The following year, in 1996 the Council for the City of Etobicoke endorsed the parade as the official Christmas parade of Etobicoke which resulted in the parade experiencing a tremendous year of growth (with the subsequent of the amalgamation of the City of Toronto, we also became the official Christmas parade of the City of Toronto). That year in 1996, we saw many of our floats receive motorized articulation and some even becoming self propelled. Our forty foot float was rebuilt as “Santa home in the North Pole” by the committee and a group of volunteers from the community. In 1998, the parade committee acquired a thirty foot self-propelled float that had been previously used as the main Grey Cup float. The float ran with a Volkswagon car engine and was rebuilt as our “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” float complete with our very own mouse choir of 8 wire framed 4ft mice. READ MORE