Sunday’s sunshine brought with it milder temperatures, a nice fit for the “Tropical Christmas” theme for North Bay’s annual Santa Claus Parade.
Four generations of Dennis Kelly’s family gathered on Chippewa Street, continuing a long-standing family tradition.
“I think it is great that North Bay puts this on. It is great to see everybody out here. The kids love it, and today it is not minus 30 so it is a little better than it was a couple of years ago,” laughed Kelly.
“We came when I was young, which was a long time ago. I remember the candy, absolutely the candy was my favourite. And of course, Santa.”
Nine-year-old Sydney Caverly who attended the parade with her family, also has a sweet tooth.
“I like getting candy and seeing Santa. It is fun.”
Cher Hill-White and her six-year-old granddaughter Ayla made the drive from Corbeil to enjoy the parade.
“We love coming every year. It is a lot of fun. We really enjoy it,” said Hill-White.
Peering down the road, young Ayla was focused on trying to get a glimpse of the man of the hour.
“Santa Claus,” she grinned.
A total of 38 floats embraced the theme with an assortment of tiki huts, grass skirts, and tropical beach floats.
“We have more floats than we had last year which is really nice,” said Erin Vaughan Community Event Facilitator for the City of North Bay.
“We have never done this theme before so we were really looking forward to seeing what ideas people would come up with. Each individual float can choose to put music on it.”
Many youngsters were tightly clutching their letters addressed to Santa to make sure they got into the right hands.
Canada Post carriers happily collected the letters containing the children’s Christmas wishes to be delivered directly to Santa.
Leading the parade was the North Bay Food Bank which was busy collecting non-perishable food items from the crowd.
The parade helps kick off the season of giving for the food bank.
“There is such a generous amount of food that comes in from the parade. People get into that giving mode and they are feeling the spirit of the season,” said food bank general manager Amber Livingstone.
“We sort through all the donations to make sure everything is good to go. We put it on our shelves, and it gets added into our stock.”
This year’s route started on Chippewa Street, before moving along Ferguson Street to Main Street.
Depending on the weather, it is estimated that an average of five to 10 thousand people line the streets making holiday memories.