It’s that time of year, the jingle bells are jingling and the carollers are warming up their voices. Even though there may already be ads for Boxing Day sales in the media, the Christmas season in Toronto doesn’t really start until Santa makes his annual journey through the downtown core. Principals Mary and Jack, IT/Project Management & Graphic Design respectively, volunteered as Parade Marshals for the 114th edition of this annual street party. This year the parade was made up of 32 floats, an all time high, 21 Marching bands, including Mary’s alma mater Malvern Collegiate, thousands of marchers and float riding volunteers of all ages and over 3 thousand volunteers!
Jack has been volunteering in this annual tradition for 15 years and Mary joined to make it a family affair 9 years ago. So what does a marshal do you ask? Our priority is the safety of the children both on the floats and marching in our section as well as ensuring that each section of the parade is evenly spaced and looks great. Marshals also have the honour of collecting some letters to Santa that may have been missed by the postal workers at the start of the parade. This year we were thrilled to look after Sun Life’s Dunk for Diabetes float!
“It is something I look forward to every year.” says Jack, “Everyone, from 5 months to 95 years have lined the parade route with a smile on their face.” Jack explains that although its mostly a joyous event, there is one place along the route that makes him emotional. “The hardest part of the route for me is when we go by SickKids. I always make sure I remind marchers to not only wave to the countless patients outside watching the parade but also to wave up at those kids that can’t be outside.”
“It certainly gets us in the Christmas mood seeing all the smiling faces along the route…” says Mary “…and of course seeing both Santa and Mrs. Claus!”
Learn more about the parade here.