Santa is coming to Winnipeg early this year - Photo by Valery Dyck

Photo by Valery Dyck

By: Only in the Peg November 10, 2017 //

For over a century now – 108 years in fact! – Winnipeg has been starting the holiday season early as Santa makes his procession through town. 

On November 18, starting at 5 p.m., join up to 60,000 Winnipeggers who will be bundled up alongside Portage avenue for the 2017 Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade. 

They’ll be there to witness over 70 jazzy floats that celebrate the holiday season, including one featuring the big guy himself (that being Father Christmas, for all you Brits reading this), who will be calling out “hellos” to many little kids in the crowd. (Note: should your kid hear his or her name being called from Santa from a float, the excitement levels at your house or hotel room afterward will be turned up to 11). 

Of those 70+ floats you’ll see some real stars – including The Winnipeg Blue Bombers and members of the Winnipeg Jets organization – along with some massive light displays that just may knock your wool socks right off (so tie those boats tight). Plus, some floats are akin to having Halloween coming right to your doorstep, as float riders often throw candies out to the crowds. 

Manitoba Hydro’s near mythical lineup of floats will include a Cinderella-themed one, along with an Electrosaurus one that sure will be Dino-mite; there will be a float by Ai-Kon, Manitoba’s largest anime conference; six floats from the City of Winnipeg; and countless others, all of whom will be competing for one of three awards as part of this year’s “Magic of the Season” theme. 

Top prize is the WOW Award for, “most-outstanding and magical entry”; second is the 3 “I’s Award, “presented to the most innovative, interesting and inspirational entry”; and third is the “AHH…” Award, for the float whose “lights, colour, and sounds all come together to create the best ooh and ahh. These will be bestowed by local celebrity judges Steve Adams of Energy 106, Brittany Greenslade of Global News, and Doug Speirs from the Winnipeg Free Press. 

And it’s not just the floats that will get the crowd’s mojo working!

At 4 p.m., before the Parade starts, there’s many a block party to be had on Portage Avenue, all with different themes from some great Winnipeg organizations.  

If you want to try to shine at shinny check out the JCI Winnipeg Street Hockey party, located between Spence and Balmoral (kid’s sticks are provided, but feel free to bring your own); if you want to cut the concrete while learning some suave new moves, check out the Salsa Explosion Dance Company’s block party between Memorial and Vaughn, or join the Energy 106 + Hot 100.5 + CKJS 810 dance party (featuring free pizza!) right at Portage and Main. There are also block parties by Canad Inns, Manitoba Hydro, Great-West Life, Children’s Advocate, and Sport Manitoba – which is guaranteed to give your little ones a workout. 

For more info check out the official Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade website.
And remember, Portage Avenue will be closed starting at 2 p.m., so plan your route to get downtown accordingly using their map.