Episode 19 – Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

December 5, 2018


About the Episode

The holiday season is finally upon us. It’s the time of year for family, friends, food, presents…and the Santa Claus Parade!

Do you know what role Canada played in the development of the traditional Santa Claus Parade?  Year in and year out, we take joy in traditions with perhaps little thought into how they developed or what influenced their creation.

Did you look forward to the Santa Clause Parade every year? Then you’ll enjoy this holiday-themed episode; the first of a series to be released during the month of December.


Our traditions started somewhere.  So, join us as we notice the history of the Santa Claus Parade.


  1. The Archives of Ontario has video footage of the 1953 Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade that you can view here.
  2. How did Robin and Keely come to imagine a mohawked Santa driving a monster truck over candy cane cars?  If there are any artists among our listeners, that is a present we would love to get in our inbox!
  3. To see video of the first Indigenous-designed float in the Winnipeg Santa Clause Parade, click here.
  4. See and learn more about the giant Santa statue of Watson, Saskatchewan here.
  5. Interested in seeing the Truck Light Convoy next year? Keep up to date with the schedule.

Fun Fact

Though Haddon Sundblom’s art of Santa for Coco Cola is iconic, it was actually his predecessor Fred Mizen who first drew Santa for a Coco Cola advertisement. This advert showed a mall Santa in the middle of a crowd drinking the red-themed soda.


Bradburn, Jamie. “Saving the Santa clause Parade: How the seasonal tradition was reborn after Eaton’s cancelled it in 1982.” Torontoist, Toronto, November 16, 2012. Accessed October 21, 2018. https://torontoist.com/2012/11/saving-the-santa-claus-parade/.

“First Indigenous Float Featured in Winnipeg’s Santa Claus Parade.” Toronto: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2016. http://proxy.library.carleton.ca/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy.library.carleton.ca/docview/1846445399?accountid=9894.

Gittleson, Kim. “Ten things you didn’t know about Black Friday.” BBC News. 29 October 2013. Accessed October 23, 2018. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-25110953

“The Legend of Coca Cola and Santa Claus.” Coca Cola. January 1, 2012. Accessed October 23, 2018. https://www.coca-colacompany.com/stories/coke-lore-santa-claus

“The History.” The Original Santa Claus Parade. Accessed October 21, 2018. https://thesantaclausparade.com/about/#history

“IEOA Truck Light Convoy.” Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. Accessed October 24, 2018.https://www.gvha.ca/events/events-calendar/truck-light-convoy

“Island Farms Santa’s Light Parade.” Greater Victoria Festival Society. Accessed October 24, 2018. http://gvfs.ca/gvfs_events/37th-island-farms-santas-light-parade/

Kageleiry, Jamie. “Who Was the First Department Store Santa Claus?” New England Today. December 15, 2017. Accessed October 23, 2018. https://newengland.com/today/living/new-england-history/first-department-store-santa-claus/

Luciano, Phil. “Saint Nick has been parading in Peoria for over a century.” Journal Star, Pretoria, Illinois, (November 14, 2014). Accessed October 21, 2018. https://www.pjstar.com/article/20141126/ENTERTAINMENT/141129305/1994/NEWS

“Parade History.” Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade. Accessed October 24, 2018. https://winnipegsantaparade.com/about/

Penfold, Steve. A Mile of Make-Believe: A History of the Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 2016.

Penfold, Steven. “The Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade and the Making of a Metropolitan Spectacle, 1905–1982.” Histoire sociale/Social History 44, no. 1 (2011): 1-28.

“Santa Claus.” HISTORY. February 16, 2010. Accessed October 23, 2018. https://www.history.com/topics/christmas/santa-claus

“Santa’s Winnipeg Parade Going Ahead Thanks to GoFundMe Campaign.” Toronto: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2018. http://proxy.library.carleton.ca/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.proxy.library.carleton.ca/docview/2116350985?accountid=9894.

Taylor, Heather. “Meet Haddon Sunbloom, Creator of Coca Cola’s Santa Claus.” Huffington Post. December 19, 2017. Accessed October 23, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/meet-haddon-sundblom-creator-of-coca-colas-santa_us_5a3935a2e4b0578d1beb7326



Hosts: Robin Mullins, Nick Bridges, Keely McCavitt

Researchers: Alice Glaze, Nick Johnston, Dahay Daniel, Beth Sollis

Audio Editing: Jessica Di Laurenzio

Web Content: Casandra Masse

Image Credit: Christmas Santa Claus Parade. Archives of Ontario, Toronto. T. Eaton Co. fonds, F 229-308.