A ‘kick­off’ to the hol­i­days for fam­i­lies

‘Tis the sea­son as the an­nual Santa Claus pa­rade makes its rounds on the streets of down­town Toronto

Toronto Star - - SPECIAL SECTION: SANTA CLAUS PARADE - DONNA PARIS SPE­CIAL TO THE STAR

For some fam­i­lies, some things — like get­ting the fam­ily down­town to watch the Santa Claus Pa­rade — you just don’t mess with. That’s the way it is for Scott Cuth­bert­son and his wife Erin, who take their daugh­ter, 5-year-old Jaime, to greet Santa ev­ery year.

“I’m pretty Christ­masy — but my wife, Erin, is very Christ­masy,” Scott says.

Ac­tu­ally, Erin is al­ready out buy­ing Christ­mas presents. But it’s the pa­rade that’s spe­cial for Scott. As a big fan of pa­rades and bag­pipes, Scott al­ways looks for­ward to the march­ing bands and the drum corps.

“It’s amaz­ing, you get all these mil­i­tary bands from all over, it’s the only time of the year when you get to see all of them to­gether at one time,” he says.

In fact, 20 to 25 bands march in the pa­rade ev­ery year, and the pa­rade is ap­proached by bands from all over North Amer­ica and Europe.

“There are other pa­rades, but the Santa Claus Pa­rade is like the Su­per Bowl of pa­rades,” says Scott.

Scott’s best mem­o­ries come from rid­ing in golf carts in the pa­rade, as a friend’s dad was in­volved in run­ning aux­il­iary routes in the pa­rade. “I’d go out with class­mates,” Scott says. “As a kid, it was a blast rid­ing in the carts!”

Now that Scott and Erin take their daugh­ter to the pa­rade, he gets a lit­tle sen­ti­men­tal. “You live vi­car­i­ously through your kids,” he says. “There was a stretch of about a decade when I was too old to go with my par­ents, and I was sin­gle so I didn’t go — I re­ally missed it.”

“There are other pa­rades, but the Santa Claus pa­rade is like the Su­per Bowl of pa­rades.”

Now, Scott and his fam­ily make a day out of it, ar­rang­ing to meet up with friends, grab­bing a bite to eat when all is wrapped up.

“It’s the kick­off to the Christ­mas sea­son for me,” Scott says. “Since my com­pany and oth­ers slow down over the hol­i­days, it’s re­ally the only time of the year that’s a true hol­i­day for me and a fresh start in the new year.”

Asked for his No. 1 tip for en­joy­ing the pa­rade, Scott says that’s an easy one: “Get there early and get a good spot.” This way, you won’t miss their daugh­ter Jaime’s favourite part: the clowns hand­ing out candy.

COUR­TESY OF THE SANTA CLAUS PA­RADE

Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus right down Univer­sity Ave. this Sun­day.

TODD KOROL/TORONTO STAR

Leave ex­tra early to snag that per­fect spot and bun­dle those kid­dies up when head­ing down to the pa­rade.

TODD KOROL/TORONTO STAR

Some spec­ta­tors do more than just watch the pa­rade, they join in on the fun.

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