Santa Claus Parade
Date of Issue
October 23, 1985
Christmas, Santa Claus Parade
Series Time Span
Perforation or Dimension
Based on a painting by Barbara Carroll.
Each year, children all across Canada grow impatient and eager as the day of the Santa Claus Parade draws near. This exciting, colourful event means that Christmas will soon be here. This year's Christmas stamps recall this beloved Canadian tradition. Our modern-day Santa Claus evolved from St. Nicholas, whose origins are lost in the annals of time. It is believed that St. Nicholas was born in Patara, Turkey, in the fourth century A.D., and became Bishop of Myra in Lycia. Several miracles have been attributed to this patron saint of children and seamen. In the seventeenth century, Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (now New York) changed the popular image of Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas in Dutch) to Santa Claus, the jolly old elf dressed in red, whom we all know today. Santa Claus' first appearance in a parade is thought to have been in 1905 in Toronto, when he made a short procession through the city's streets in his sleigh. The parade, originally organized by the T. Eaton Company Limited department store, grew steadily, as floats, bands, honour guards, colourful smiling clowns walking on their hands, storybook characters, and the popular horses and riders were all added. The early parades differed, however, in that spectators joined in. Every so often the parade would stop, and as the band played, everyone sang Christmas carols while Santa handed out lots of candies to the young carollers. Later, Santa Claus started to travel across the country. In 1948, for example, his itinerary took him to Montreal, Toronto, Brandon, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Edmonton. Today the parade, which has been organized by the Metro Santa Claus Parade Committee since 1982, is so rooted in Canadian tradition that those who would rather not shiver on the sidewalks of Toronto can choose a warm, cozy seat at home, in front of their television sets. The paintings commissioned for this year's Christmas stamps take an onlooker's point of view in showing scenes of a typical parade winding through the city. Painted by Toronto artist Barbara Caroll, their bright colour and naive style seem most appropriate for an event whose principal aim is to delight the children. The typographic design is by Chris Yaneff of Toronto.
Canada Post Corporation. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1985.
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