The official launch of the Christmas season is the annual Santa Claus parade that floods the streets of downtown Montreal with starry-eyed kids eager to get a glimpse of St. Nick.
The 69th annual parade will take place on Saturday, Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. Note that the parade route has changed this year. It will begin at the corner of Guy St. and René-Lévesque Blvd. and will make its way east along René-Lévesque Blvd until St. Urbain St.
As much of the downtown core will be blocked off for the parade, it is best to use public transit. The parade is accessible via Atwater, Guy-Concordia, Peel, McGill, Place des Arts, Lucien L’Allier and Bonaventure metro stations.
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Hudson hosts its own Santa Claus parade each year, which might suit younger kids who find larger events overwhelming. This year, it takes place on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. in front of Westwood Senior Campus at 69 Cote St. Charles. The floats will turn east along Main Road and the parade ends at the Community Centre. Note that Main Road will be closed from 12:30 p.m. so arrive early to get a good spot. After the parade, revelers are invited to the community centre to have a cup of hot chocolate and meet Santa.
Make sure to bundle the kids up warmly, as they get cold quickly standing around watching floats pass by. Bring fold-up chairs, snacks and water to keep everyone relaxed, fed and feeling good.