In the middle of November every year, the city of Brampton celebrates the coming of the Christmas season with great zeal and zest. It organizes the annual Santa Claus Parade, a tradition dating back three decades; it was resuscitated in the year 1986 after an absence of then years. Even though the organizing committee constitutes of just over thirty individuals with a an army of volunteers who work relentlessly to bring together the event which hosts floats, marching bands, lights, a number of different types of participants such as costumed characters as well as the guest star – Santa Claus himself. In addition to being a source of entertainment and festivity for the local population, the parade allows the local entrepreneurs and businesses the prospect of making a seasonal earning as well as augmenting their profiles by giving back to the community.
It has been bestowed with the title of the Best Community Lighted Parade in the country by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and because the spectacular event continued to draw in a larger crowd with every coming year, the format of the event had to be changed to that of a nighttime event in the year 1995. The crowd in attendance to greet Santa in that year had quadrupled to over sixty thousand and presently it draws in excess of one hundred thousand spectators. It is now believed to be the largest nighttime Santa Claus Parade in the country.
The parade takes on average two hours to complete its designated route, starting at nightfall on the third Saturday of every November. All the roads and main intersections are shut down as it passes through Main Street, Sproule Drive, Nanwood Drive, ending at Elgin Drive. The volunteers try to give the viewers something special every year particularly for the children of different age groups. For the elders, they offer words of advice to allow them to spend an enjoyable evening, free of any stress. It is recommended that edibles are brought along and children should write letters that they wish to give to Father Christmas – these are collected by the Brampton Guardian Carriers dressed up as elves. Moreover, it is suggested that non-perishable items are brought along for charity purposes and dropped off at the nominated points of collection all along the route; these are handed over to the Progress Club to be distributed to local charities and food banks to help feed the hungry.
The Brampton Board of Trade has devotedly and proudly supported the annual celebration by being the main financial sponsor for well over three decades. Other associations that have donated to the club include the Hwy. 407 ETR, Downtown Development Corporation, Rotary Club of Brampton and the Kiwanis Club.