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Windsor Santa Claus Parade to march through downtown once again

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When the opportunity to bring the annual Windsor Santa Claus Parade back to the city’s core —the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association (DWBIA) couldn’t resist.

“The DWBIA's opinion, the parade should be on main street and it's phenomenal to welcome it back,” said executive director Debi Croucher.

The 55th edition of the Windsor Santa Claus parade will step off Dec. 2, at 6 p.m.

The opportunity for a new location presented itself six weeks ago.

“Moving a parade is not something you do lightly,” said Maggie Durocher, executive director of the Windsor Parade Corporation. “It's not something we do just because it's fun.”

The DWBIA showed an immediate interest and got the ball rolling.

“It attracts thousands of spectators, young families who may not typically come into the city centre,” she said.

Windsor Santa Claus Parade 2023 route in downtown Windsor, Ont. (Source: Windsor Parade Corporation)

It also gives businesses like The Gifting Tree on Park Street an opportunity to extend its hours.

“As a retailer, it's so exciting to get all the foot traffic and people to explore downtown,” said owner Misty Sergi. “We have great things down here.”

After a nine-year run in Old Sandwich Town, the parade bounced around a bit. In 2019 it was held in Windsor. 2020 at St. Clair College. The parade was held on Wyandotte Street the past two years.

Now, it is back downtown with a new route starting not at Giles Boulevard but at Wyandotte St. and Ouellette Avenue. The parade will travel north towards the river and then make a left turn on Riverside Drive ending at Caron Avenue.

Durocher likes downtown, but says it is unclear if the arrangement will be long-term.

“We haven't laid out specific years but they do, the DWBIA has first right of refusal for this parade,” she said.

Plans are still in the works for add-on activities like the fan zones in Amherstburg and Essex.

“There will be a lot of activations on the street,” said Croucher. “There will be carolers, there will be window painting, there'll be tons of activities for young families to participate in and enjoy beyond the parade.”  

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