When two parades are merged into one giant parade, you know it’s time for a party.
This year’s Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade is a little different than previous years, as it also encompasses the Grey Cup Parade. It’s officially called the Grey Cup Festival Santa Claus Parade and will fill Winnipeg’s downtown streets on Saturday.
The celebration is a lead up to the big game on Sunday between the Ottawa Redblacks and Edmonton Eskimos at Investors Group Field.
But before the Grey Cup is held, more than 50,000 people are expected to attend the parade and Grey Cup-related festival events. That doesn’t include the estimated 30,000 households expected to watch the parade live on Shaw TV.
Besides the usual block parties along the Portage Avenue parade route, Grey Cup Festival organizers have their own festivities planned, including representation from all nine CFL teams.
The grand marshals this year are “Dancing Gabe” Gabriel Langlois and Winnipeg Blue Bomber alumni and hall-of-famer former cornerback Rod Hill.
Volunteers from the Christmas Cheer Board will be picking up items along the parade route. Those wishing to donate should bring a non-perishable food item or new unwrapped gifts to the parade.
More than 2,000 participants are accompanying the 106 parade entries, with help from some 800 volunteers. The parade begins at 4:30 p.m.
Starting at 2 p.m.:
- Portage Avenue will be closed from Sherbrook Street to Main Street
- Portage Avenue East will be closed from Main Street to Westbrook Street
- Hargrave Street will be closed at the intersection of Portage Avenue
- Colony Street, Vaughn Street, Kennedy Street, Edmonton Street, Garry Street, and Fort Street will be closed at Portage Avenue
Starting at 3:15 p.m.:
- Main Street southbound will be closed between McDermot Avenue and Graham Avenue
- Main Street northbound will be closed between St. Mary Avenue and Portage Avenue
- Pioneer Avenue westbound will be closed between Main Street and Westbrook Street
- Westbrook Street southbound will be closed between Portage Avenue East and William Stephenson Way
- William Stevenson Way eastbound will be closed between Main Street and Waterfront Drive
- Carlton Street, Donald Street, and Smith Street will all be closed at Portage Avenue.
Special shuttles are running all week along between 10 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. See the maps outlined below for further information or visit WinnipegSantaParade.com.