Home Vancouver Events Calendar DECEMBER Events in Vancouver in 2023 Vancouver Santa Claus Parade

Vancouver Santa Claus Parade

Vancouver Santa Claus Parade

The Vancouver Santa Claus Parade is a major Christmas event. It has floats, marching bands and Santa in downtown Vancouver on the first Sunday in December.



Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Christmas parade in Vancouver was cancelled in 2020 and 2021. The parade didn’t happen in 2022 either because it didn’t have a title sponsor, and this is the case again in 2023. Whether the event returns in 2024 is to be determined.

Although the Vancouver event didn’t happen last year, Christmas parades did take place in different communities including in Chilliwack, Maple Ridge, Mission and Surrey. A number of parades are happening again in 2023. For details about Santa Claus parades in other communities, click Lower Mainland Santa Claus Parades.


2023 PNE Winter Fair


Santa Claus Parade

The Vancouver Santa Claus Parade is an annual tradition that attracts over 300,000 people in good years. The event typically lasts for a couple of hours and features over 2500 participants, five dozen community organizations and hundreds of volunteers.

The parade is a free event, although spectators are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food or money donation benefiting the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. Each year the event collects considerable amounts of money and tons of food for the charity and the tens of thousands of people it supports.

In short, the Vancouver Santa Claus Parade is a fabulously festive event that’s especially popular with young families and benefits a great cause!


Vancouver Santa Claus Parade
Vancouver Santa Claus Parade


Parade Details

Below are details about the Christmas parade in a typical year including information about the parade route, start time, related family-friendly activities and the history of the event.

In years when it does take place, the parade itself usually starts at noon and lasts for around two hours. About five dozen or so marching bands, floats, dance groups and community organizations participate.

Starting at around 10:00 am there is also pre-parade family-friendly entertainment outside the Vancouver Art Gallery.


Parade Route

Beginning at around noon, the Vancouver Santa Claus Parade begins at Broughton Street before proceeding along Georgia Street and then down Howe Street until Davie.

In total, from start to finish, the parade route is about 2 km in length.


Santa Parade Pre Event
Activities at Christmas Square


Christmas Square Activities

In normal years, free pre-parade activities for families take place by the Vancouver Art Gallery from 10:00 am until parade time.

The Christmas Square event happens in the plaza on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Georgia Street. At the free event there is usually face painting, a station where children can write letters to Santa Claus and live music.


Parade History

In 2020 the Vancouver Santa Claus Parade would have celebrated its 17th season! A couple of years ago was the event’s 15th year, but it almost wasn’t though.

For years Rogers had been the event’s title sponsor, but the communications giant finished doing that in 2016. Facing a consequent budget shortfall, the event was almost cancelled in 2017. Rival telecommunications giant Telus, however, came to the event’s rescue and so the tradition continues! Thanks for saving Christmas Telus!


Rainy Day Santa Parade
Santa Claus Parade on a Rainy Day


Tips & Advice

Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your experience at the Vancouver Santa Claus Parade.

TIP #1: Get downtown early, like as much as an hour before the start, to get a good spot. After the parade begins, especially in the most popular areas, the crowds along the street get formidably thick!

TIP #2: Assuming you arrive early enough to claim a good viewing location, take a lawn chair or blanket to sit on. Also, don’t forget your camera, and an umbrella in case it looks like rain!

TIP #3: Dress warmly, pack a thermos of hot chocolate, and take a book or a well-charged phone to keep you comfortable and entertained while you wait for the show.

TIP #4: If you have young children, go extra early and check out the activities in the Christmas Square outside the Vancouver Art Gallery before the parade. Don’t stay there too long though as you’ll want to find a place your kids can see from along the parade route before the sidewalks get too overly packed.

TIP #5: The most crowded areas along the parade route are usually near and along Georgia Street, as well as the first half of the end of the route along Howe Street. Most years the least crowded areas are near the beginning and end of the route.


Other Information

For further details about the annual Christmas event, click Vancouver Santa Claus Parade.

For ideas on other Christmas-related things to do in the Lower Mainland, check out any of the following: