New Westminster’s Christmas Santa Claus Parade takes place along Columbia Street in the old part of New Westminster in December each year.
In 2019 the Santa Parade in New Westminster was on Sunday, December 15th, from 11:00 am until just before noon.
Because of COVID-19 the event was unable to take place in 2020, and it doesn’t look like it happened in 2021 either. Hopefully the event returns for 2022 (although it’s not looking likely).
New West Santa Parade
The parade usually takes place on a Saturday or Sunday in December. In 2016 it was on December 3rd and in 2017 it was on December 2nd. In 2019, however, it happened two weeks later than usual. Because of COVID-19, there was no parade in 2020 or 2021. We aren’t aware of one happening in 2022 either (but we’re not 100% sure).
In years when it does happen, regardless of what day it is, the New Westminster Santa Parade usually takes place along Columbia Street. It typically starts at around Fourth Street and finishes at Eighth Street at the intersection by the Anvil Centre, Kelly O’Bryan’s Restaurant and New Westminster SkyTrain Station.
What to Expect
In years when it does take place, at the New Westminster event expect a fairly typical Santa Claus parade with a school marching band, bagpipers, dignitaries waving from cars, a few floats, entries from community groups and businesses, and Santa Claus on a fire truck at the end.
Crowds of people line the street and thousands turn out for the event, including lots of families with young children. Expect to see hundreds of moms pushing strollers and dads carrying little ones on their shoulders.
The parade is a good one. It moves fairly quickly and lasts for only about half an hour, which is nice (especially on days with cold or rainy weather). The parade usually starts at 11 o’clock at around Columbia and Fourth and the last entry reaches the finish line at Eighth Street about 45 minutes later.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your Santa Claus experience in New Westminster in years when it happens.
TIP #1: Arrive early to find a good spot to watch from if you have small kids. The streets don’t get as crowded as they do at the Santa Claus Parade in Vancouver, but still busy enough to make finding a good vantage point a challenge on days with good weather and larger turnouts.
TIP #2: Take public transit if you can. Parking can be a challenge and there are road closures in the area from 8 am until as late as 1 pm. The New Westminster SkyTrain Station is right near where the parade finishes, which is fabulously convenient.
TIP #3: If you’re looking for a dry indoor place to watch from, check out the Anvil Centre at 777 Columbia Street. The place has big windows and from upstairs there are a few places with a good view of the street below.
TIP #4: If the weather is good, explore the area either before or after the parade. The waterfront is right close by! Click New Westminster to learn about the community and for ideas on other things to do.
TIP #5: Santa and Mrs. Claus make their appearance at the very end of the parade. When you see the fire truck with Santa up on top waving, you’ll know the parade is almost over (so time to get to a coffee shop, restaurant or the train station quick before all the crowds of other people)!
See the City of New Westminster‘s website for more information about the parade.
Other similar events in other parts of the Lower Mainland include the following:
- Vancouver Santa Claus Parade
- Surrey Santa Parade (in Cloverdale)
- Maple Ridge Christmas Festival
- Christmas Lights Up Parade (in Aldergrove)
For a comprehensive list of Santa Claus parades in other communities, click Lower Mainland Christmas Parades.
For other festive things to do this time of year check out the following:
- Vancouver’s December Calendar
- Festivals & Events
- Free December Events
- Best Vancouver Christmas Activities