Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade 2018


The 109th Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade

presented by Manitoba Hydro

5:00pm on November 17, 2018

Unfortunately, there’s a Grinch out there who took down our website.
We are working on getting it back online.

New Santa Float Announcement – Media Launch:

Monica Derksen, Parade Director

Welcome here and thanks for coming to this historic announcement for the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade. To get a sense of why it’s so historic, we have to go back to the beginning.

In 1909 Eatons started parades in Montreal and Winnipeg. The Winnipeg Parade has been successfully held every year since and celebrated its 108th anniversary just a few short weeks ago. Due to rising costs, Eaton’s organized its last parade in 1965. Not wanting it to end, it was transitioned into a community-based format that saw different organizations come together and take on the responsibility of organizing the annual event.

In 1975 the Winnipeg Jaycees, now JCI Winnipeg, were asked to continue the community tradition and they took over ownership and stewardship of the parade and the Santa Claus float. Over 30 years later, in 2007, JCI Winnipeg and Manitoba Hydro came together in a joint-title sponsorship and the parade then became a nighttime, lit parade.

In 2011 the Santa Parade transitioned once again, into its current form. An organizing committee, consisting of JCI Winnipeg, Manitoba Hydro, City of Winnipeg, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and community members, created “The Winnipeg Parade Committee Inc.” – an independent, non-affiliated, registered not-for-profit organization directed by a community board.

For over 60 years, the float originally commissioned by Eaton’s, has carried Santa through the parade. Think about that. That means that it has been in service for longer than a lot of us have been alive. With the dedicated efforts of volunteers from JCI Winnipeg, for over 40 years the float has been brought out of storage, revived and spruced up each year in November.

However, it is once again time for a transition. Due to changing mandates and resources, JCI Winnipeg is no longer interested in being the steward of the float and the independent, not-for-profit Winnipeg Parade Committee IS ready to take that on.

For several years now the float has been deteriorating. Combined with the transition of ownership and stewardship it was only natural that this was the time to look at the possibility of commissioning a new float to take us into the next 60 years; to ensure a safe and exciting sleigh for many years to come.

As you can imagine, commissioning a new Santa Float is no small task – logistically, emotionally or financially. The parade is a loved, cherished tradition that many people feel a strong connection too. Considering the long lifespan of the previous float, we want to get it right, right from the beginning.

Rennie Zegalski, Board Member and New Santa Float Committee Member

In the fall of 2014 newspaper stories starting commenting on the age and condition of the Santa Claus float and the need for a new one. The public interest at that time was high and a number of companies and organizations expressed interest in being involved in the project.

After the 2015 parade, the Winnipeg Parade Committee developed the New Santa Float Committee and in the summer of 2016 the initiative was underway. With the goal of unveiling the new float for the 2018 parade, the board put out a 2-part Request for Proposal with a closing deadline of March 10th of this year. The first part of the RFP was for a float design of an elevated sleigh for Santa to ride in, pulled by reindeer. Because Winnipeg’s parade is a nighttime event, decorative and creative lighting is required. Other considerations that were outlined included specific dimensions, a sound system, durability, on-board power supply, heat source for Santa, ease of access and dismount and of course, safety.

The second part of the RFP was for arrangements for secure, indoor storage, maintenance and parade-day management for the three years following the unveiling. Because this new float will be owned and operated by the Parade Committee and as such is a new, added responsibility, the security of knowing it was taken care of for the first few years was important for the transition period.

After reviewing the submitted proposals, J&D Penner was selected as the official Santa Float builder. As a long-time supporter and sponsor of the parade, it came as no surprise that they were interested in being involved and offered a competitive quote for all the required elements.

Donate to the new Santa float project!

Mail cheque to:
Winnipeg Santa Parade
Box 1382, Station Main
Winnipeg, MB  R3C 2Z1
Payable to: Winnipeg Parade Committee Inc.

To make a credit card donation, call Monica Derksen, Parade Director at (204) 777-2682.

Because the parade is a not-for-profit organization without charitable status, we cannot issue a tax receipt for any donations. We can, however, ensure Santa receives a list of all donors and puts you on the Nice List!

Continue to check in for updates on our fundraising and launch activities throughout 2018.

If you have a general enquiry, please email

Parade Route & Road Closures
To see the parade route and what roads are shut down, starting at approximately 1:30pm, CLICK HERE.