Santa Claus brings Christmas spirit to Montreal in first parade since pandemic

Santa Claus brought the Christmas spirit at the Montreal parade Saturday.  (Kwabena Oduro/CBC - image credit)
Santa Claus brought the Christmas spirit at the Montreal parade Saturday. (Kwabena Oduro/CBC - image credit)

Elves, snow fairies, dancers and Santa Claus himself took over Sainte-Catherine Street to spread good cheer to Montrealers Saturday morning.

With the ground covered in fresh snow, crowds gathered downtown to feel the Christmas spirit at the Santa Claus parade.

After the parade was cancelled two years in a row because of the pandemic, everyone was happy to get together and celebrate the upcoming holiday season.

Santa's helpers

Holiday helpers and paramedics made sure everyone could enjoy the mild weather and catch Santa's return.

Darline Forvil Devilus and her three-year-old daughter who had a liver transplant rode an ambulance and got a great view of the parade. Devilus said her daughter probably couldn't have gone to the parade had it not been for the paramedics keeping an eye on her daughter, who has spent a long time in hospital.

"I couldn't stop smiling, I'm grateful and happy to see everyone," she said.

Montreal's public emergency medical service, Urgences-santé, worked closely with children's hospitals in the city to bring about 50 sick kids to the parade, accompanied by health care workers to tend to their needs.

"For us it's a way to give back to the community and offer those kids and their family a great activity," said Chantal Comeau, a spokesperson for Urgences-santé. 

"A lot of them have been in hospital for a long time and this is a very special morning for them. All we want to see is a smile on their face."

Kwabena Oduro/CBC
Kwabena Oduro/CBC

Nathalie Kaval's daughter was born prematurely and spent nine months in intensive care. She said it felt amazing to see how happy and excited the parade made her daughter.

"For the longest time I thought we wouldn't be able to participate in these kinds of events," said Kaval. "It's a way to celebrate our accomplishments and daily triumphs."

And the joy was infectious among the paramedics themselves who were happy to accompany the children.

"To have kids who have a joy of living and being here, because obviously they have conditions that could have taken their lives, they really have a glow in their eyes that's incomparable," said paramedic Emmanuel Frechette.

"It's really gratifying for us."