The Santa Claus Parade comes to downtown Winnipeg tomorrow. Here are some tips on enjoying the afternoon.

The Santa Claus Parade kicks off at Portage Avenue and Young Street at 5:00 p.m. but events are happening all day long. Streets start closing at 1:30 p.m. along Portage right down to Main Street, which means that being prepared is key.

"What anyone who wants to come down to the parade [needs to do] is plan," said Rob Kristjansson, Film & Special Events Liaison for the City of Winnipeg. "In downtown Winnipeg, there are 39,000 parking spots, so if you plan properly and come early . . . you're going to have a great, great day."

Kristjansson suggests using NaviGo to plan your bus route to downtown Winnipeg. From most areas of the city, it will only take one bus to get downtown, two at the most. Transit is re-routing buses for the day but they all will continue to drive through downtown Winnipeg.

"It is, if memory serves, the 108th Santa Claus Parade," Kristjansson said."We're very excited and very prepared for it."

For those who are driving, Kristjansson recommends looking for parking before even leaving to make sure you have a good idea of where you will be going. The City also recommends that those living on the north side of the city stay north of Portage and those on the south side of the city stay south of Portage. Kristjansson says that, while you can get around, it will be easier.

Making the drive more complicated is that there is a Winnipeg Jets game happening at 2:00 p.m. For the parade spectators, Kristjansson says that shouldn't be an issue for them as the game will be happening already. For those attending the Jets game, you'll need to take extra precautions to make sure you have a good spot early and that you have a good exit strategy. It's also really easy to watch the parade right after the game, as Santa Claus will be riding right in front of the building.

"It really is an event that brings the entire city together," Kristjansson said as he talked about the pure excitement he had for the day tomorrow.

There are more than 75 floats and walking groups in the parade this year, which will be filled with lights. The downtown Christmas lights that have been installed are set to be turned on tonight and tomorrow as the Christmas season approaches.

Lane closures from 1:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. include:

  • Portage Avenue from Sherbrook Street to Main Street
  • Portage Avenue East from Main to Westbrook Street
  • Hargrave Street, Colony Street, Vaughn Street, Kennedy Street, Edmonton Street, Garry Street, Fort Street, Carlton Street, Donald Street and Smith Street will be closed at Portage (you will not be able to cross)
  • Main Street southbound between McDermot Avenue and Graham Avenue
  • Main northbound between St. Mary Avenue and Portage
  • Westbrook southbound between Portage Avenue East and William Stephenson Way
  • William Stephenson Way eastbound between Main Street and Waterfront Drive