December 5, 2009

Digital cam and other failures at the Santa Claus Parade

So Smalley has never been to the Santa Claus Parade; yes that may be a major parenting failure on my part but it's usually damn cold in T.O. by mid-November and as people who know me have heard me say many times, "I am not genetically engineered for the cold!" Plus I spent a number of years at the parade with my Pathfinder unit when they were selected with the "honour" of being in the Colour Party. I have seen enough of these Parades to know there isn't anything "special" or "magical" about them. It's a bunch of tired old floats, way too many bands and finally some white guy in an old red suit - all while you're standing in the cold. Unless you were "smart" enough to get there hours early so you could pluck down your camp chair in a prime viewing location; then you'd have the "pleasure" of sitting through this thing instead, still. In. The. Cold!

But I suppose every child should be exposed to it at least once or twice. And since I do perpetuate the whole "Santa" concept at our house (and will for as long as Smalley's buying it), I should give in and take her to see the Parade herself.

As luck would have it, this year the weather was actually really nice on November 15. (Yes, the Parade in Toronto was actually three weeks ago and I am only now getting around to posting about it, whatever!) So a friend and I went down with our kids.

The parade was... meh. I mean the kids had an okay time, they got spots up front to sit and I actually had a nice time exchanging barbs with some guy from Hamilton who brought his daughters (e.g. which one of us was going to get to zip into the bar for a drink while the other stayed with the kids, that clown looks happy for all the wrong reasons, how unpeppy can a pep squad be, etc.). But all in all it was way too long (2.5 hours vs. the promised time of 1 hour) and I can't help but wonder what today's kids are really getting out of it. Maybe the really young ones are entralled, but Smalley is 7 and Celine is 11 and I just don't think they got much out of it.

For one thing the floats are all out of date. (When's the last time you saw a McDonald's commercial featuring Ronald's friends? My kid has no idea who The Hamburgler or Grimace are, so I'm thinking at least five years since one has been aired here in the Ontario area.) So these characters meant nothing to her and Celine, and from the reactions I saw, not much to many other kids their age who were in attendance. And the updated floats are targeting a really young age group. (Handy Manny is great but kids over five or six are probably done with him.) And there were so many bands. So. Many. Freaking. Bands. (It's great that the schools and the employee unions and special interest groups are all coordinated enough to get a marching band together but they're not all that great, and you can only take so many of the okay ones.)

And I have to tell you that honestly, I found the clowns scary. Especially since so many of them are volunteers who are not willing to go to the full effort needed to pull off a clown (e.g. full make-up, pinning your hair up so it doesn't show from under your wig, bothering to wear a wig!, showing just a little bit of enthusiasm as you walk the route). Aside from all this, the only real highlight was getting pelted with mini-candy canes from the very bored looking kids riding the floats. lovely, all this trouble for eye injury.

I mean how does any of this qualify as a "parade"? (Keeping in mind that I am a Guyanese in Toronto so to me, parade means Caribana which is definitely not a mere spectator event!)

Ah well, at least I took her and she saw one. We had brunch after and the kids certainly enjoyed that (chocolate chip and banana pancakes, yum)! Too bad my camera battery died and I only got a few pics, missed the big man too.

The group before we head downtown. I'm Mrs. Claus apparently.

An updated Mother Goose that actually looks okay.

The kids enjoying the parade, before their butts went numb.

Something seriously wrong with this dragon's pose. Seriously.

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