Downtown streets set to close for Santa Claus' arrival in Winnipeg Saturday

WATCH: Mark your calendars, there's a time change to this year's Santa Claus Parade in downtown Winnipeg.

The City of Winnipeg doesn’t block traffic for just anybody, but one man’s highly-anticipated return will see a number of downtown roadways closed Saturday.

Santa Claus doesn’t come to town every day, after all.

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Jolly Old St. Nick will be back in the city for the Santa Claus parade, which is returning for the first time Saturday after taking a pause for COVID-19 since 2019.

This year’s parade will have an earlier start time — kicking off at 3 p.m. — to accommodate the traffic expected for a Winnipeg Jets home game later in the evening.

“We’re grateful to see the return of events and gatherings in Winnipeg and are excited to see Santa kicking off the holiday season at the Manitoba Hydro Santa Claus Parade,” said Monica Derksen, the parade’s director, in a release.

“We hope that an afternoon parade will be more accessible to families and will allow Winnipeggers to attend both the parade and the Winnipeg Jets game on the same day, if they choose.”

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This year’s parade will also feature a new route through the downtown — heading west down Portage Avenue instead of east. It will start at Portage Avenue and Main Street and head west until turning south onto Memorial Boulevard, where it will end at York Avenue.

The city says numerous road closures will be in place around the downtown starting as early as 8 a.m. Saturday. Transit buses will also be rerouted through the day.

Winnipeg's Santa Claus parade runs Saturday.

Winnipeg's Santa Claus parade runs Saturday.

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The closures are expected to be lifted by shortly after 5 p.m.

Regular updates on road closures can be found on an interactive map on the city’s website.

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Winnipeg’s Santa Claus parade was first held in 1909 and organizer’s say it’s the city’s longest running parade.

Parade-goers are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and new unwrapped gifts for The Christmas Cheer Board, who will be collecting items in the Manitoba Hydro building atrium at 360 Portage Ave. and with volunteers along the parade route.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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