Sudbury’s first Santa Claus Parade was held in 1958. Someone has posted a home movie of that parade on YouTube. Organized by the Sudbury Jaycees, the parade featured Santa’s Rocket Express, Mr. Peanut, marching bands, RCMP officers and several beauty queens.
Wilf Salo was Sudbury’s first official Santa and he did the job for more than 50 years before he retired in 1986. Salo died in 1999.
The American-born Finn worked as the advertising manager for Silverman’s department store. His career as Saint Nick began as a publicity stunt for the store’s toy department in 1934. He was a popular guest at charity functions. He even had a half-hour program on CKSO-TV. It is said he could say Merry Christmas in 14 different languages.
The late Nick Dellelce was St. Nick for three decades. The businessman took his job seriously and attended dozens of special events during the Christmas season.
After Dellelce, Rodney Campbell (pictured) drove the reindeer for many years. On Christmas Eve, he would shave his long white beard and go back to being just a regular guy.
Lawyer Brian Howe took up the reigns when Campbell retired.
The first night parade was held in 1999.