More than 300,000 people -- both naughty and nice -- were expected to attend Santa's 68th Santa Claus parade in downtown Montreal Saturday.

About 20 festive floats will be parading along Sainte-Catherine St. West, between Fort and Saint-Urbain Sts., for a distance of 1.2 kilometres.

Musicians, dancers and crowd entertainers were also on parade.

Santa Claus was accompanied by the Star Fairy, played by actress Vanessa Plion.

The event, organized by Downtown Destination, launches the holiday season for area merchants.

The weather will be a little chilly but fair with a high of 3 degrees Celsius and a 40 per cent chance of flurries. The snow that blanketed Montreal Friday will certainly add to the seasonal charm.

The merchants' association had asked the downtown cannabis store to remain closed until after the parade. It will remain open, but the SQDC says extra security guards will help control the lineups outside the outlet.

- With files from  La presse canadienne