MONTREAL - Tens of thousands of Santa’s biggest fans lined Ste. Catherine St. Saturday to greet the man in red who hauls gifts to good kids and coal to the wicked every year at Christmas.

About 1,500 performers joined the generous Saint Nick at the parade, which began at 11 a.m. at the corner of Fort and rolled all the way to St. Urbain.

One family of 16, a group spanning three generations, was so eager to get a good view that they braved the chill and showed up almost two hours early with their chairs.

“We wanted to make sure to have a really nice spot,” explained one member of the clan.

Montreal’s first Santa Claus parade took place in 1925 and the ritual continued until 1968 when safety concerns led to its cancellation. The parade returned in 1993 and has delighted young and old since.

“It’s for the kids, you know, it's a good way to get closer to the community, it's a fun event you can't go wrong,” one festive-looking police officer told CTV Montreal.