Santa Claus came to downtown Ottawa Saturday for the 50th annual Help Santa Toy Parade.

Thousands of people bundled up, despite unusually cold temperatures, for a chance to see Santa.

Seven-year-old Samantha Bourgon came with her brother Bradley and parents. “The music is beautiful and that's what I like about parade.”

The parade route began at Ottawa City Hall and went along Laurier to Bank Street, where it finished at Lansdowne Park.

Samantha’s mother Denise Bourgon says the parade puts her family in the holiday spirit. “This is where it kicks off for us. We go to the parade and then we go home and start decorating.”  

The Ottawa Professional Fire Fighters’ Association has organized the Help Santa Toy Parade every year since 1969. Officers collected gifts and donations to fill the toy wagon for kids in need.

Deputy Chief Paul Hutt says, “It benefits the community in many ways. The gifts and the donations help all the needy and we help everyone for their generosity.”  

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says it was a perfect start to the holiday season in the capital. “I’m going to wish the whole city a merry Christmas. It’s a beautiful day and a raising a lot of money and gifts for special gifts in our community.”

CTV News was able to catch up with Santa during the parade. He says he enjoys coming to Ottawa. He says “My nice list is very long... my naughty list is very short... so hopefully by Christmas it will all be on the nice list.” He is looking forward to returning to the capital the night of Christmas Eve.”

For more chances to see Santa click here.