Here in Toronto on March 31st, Bees Knees Dance is continuing on a tradition that has become famous in New York City, called the “Easter Parade”. The Easter Parade is an event consisting of a festive strolling procession on Easter Sunday with participates usually wearing their best Easter finery that normally consisted of the best of modern clothes and hats of that time. For the Easter Parade in Toronto, Vintage clothing and hats is encouraged as everyone parades down Yonge St, which is one of our main streets in the heart of downtown.

Details & pictures from last years event can be found here:

easterparade-judy Garland

History of the Easter Parade in Toronto

Toronto’s Easter Parade is one of its oldest Traditions, starting in the early 1900’s along the waterfront at Sunnyside Park (Toronto album 2: More glimpses of a city that was by Mike Filey).

Fashion was very important and in an article written on April 26th, 1914 in the Toronto World Newspaper an amusing headline appeared…. Are women of Toronto behind New Yorkers in style? The accompanying caption (for the pic below) reads: “The fashion show on Fifth Avenue, Easter Sunday – in the foreground a mandarin jacket of ruffled taffeta, straight-brimmed hat, trimmed with wing rows – a brocaded crepe coat is shown in centre.”

new York easter parade

New York Easter Parade-1914       Image courtesy of Toronto Archives

Yes the women in this New York picture looking amazingly fashionable but were the Toronto women that far behind in fashion? Not really we were just more covered up lol! Easter weekend in Toronto can be cold, which may account for why the Easter parades in our city were perhaps a bit more humble than New York’s 5th Avenue event. The photograph below from 1924 shows Toronto flappers in their Easter finery parading along the Sunnyside boardwalk in their warm jackets (Toronto Archives). I think they look pretty amazing even WITH their jackets on.

easter parade toronto

In 1922 an amusement park opened up at Sunnyside park and the Easter Parade became a more structured event, complete with sponsors and prizes.

easter parade 1920 sunnyside

But by the early 1950’s the amusement park had shut down and with it went the Sunnyside Easter Parade. However the parade was not gone for ever and it was reborn on Bloor Street till about the middle of the 1960’s where it then moved East to the Beaches and has remained there ever since. Very cool!

Now there is the history of the Toronto Easter Parade but now onto the most important part of the parade…the hats!

So what does one wear on her head to the “Vintage Easter Parade”? Here are some of my favorite choices from Etsy that can be purchased right now.

The Hats

Now this darling just screams DRAMA! and the rest of your outfit can be plain as ever if you are wearing this piece.

etsy 1930 hat

Etsy Seller: Union Made Bride. Hat: $95 US

This next hat is to adorable for words! Simple but a real showstopper. Love it!

1950's orange hat

Etsy Seller: Alex Sandra’s Vintage Emporium   Hat: $75 US

This next hat is something I can see our favorite Bomb Girl “Gladys” wearing.

1940's hat

Etsy Seller: Alex Sandra’s Vintage Emporium   Hat: $89 US

The lovely 1940’s purple number is just jaw dropping beautiful and would look good on pretty much anyone! I just adore her red hair too, so pretty.

1940's purple hat

Etsy Seller: Vintage Pickle  Hat: $34 US

If I was going to the Easter Parade I would wear the below hat I purchased a couple of years ago but unfortunately I will be in Las Vegas for VIVA (so it’s not really that sad lol) but I look forward to seeing all the pictures from the day.

my fancy hat

My 1950’s Vintage Hat, courtesy of Gadabout Vintage here in Toronto

I will now leave you with a great article from the Queen of Vintage website on “Top Tips on Vintage Hats” that is a must read before you don that special work of art you have been saving for the parade.

Happy Strolling!

Liz 🙂

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