A Mile of Make-Believe: A History of the Eaton's Santa Claus Parade

A Mile of Make-Believe: A History of the Eaton's Santa Claus Parade

Weight 0.00 lbs
By Steve Penfold
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2016
World Rights
256 Pages
ISBN 9781442629240
Published Aug 2016
Online discount: 25%
 $27.95    $20.96
ISBN 9781442630963
Published Aug 2016
Online discount: 25%
 $65.00    $48.75
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442630987
Published Sep 2016
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $27.95

A Mile of Make Believe examines the unique history of the Santa Claus parade in Canada. This volume focuses on the Eaton’s sponsored parades that occurred in Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg as well as the shorter-lived parades in Calgary and Edmonton. There is also a discussion of small town alternatives, organized by civic groups, service clubs, and chambers of commerce.

By focusing on the pioneering effort of the Eaton’s department store Steve Penfold argues that the parade ultimately represented a paradoxical form of cultural power: it allowed Eaton’s to press its image onto public life while also reflecting the decline of the once powerful retailer. Penfold’s analysis reveals the "corporate fantastic" – a visual and narrative mix of meticulous organization and whimsical style– and its influence on parade traditions. Steve Penfold’s considerable analytical skills have produced a work that is simultaneously a cultural history, history of business and commentary on consumerism. Professional historians and the general public alike would be remiss if this wasn’t on their holiday wish list.

Steve Penfold is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Toronto. He is the author of The Donut: A Canadian History (UTP 2008).

Introduction Alfreda’s Lament

Chapter One The Corporate Fantastic

Chapter Two Santa in Public

Chapter Three The Mediated Santa

Chapter Four The Civic Fantastic

Chapter Five Casualty of the Times

Conclusion The Most Fabulous Dreams of Childhood\



"If you're on the hunt for nostalgia, don't be misled by the title. While there are magical memories galore in Steve Penfold's A Mile of Make Believe, there is also so much more. This is the story of the Eaton's Santa Claus Parade as a literally moving metaphor of -- among other things -- a country, a city, a company and an epic pop cultural museum on wheels."

Geoff Pevere, author of Gods of the Hammer: 'The Teenage Head Story' and co-author of Mondo Canuck: 'A Canadian Pop Culture Odyssey'

"A Mile of Make Believe offers not only a highly readable and rewarding account of Santa Claus parades but a great many lessons that will help reshape the way in which scholars explore the history of consumerism. If Eaton’s was this effective at presentation and organization it would still be with us today."

Michael Dawson, Department of History, St. Thomas University

"This volume is classic Penfold. Through superb scholarship and lively writing A Mile of Make Believe is an entry point for understanding a host of the central elements of modernity."

Keith Walden, Department of History, Trent University

‘This book should find its way down our chimneys as an excellent example of going beneath the surface to uncover the deeper structure of our collective past.’

Len Kuffert, Canadian Historical Review vol 98:02:2017

Steve Penfold has "crafted a smart and funny account of a lost piece of Canadiana."

Holly Doan, Blacklocks Reporter, November 5, 2016