By the numbers: Ticker tape parades

Story highlights

  • Confetti has been thrown along the route of the Canyon of Heroes since 1886
  • With the stock market now an electronic exchange, shredded paper is used instead of ticker tape
  • Sports figures, astronauts and presidents have all been hailed along Broadway

(CNN)Ticker tape parades are a way to celebrate foreign dignitaries and heads of state, as well as national heroes. Presidents, a Pope and astronauts have all been showered with confetti along the Canyon of Heroes, the name given to the parade route that follows Broadway between the Battery and City Hall in New York City.

The parades got their name from what was originally thrown in the parades -- ticker tape.
Printed from stock tickers, a machine that that tracked stock information, ticker tape became a source for scrap paper thousands used to celebrate the homecoming of national heroes. As the stock exchange upgraded to using electronic devices, ticker tape became harder to come by and parade attendees began using shredded paper.