Santa to the Coast program spreads Christmas spirit in northern Labrador

·2 min read

Christmas may still be a few days away, but Santa Claus made an early visit to the north coast of Labrador Saturday to see the children and deliver a few gifts.

The visit was part of the Santa to the Coast program, an initiative that's been bringing the jolly old elf to the coast for more than 30 years and is now led by the Happy Valley-Goose Bay Rotary Club and Air Borealis.

Philip Earle, president of the local Rotary Club and vice president of Air Borealis, said the visit had a few changes this year, however.

"Because of COVID-19 it was certainly a different year, so we went by helicopter. The children from the community stayed on the [one] side of a barrier and Santa was on the other side," he said.

"It was a fantastic day, just about every child in the community was out to visit Santa … despite it being quite cold in Labrador today. It was just a beautiful, beautiful experience."

Bird's Eye Inc/Twitter
Bird's Eye Inc/Twitter

Santa visited Rigolet, Postville, Makkovik and Hopedale on Saturday, with gifts being sent ahead to the communities and Santa arriving by helicopter.

Earle said because the communities are isolated and have limited medical services, the group did a lot of due diligence and followed public health guidelines closely to make sure Santa could visit.

"We believed it was necessary, it was our give back to the community. Despite 2020 being a pretty challenging year, the magic of Christmas is so important, so we wanted to brighten the day for the children. I believe we were able to do that," he said.

Philip Earle/Twitter
Philip Earle/Twitter

Earle said the Santa to the Coast program is the only opportunity for many of the children to see the jolly old elf, so he's pleased they were able to get Santa there.

"They don't have a shopping centre that they can go to to visit with Santa, so when Santa arrives from the North Pole by airplane or by helicopter, it's their one chance a year to be able to give him their wish list in advance of Christmas Eve," he said.

"Now everybody is ready for Christmas Eve and the big day when it rolls around."

The children got a few gifts from Rotary Club, as well as some nutritional food, and now Earle said Santa is back at his workshop preparing for the big day.

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