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About Sickkids
About SickKids

December 15, 2011

Santa's elves land on roof!

Daniel Ethier meets the Leafs
Daniel Ethier meets the Leafs

The weather outside was not at all frightful – six degrees with 11 km/h winds and perfect for Santa’s elves to land their Griffon helicopters on the SickKids rooftop, pouring rain notwithstanding.

This year’s Operation HO HO HO involved six elves, three hockey players, one mayor, and many excited children who didn’t mind waiting for the elves and hockey players to show up. Waiting, after all, is a skill you want to master by the time Santa rolls around.

Dozens of children participated in the event. Tables were set up for winter crafts, and there was room to play a bit of hockey and get autographs. As the children left, they were handed a gift, selected and wrapped according to their age and gender.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford arrived at the University Ave. entrance by car, and was escorted to the Garden Patio by Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO. He wasted no time in sitting down with the kids and decorating mini hockey sticks with “Go Leafs Go” lettering.

The elves and their seven helpers are members of 400 (City Of Toronto) Tactical Helicopter Squadron stationed in Camp Borden near Barrie. For the eighth year in a row they volunteered to deliver toys and books donated by members of communities in the Simcoe region. Their rooftop arrival was shown later on the SickKids channel so all the children in the hospital could get a glimpse of the event.

The hockey players – Jake Gardiner, Luke Schenn and John-Michael Liles from Toronto Maple Leafs accompanied by their faithful mascot, Carlton – signed autographs for the children and parents, as elves handed out presents.

“This is good distraction,” said Windsor resident Roch Ethier, father of Daniel, 12. “It’s a total surprise. We came in from Windsor and are having surgery tomorrow. We had no idea that this event was taking place.” – “Awesome,” echoed Daniel’s mother, Rachelle.