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About Sickkids
About SickKids

December 11, 2013

Operation HO HO HO: Canadian Forces give Santa’s elves a holiday lift

By Margaret Sheridan

Santa’s elves got a helping hand today from the Canadian Armed Forces with the delivery of early Christmas presents to some lucky children at SickKids.

Knowing that the big night is just around the corner, Santa had called in reinforcements to ensure that the gifts, and his elves, got to SickKids on time. Unlike previous years, however, they couldn’t land on the roof.

Canadian Forces help Santa’s elves deliver gifts to SickKids

“Santa warned us that the elves who wanted to visit SickKids couldn’t get onto the helipad at the moment,” explained Cpt. Terry Wong whose 400 (City of Toronto) Tactical Helicopter Squadron (THS) members participate as escorts in the annual Operation HO HO HO. “So we flew them down to Toronto Island Airport and had military and police escort them here to see the kids.”

With their sled and reindeer safely stowed at CFB Borden, the elves arrived in style at the SickKids University entrance to meet the excited children who had gathered for the event.

The kids not only met with the elves, but were able to send them back to the North Pole with a whispered Christmas wish for Santa’s ears only.

“I was looking forward to seeing the elves,” Avreen, 13, said. “But I’m really excited to see the army! It’s cool that they’re already heroes, but this makes them even bigger heroes.”

The operation, which is celebrating its 10th year, is run by the Canadian Armed Forces who come loaded with toys, books and donations received from communities in the Simcoe region to spread Christmas cheer to the children who may be spending their holidays at SickKids.