RCMP Helping Santa With Deliveries of Toys to Matawa Communities
THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Updated – The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were on a mission to the north today. Instead of the traditional “Always getting their man”, today the goal was getting toys for the holidays to the communities of Marten Falls, Webiquie and Lansdowne House. The round-trip journey of almost 750 miles or 1207 kilometres aboard a North Star Air Pilatus was accomplished with a surplus of smiles and good thoughts.
Staff Sgt. Normand Roy, Thunder Bay RCMP Detachment Commander, and Constable Bob Jacobson headed north aboard the North Star Air flight to deliver toys to the communities.
During this festive holiday season, the Thunder Bay RCMP Detachment has partnered with the Matawa First Nations to distribute toys to children in their nine Northern Ontario First Nations communities as part of the annual Toys for the North initiative.
Staff Sgt. Roy said, “The Toy’s for the North 2014 campaign is a great initiative for our local detachment in order to provide gifts to children in remote isolated communities located in Northern Ontario. We are not Santa; however, we do have the red coat like him.”
The journey started at the North Star Air terminal in Thunder Bay. The flight plan for the day was to Marten Falls / Ogoki FN, then on to Webiquie and then to Lansdowne House.
It was a perfect day for flying. Clear skies, barely any wind, and for December in Northwestern Ontario, barely any wind.
Special Mission for RCMP and Hailey
In Lansdowne House, Staff Sgt. Roy had a special toy to deliver for Hailey Sakenee. Along with her dad, Curtis Moonias, Hailey now has perhaps the only kangaroo in Landsdowne House.
On Friday December 12th 2014, a wrapping party was held at the Thunder Bay Gymnastics Association located at the Clayton Building on the CLE grounds, with hardworking elves from the Thunder Bay RCMP Detachment, the Thunder Bay Gymnastics Association and Matawa First Nations to make sure that Santa’s sleigh will be filled to the top with gifts for his trip up north!
Santa and his reindeer want to send out a special thank you and Ho! Ho! Ho! to Cargo North and North Star Air for assisting them with the logistics and transportation of some of the toys that couldn’t quite fit on his sleigh.
Warm hugs of appreciation are also sent to Bearskin Airlines, Safeway, Tim Horton’s, Boston Pizza and Papa Piccolino’s Pizza for their contributions in making the toys journey a very happy one.
Across Northern Ontario, communities are increasingly connected to Thunder Bay. Air travel between Northern communities allows for shopping, visiting, and like today, the opportunity for sharing the spirit of the season.
The work of making the Toys for the North campaign work involve a lot of logistical planning and support.
The “O” Division RCMP (Ontario) has participated in The Toys for the North initiative since 2010 as part of a national network of RCMP, the Department of National Defense, law enforcement, corporate and external partners who collectively contribute to the success of this charitable activity. Toys are donated by members of the Canadian Toy Association, transported and warehoused by Thomson Terminals and sorted and distributed by the RCMP. In communities throughout the North, the RCMP arranges for wrapping parties and often is able to make a community event when delivering the toys.
The logistics involved in getting thousands of toys from a warehouse in Toronto to isolated communities is made considerably easier by the Canadian Forces who load the toys (and diapers) onto planes and trucks wherever there is available cargo space, and send them to staging points in Winnipeg, Goose Bay and northern Ontario.
The RCMP members, families and community volunteer groups in the northern communities volunteer their time to wrap and label the toys and get them further on their way to communities which may only be accessible by float plane, ice highway or snowmobile. Wherever possible, RCMP and local leaders coordinate an event where families can gather for a festive day or evening celebration around the toy distribution to every child.