Annual Tradition Brings Joy to Northern Saskatchewan Children
In early December 2020, the children of Fond Du Lac, Stony Rapids, Black Lake and Wollaston Lake peered into the sky and saw something magical: Santa Claus was coming to town! Safely transported by Transwest Air—a partnership between the Saskatchewan-based company and the North Pole that has endured 20 years—Santa arrived safely with gifts and treats for nearly 1,400 children, aged newborn to grade 12.
“Santa in the North” is an annual collaboration between numerous companies to spread Christmas joy throughout the northern communities of Saskatchewan. In addition to Transwest Air, WestWind Aviation assisted with freight and administration of the event, while gift bags stuffed with toys and treats were made possible by Cameco, Orano, Northern Store, Northern Lights Community Development and SGO Mining. Each child was also provided with a book courtesy of Points Athabasca, Athabasca Basin Development, Team Drilling, Flyer Electric, Points North and Athabasca Basin Security.
Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Santa left his helper elves at home to do the trip solo. He also skipped the in-person visits with the children, but Kristy Jackson, director of marketing and communications for Athabasca Basin Development, says despite the program pivot the children were still excited for the socially distanced Christmas surprise. “Santa did a great job delivering the gifts all by himself, and the schools were more than happy to pass the gifts along to the children.”
This was the ninth year that Athabasca Basin Development has partnered with Santa to bring joy to the children of Saskatchewan’s northern communities, and the third year the company has sponsored books. Approximately $15,000 is contributed annually towards the books, aiming to ensure that no child in the same classroom receives the same title. “Athabasca Basin strives to benefit the people of the Athabasca region, and invest in children’s initiatives because they are our future,” explains Jackson.
Jackson says the staff of Athabasca Basin enjoy organizing the piles upon piles upon piles of books and are already anticipating next year’s Santa in the North excursion.