Firefighters partner with Santa Claus to deliver toys to Calgary kids


The Stampede Corral was full of toys, children and firefighters as the Calgary Firefighters Toy Association gave thousands of presents to deserving kids Sunday with the help of Santa Claus.

This was likely the event’s last year at the Corral after 52 years due to future development in the area, said Fire Chief Steve Dongworth. But it isn’t the end of the annual party that sees firefighters, fire department staff and volunteers wrap and deliver thousands of donated gifts to about 4,000 children and families invited by local schools.

“With the development of BMO and the event centre, I believe this building won’t be here next year but we will continue in another building. Hopefully, we can continue to see as many kids as today and put smiles on more kids’ faces,” said Dongworth. “This is the best of community and to be able to celebrate the holidays with families from the community is a wonderful experience.”

Fire captain Mike McRae handed out presents for the first time during this year’s party.

“Seeing all of the kids smile made this really worthwhile. When they saw Santa come in on the antique truck there were just smiles everywhere. It was such a happy place,” said McRae.

Jessica Bobak was waiting in line to meet Santa Claus with her two children and niece. Her children were holding their wrapped presents, ready to tear them open if given the go-ahead.

“It’s quite the great, big family we have in Calgary, everyone is always looking to help out,” said Bobak. “I don’t think the presents will stay wrapped until Christmas, but it’ll give them something to do until then.”

Fanny Soto Martinez was holding a stack of three presents for her kids. She said the gifts will go straight under the tree to be opened on Christmas Day.

“It’s really beautiful because there are so many people gathered together to help others and give these children a positive experience,” said Martinez.