Whitehorse’s Garbage Truck Santa is back on the road.
Residents rallied to get Santa and his twinkly ride back up and running this Christmas season, after a three-year hiatus.
“It’s been wonderful,” said Santa, also known as Wayne Henderson, this morning as he waited to get a flat tire fixed. “They’ve been so helpful and joyful and everything.”
Henderson has been a hallmark of the holiday season in Whitehorse for more than 20 years. Riding around on his decked-out garbage truck he would visit schools, daycares and seniors homes handing out candy canes.
But the city sold Santa’s garbage truck in 2011, and the new trucks are designed in such a way that prevents them from being decorated with Christmas lights.
In 2012, a different Santa drove around in a one-ton truck. In 2013 the event was cancelled completely.
This year Henderson teamed up with Tina Woodland, general manager of Whitehorse Motors, to resurrect the tradition.
They tracked down the old truck, which had been sold to a Takhini trailer park. They were more than willing to lend it back to Santa.
“If you look on the door panel you can still see where the old decals used to be,” Woodland said.
Then the elves at Whitehorse Motors went to work.
A new inverter and a good scrub-down were first on the list.
“There were a few little lights out here and there that are necessary – taillights and things like that,” Woodland said.
Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning the lights and decorations started going up.
Monday is the truck’s first day on the road. It will be out until at least Thursday, she said.
“This morning one of our staff was coming in from Riverdale and she said people were pulling over and getting out of their cars and waving. It’s really been fun. It feels really good to do.”
Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis said he was happy to see the truck on his way from Riverdale this morning.
“He drove by with everything lit up and the big red nose. It was exciting to see. It did my heart good to see it,” he said.
“I guess Christmas is here.”
Curtis credits local businesses for chipping in. Canadian Tire donated lights, Superstore came up with the candy canes and Ajax Steel and Industrial Supplies is keeping Santa stocked with white gloves.
Henderson said he’s happy to be back behind the wheel.
“It’s just something in my heart. It just makes you feel good for the whole day because you see other people smile. Even the general public, walking down Second Avenue, or they’re in their vehicle, they’re waving at me and smiling,” he said.
“It’s always been a positive thing. It’s just something I wanted to do for the community all those years. It’s just great to do it again.”
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