Calgary Firefighters host Christmas party for thousands of Calgary children
Today, 4,000 deserving Calgary children celebrated the holidays with Calgary firefighters and the Grey Cup at the annual Calgary Firefighters Toy Association party, where they received donated gifts, enjoyed a holiday lunch, entertainment and visit from Santa.
“We host this event every year because we know there are many children and families in our city who don’t have the resources to have a truly happy holiday,” said Jamie Blayney, president of the Calgary Firefighters Toy Association. “We are so happy that we can do something during the holidays to give back to our community and celebrate the season.“
Calgary firefighters, including retirees, along with Calgary Fire Department staff, volunteer their time to organize the event, including gathering thousands of donated gifts, providing the lunch and arranging an afternoon of entertainment. Calgary Fire Department staff also contribute to the Association with payroll deductions throughout the year.
The Salvation Army and Calgary school boards suggested a list of 1,700 families for the Calgary Firefighters Toy Association to invite to the event at the Stampede Corral. The Calgary Exhibition & Stampede have donated the venue for the event for the past 47 years.
Lunch and snacks were generously provided by Peter’s Drive In, Old Dutch and Coca Cola. Entertainment was provided by the Prairie Dogs and Scientific Steve.
Santa arrived at the party around 1:30 p.m. on an antique fire truck along with the Canadian Football League’s highest honour, the Grey Cup, which the Calgary Stampeders won last month.
Special guests (aside from Santa) at this year's event included Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Minister Ric McIvor and his wife Christine, City of Calgary Councillors Joe Magliocca, Jim Stevenson, Sean Chu, Ray Jones and Andre Chabot, Calgary Stampeder Randy Chevrier with the Grey Cup, CFD Pipes and Drums, CFD Honour Guard, the Cappy Smart Band as well as clowns and mascots.