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East York people, places, events & insights

Santa’s Streetcar wants you along for the ride!

The gang behind Santa's Streetcar is eagerly anticipating November 25. -ANDREA FREEDMAN

The gang behind Santa’s Streetcar is eagerly anticipating November 25. -ANDREA FREEDMAN

Toronto Transit Commission streetcar operator Chris Perrin modestly insists “I’m just a guy,” but he is clearly a guy who is making a positive difference.

Mr. Perrin, a father himself, takes pride in the East York area neighborhood in which he works and lives and wanted to do something to give back to the community.  After working at the TTC for ten years, Perrin offered to get involved in the Russell Recreation Committee and the first annual Santa’s Streetcar fundraiser and toy drive was born.

Inspired by TTC’s “Stuff the Bus” charity, he and several co-workers based out of the TTC’s Russell Division decided to volunteer their time to start the new holiday event.

The first annual Santa’s Streetcar will take place on Saturday, November 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the TTC loop at Kingston Road and Queen Street East, where one of the new streetcars will be parked and serve as the focal point for the event. Another, with Santa driving and live music and much merriment on board, will run along the Queen Street route in the Beaches in the afternoon.

Perrin says he believes that every child deserves to receive toys as Christmas and that is why he and his team are devoting every free moment to the project.  The team hopes not only to make the lives of children at Christmas better but also to bring members of the community together to achieve a common goal.

Santa’s Streetcar organizers [left to right]: Chris Perrin (Event Co-ordinator); John "Chachi" Zamora (Route Supervisor); Ron Casvalles (Streetcar Operator); Marcela Garcia (Operator); Chris Sioutis (Operator); Erin Wemyss (Manager, Streetcar Transportation); Brian Morrow (Operator). -ANDREA FREEDMAN

Santa’s Streetcar organizers [left to right]: Chris Perrin (Event Co-ordinator); John “Chachi” Zamora (Route Supervisor); Ron Casvalles (Streetcar Operator); Marcela Garcia (Operator); Chris Sioutis (Operator); Erin Wemyss (Manager, Streetcar Transportation); Brian Morrow (Operator). -ANDREA FREEDMAN

On the day of the event you can bring along a toy or drop off a cheque in the convenient donation box and enjoy a fun day in support of a worthy cause while you’re there.  Entertainment will include exciting musical acts such as the Rouge River Wind Ensemble, who will be performing from 10:45 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. and the New Horizons Band, as well as clowns, a piper and magicians.  Of course Santa himself will also be on hand and available for pictures with the kids!  .

At 11 a.m. local MPs Nathan Erskine-Smith (Beaches-East York) and Julie Dabrusin (Toronto-Danforth) along with MPPs Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth) and Arthur Potts (Beaches-East York) will all be in attendance to kick things off.  Also on hand will be Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon and members of the Toronto Police Services 55 Division —including a mounted unit to be provided by officer Paul Ingley!

Santa’s Streetcar is generating excitement and community volunteers have enthusiastically gotten on board as well. TPS members have helped with flyer distribution and some members will be on hand to flip burgers at the barbecue.  The Wright Sisters Realty Group have also lent a hand with flyer distribution and helping to get the word out promoting the event.

Thanks to a donation from local food retailers, you can bring your appetite and take full advantage of a free barbecue courtesy of Loblaws (with Halal and vegan options available) or a slice of pizza from Boston Pizza and warm up with a free coffee or hot chocolate courtesy of Starbucks and their employees, who will be on hand to help serve the hot beverages.

All proceeds from the event will go to Toy Mountain, a long-established children’s charity that gives Christmas gifts to kids from lower income families to help ensure that every child can enjoy Christmas regardless of their financial situation.

 

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