Four Toronto Santas on what it’s like to play Saint Nick

Four Toronto Santas on what it’s like to play Saint Nick

A lot of pressure rests on the bright red shoulders of the city’s various Santas this time of year. We asked four local Mr. Clauses what it’s like to fill those big black boots during the holiday season.

Photograph by Yuli Scheidt Photograph by Yuli Scheidt
 

Distillery Christmas Market Santa

Real name: Mike Ackerman

When you’re not being Santa, what do you do?
I’m a professional actor and teacher. Both stage and television performing, but primarily children’s television—I was the main character in the children’s history television program Time Blazers. I’m also a teacher at the Young People’s Theater, where I’ve been teaching the drama program for 16 years.

Favourite stop on your delivery route this year?
I look forward to visiting the Distillery Historic District every year. There are puppies everywhere, and Rudolph loves puppies!

Has Toronto been naughty or nice this year?
Nice. Definitely nice.

What’s the top gift people are asking for in 2016?
Torontonians are certainly keeping my elves busy this year trying to find those Hatchimals.

What’s your favourite memory as Santa?
This year, I was having a chat with a little boy who couldn’t remember what he wanted for Christmas. He told me it was okay because he would just “tell me in his dreams.” I loved that, because the magic of Santa was alive with him. There have also been many children this year who have thought of others over themselves and have asked Santa to help those in need rather than bring them something for Christmas. It’s wonderful to see the love and caring that has been instilled in many of the children of Toronto. It makes me proud that we come from a place that cares so much for others!

 

Photograph courtesy of Yorkdale Photograph courtesy of Yorkdale
 

Yorkdale Fashion Santa

Real name: Adam Martin

When you’re not being Santa, what do you do?
I’ve worked in the Canadian luxury fashion industry as a buyer, and in e-commerce for 12 years. I’ve also worked as a model.

Favourite stop on your delivery route?
Fashion Santa delivers the gift of style to everyone regardless of neighbourhood.

Has Toronto been naughty or nice this year?
Nice. They call us Toronto the Good for a reason. Just look at all the “nice” lists Toronto made it onto: The New York Times listed the city as the top 2016 travel destination, and Vogue named it as a culinary destination.

What’s the top gift people are asking for in 2016?
I meet more adults than kids as Fashion Santa. The kids get to experience traditional Santa in a different part of the mall. Most of the questions I get are about the clothes I’m wearing.

What’s your favourite memory as Santa?
When my dad dropped by to surprise me and take a photo. That, and the time a young boy came to take a photo with me, and when it was time to pose, he looked at me and posed the exact same way.

 

Photograph by Derek Stryland Photograph by Derek Stryland
 

TTC Santa

Real Name: Chris Upfold

When you’re not being Santa, what do you do?
My day job is Deputy CEO and Chief Customer Officer at the TTC. I get the pleasure of being Subway Santa for a few hours.

Is it stressful being the TTC Santa?
Less stressful than the day-to-day job. It’s great to make people smile for just a minute.

Favourite stop on your delivery route this year?
Bloor-Yonge is great. Especially with the special holiday window.

What’s your favourite memory as Santa?
A school group coming through all wanting a high five from me.

 

#MondayMotivation: 27 days till Christmas!!!

A photo posted by @tosantaparade on

Santa Claus Parade Santa

Real name: He wouldn’t spoil the magic

Favourite stop on your delivery route this year?
There is no favourite neighbourhood when on delivery. All neighbourhoods get equal treatment.

Has Toronto been naughty or nice this year?
Toronto does flip flop between the naughty and nice lists. But mostly nice!

What’s your favourite memory as Santa?
Seeing the look of awe on children’s faces when they see me, whether in the parade or at private functions. Also, the ability to put children and adults at ease, which I do by giving Santa a more personable, down-to-earth character. It’s really magical.