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NNSL Photo/graphic

Santa never has a problem finding scores of Pathfinders to be honorary elves during his annual visit to Rankin Inlet. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Santa has entered the building

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Dec 20/06) - Santa, Santa, Santa... The chant began as the jet carrying the Jolly Old Elf touched down on the runway at the Rankin Inlet airport this past week.

It was followed by a cheer of delight from the more than 500 kids on hand as Santa made his way into the terminal building. His cheeks glowed red from the cold and his belly shook with delight as the kids whispered Christmas wishes while eyeing the treat bags coming their way.

Santa Run 2006 made three stops in Nunavut, spreading some early Christmas cheer to kids in Rankin, Cambridge Bay and Iqaluit. Sponsored by Canadian North airlines, the Santa Run also makes stops in several NWT communities.

Randy Miller of Canadian North had some anxious moments watching the weather as Santa drew near.

But, Mother Nature co-operated and he was spared having to break 500 little hearts as Santa flew past.

"Santa's visit is always a lot of fun and it's great to see such a large crowd every year," says Miller.

"It seemed like there were more younger kids this time than ever before.

"Even most of the older kids who came out spent a little time with Santa because many of them had younger brothers or sisters with them.

"It's always great fun to watch the kids react to Santa."

Miller estimates about 550 treat bags were handed out during Santa's visit.

The remaining bags were delivered to kids at a local day care who couldn't attend Santa's visit, or returned to a Canadian North station to be distributed to smaller communities in its region.

Miller says Santa's visit would be tough to handle if not for the volunteers who pitch in every year, especially members of the local Girl Guides of Canada movement who are always willing to help.

"I am so grateful to Angela Dale and the Pathfinders for the wonderful job they do every year.

"I don't think I could do this without their help.

"We also receive help from the friendship centre and, this year, Aaron and Kim Angidlik gave us a hand."