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RCMP to receive toys from Toronto parade

Simon Whitehouse
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, December 14, 2011

RCMP officers are astonished at the amount of generosity that has come to the North this Christmas from the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.

The parade, which was held Nov. 20, gathered a large number of new toys and other goods for shipment to Northern communities. The city will be the hub for those items as they are flown into the Yellowknife Airport by a Royal Canadian Air Force Hercules aircraft on Dec. 17.

"I'm not a person left in awe of too many things, but I'm still in awe," said leader RCMP Sgt. Wes Heron. "The generosity of Torontonians; words can't really say thank you enough."

Heron, along with Const. Dean Webb from G Division and Const. Henry Coleman from V Division (Nunavut) participated in the RCMP float during the parade.

Wal-Mart Canada also pitched in boxes of wrapping paper and diapers In all, he said five pallets of toys, four pallets of diapers and four pallets of wrapping paper are expected this week.

This is actually the second year that the RCMP is involved in this effort, however Heron said those participating have had much more time to prepare. Last year, it was mostly last-minute as Yellowknife officers were notified by their Ontario colleagues shortly before toys were distributed.

"We got 760 toys out of the door last year," said Heron. "But we didn't hit all of the communities. This year, with the extra lead time, we hope to hit every community. "

While the RCMP is heavily involved with the event, Heron said the project would not be possible without donations of time and effort from community partners.

Among them include more than a dozen Grade 12 Sir John Franklin School students, who will be helping with wrapping duties.

Const. Amanda McGillivray, the liaison officer to the school, reached out to student supervisor Cynthia Roach with the idea.

"We are waiting for the pallets to arrive by a Hercules on Thursday and we hope to have it all wrapped up in two hours," said Roach.

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