Santa Claus Loves Newfoundland & Labrador

Okay, I’m not here to say Santa Claus doesn’t love kids the whole world over — he clearly does. Nobody logs the kind of Christmas Eve miles Santa does if they’re not interested. What I am here to say is, that there are some corners of the map that make him a jollier elf than others, and Newfoundland & Labrador has got to be one of those places -- here's why.

1/2 Hour Timezone
Christmas gets to the island of Newfoundland a half-hour before the rest of Canada and the US and that buys Santa some time. He takes advantage of our time zone to deliver presents at a more leisurely pace. Arriving just after midnight, he visits our 219 000 homes in the half hour before Christmas gets to the bulk of the continent. That’s about 121 homes per second. I know that doesn’t sound very relaxing but for a magical guy like Santa it’s time for a glass of syrup and an extra jam-jam.

Think about it: When Santa hits Toronto he has a small fraction of that time to spend at each Christmas tree if he’s going to get the city done. It’s something like 280 homes per second, and that's if he spends a whole hour there... never mind the rest of  Ontario... or the Eastern Standard Timezone.

Newfoundland gives Santa the chance to take a breath, enjoy his job and maybe even check-in with Dasher and Dancer’s family.

Rangifer tarandus is the Latin name for reindeer and caribou. They're the same species, but not exactly the same thing.  Caribou are a wild North American deer whereas the name reindeer is usually used in Europe, and generally refers for the domesticated variety.  Years of selection and close-living with humans have caused some physical and behavioural differences between caribou and reindeer so Santa has no trouble telling them apart. 

It goes without saying that Santa is a big reindeer/caribou aficionado. Newfoundland and Labrador gives him plenty caribou news to consider.  Labrador is home to the once-massive George River herd.  In the 1990s its numbers approached a million animals but, in the intervening years, the numbers plummeted to a few thousand animals. Some people of the province noticed, made changes and tried to understand how to make things better.  Thankfully, things are looking up.  In 2020 the size of herd increased for the first time in more than 25 years.  

Santa respects a place that respects its reindeer. 

Speaking of reindeer, do you recall the most famous reindeer of all? That’s right, Rudolph. 

Rudolph is famous for his ability to navigate the fog and Newfoundland really lets him shine, literally. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, Newfoundland’s Grand Banks are the foggiest place in the world -- something like 206 days of fog a year!  After not being able to join in the reindeer games, Rudolph gets to come into his own, guide the sleigh and be the team-players he was meant to be right here in our province.  The sight makes Santa’s ‘HO HO HO’ that much jollier.

Air Traffic Control
Rudolph doesn’t have to bear the weight of navigation all on his own, though. Nav Canada’s Air Traffic Control Centre in Gander is responsible for the air traffic of the western North Atlantic — that’s a piece of the busiest oceanic airspace on the planet. Typically, there are 1300 large, commercial flights in that airspace everyday. That’s a lot of traffic for one small sled to negotiate and Santa wouldn’t even attempt it without the help of air traffic control in Gander. When Santa comes to Newfoundland and Labrador, he knows he’s with people who have his back… 

and with people who are going to let him kick it old skool.

Santa can roll with the punches and deliver presents to any home, but he’s a man who appreciates traditions and there’s nothing more traditional than a chimney. In 2011, 22% of houses in Newfoundland were using wood heat.  In 2018, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Fisheries and Land Resources issued 25, 000 permits for domestic wood harvest. Once you factor in commercial cutting, that suggests a fair bit of wood smoke. Where there’s smoke, there’s a chimney; where there’s a chimney, there’s a happy Santa.

Anyone who’s been to this province knows it is a special place… and Santa Claus is the same. His trips to this island hold a special place in his heart and he looks forward to getting to Newfoundland every bit as eagerly as we await his arrival.  He loves this place...

It’s almost like ho-ho-home!


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