Santa Claus himself made an appearance at Victoria General Hospital on Tuesday, bringing good cheer, a helper elf and his bag of gifts to children in the pediatric ward.
Santa flew in via air ambulance helicopter, rather than reindeer, and gave out a big “Ho ho ho!” as he came off the helicopter.
It was the first of two hospital visits on the Island, with the second at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital.
The first visit he paid was to Melissa Doty and her eight-week old baby, Brinley. Kneeling down next to her, Santa asked the new mom how she was doing and gave Brinley a small teddy bear.
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He then went on to visit other families and their children, bringing smiles to everyone’s faces as he went along.
“We make a special stop at the hospital so that the kids know Santa hasn’t forgotten them,” Santa said.
This is the 14th year in a row that Santa has flown to hospitals on the Island and the Lower Mainland. This year, he flew to the two Island hospitals as well as Surrey Memorial Hospital, Royal Columbian Hospital and BC Children’s Hospital.
“Being in the hospital during this time of year can be difficult, especially for children who love the December holidays so much,” said Adrian Dix, B.C. Minister of Health. “Bringing Santa to visit the kids is a great way to spread holiday cheer and it’s nice to see everyone share in this wonderful B.C. tradition.”
Helijet and BC Emergency Health Services teamed up to fly Santa to the five hospitals so he could deliver presents holiday cheer to kids and their families.
Santa assured people that it’s looking like it will be a wonderful Christmas this year. He said his workshops are full with all kinds of toys for children.
“We’ve got lists of all things and we’re checking them twice,” Santa said.
Jason and Selena Partridge, and their 11-month-old son, Maxwell, also visited with Santa. Jason said the visit was a treat and helped break up the monotony of being in the ward.
“Maxwell is 11-months-old so he hasn’t seen this before, this is all new,” Jason said. “He heard the bells and he was in his crib and he jumped up and down.”
Maxwell also received a teddy bear from Santa.
“The kids know that Santa will be visiting them on Christmas Eve,” Santa said. “Santa remembers them and he’ll take good care of them.”