Stories from Santa

Bruce Templeton, a longtime member of the Rotary Club of St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador, has also been a member of the Santa Claus Hall of Fame since 2014. Geoffrey Johnson, senior editor at Rotary magazine, profiled Templeton for the magazine’s December issue. Here, in Templeton’s own words, are a few more stories from Santa’s gift bag.

Templeton dressed up as Santa Claus examines himself in mirror.
Bruce Templeton, aka Santa, a member of the Rotary Club of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, and the only living Canadian Santa in the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame.

In 1979 – when I was 34 – an aunt of mine, the head of crafts for our province, asked if I would appear as Santa at a child’s event. I told her I would think about it. I went to various places and looked at Santa suits. I didn’t like the looks of any of them, so I called her back and said “No.” And she said, “Bruce, if I make the suit, will you do it?” Well, you don’t turn down the director of crafts for your province. What arrived at my house were a suit made of velvet and lambswool, a beard made of real hair, and prescription glasses. It was absolutely flawless. And that was the beginning of my Santa journey.

When I started, I was acting as Santa. But over time, you become so comfortable in a room with children that you begin to believe that you are Santa. Your behavior changes. You’re aware that there are some very serious responsibilities that come with this. I grew into being Santa. It’s something that becomes a part of your life.

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The Rotary network at work

The Kuehn family, on sofa, during their stay in Vancouver, stranded by wildfires. Ray and Joanne Moschuk, rear, hosted the family.

By Past District Governor Chris Offer, member of the Rotary Club of Ladner, British Columbia, Canada

Wildfires in the forests of British Columbia are common but the fire season in 2017 has been one of the most destructive in many years. At its peak, 40,000 people were evacuated from farms, villages, and cities. More than 1,000 fires were burning 100,000 hectares. Numerous highways were closed, isolating large parts of the province. Continue reading

Discussing maternal health in Canada

Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime MInister Stephen Harper, addresses Rotary members in Canada during a recent Rotary Day.

Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, addresses Rotary members in Canada during a recent Rotary Day.

By Douglas W. Vincent, Rotary Club of Woodstock-Oxford, Ontario, Canada

In January, the Rotary Club of Mississauga Meadowvale hosted a Rotary Day event exploring what we as Rotary members can do to improve the health of mothers and their children, through our club projects and working with the United Nations. Rotary has had a long-standing relationship with the UN dating all the way back to its formation, and improving maternal health and reducing child mortality are two of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

We invited a special guest, Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Continue reading

Speaking up for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards

Darren Luong, left, and Matt Pomeroy receive cetifications from District 7090 for their work with youth service.

Darren Luong, left, and Matt Pomeroy receive certificates from District 7090 for their work with youth service.

By Darren Luong, a member of the E-Club of Southern Ontario, Canada & Western New York

Sixteen years ago, as a student at Cardinal Heights Middle School in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, I received an award from the local Rotary club at my graduation. I didn’t know what Rotary was or even why I had received the award. Time went by and it was forgotten at the bottom of some boxes packed away.

Eight years later, I was sponsored to go to a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event in my district. This life-changing week and the support from Rotary throughout my life has convinced me that this organization is full of amazing people that can really change the world for the better. Continue reading

Rotary Peace Centers build a better future

Rhett Sangster

Rhett Sangster

Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, Canada

I recently visited the spring conference at Duke-UNC Rotary Peace Center, one of six worldwide. As a supporter of the Rotary peace centers program, I had an opportunity to see firsthand how our support is being used.

Rhett Sangster, a Saskatchewan nominated for the program from my Rotary district in Ottawa, was one of twelve graduating peace fellows delivering a presentation that day. His unique and innovative explanation of the ongoing treaty negotiations with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples, known as First Nations, changed my ideas and perceptions about the process. Continue reading