By Tim Meeks, Trentonian
CFB TRENTON – A child’s smile is a magical thing, especially at Christmas.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, RCMP Veterans Association and the Canadian Toy Association realize this and for the past eight years they have teamed up with 8 Wing Trenton and corporate and external partners to bring smiles to thousands of children living in isolated communities in northern Ontario, Manitoba, Nunavut and Newfoundland and Labrador.
On Wednesday a hand-over ceremony was held at 8 Wing’s 2 Air Movement Squardon Passenger Terminal between RCMP and 8 Wing personnel where a Thomson Terminals Ltd. transport carrying more than 5,000 toys was delivered to be transported north aboard a CC130 Hercules.
Since 2010 the Canadian Toy Association has spearheaded Toys for the North with help from the RCMP who identify communities most in need; coordinate shipment to the far north and gift wrapping of all the toys; and then hand deliver the toys… sometimes even by snowmobile and sled.
Thomson Terminals warehouses toys collected throughout the year, processes and then ships them by truck to 8 Wing Trenton where the toys begin their journey north by being flown to Thunder Bay and Goose Bay where North Star Air transports them to remote communities.
The RCMP Veterans’ Association works to promote the Toys for the North campaign and provides support in sorting and distributing the toys.
To date they have made the holidays a little brighter by distributing more than $500,000 worth of toys to children in Canada’s north.
“We are grateful for the hundreds of volunteers who contribute toys, gift wrap, transportation services, planning and distribution from the member companies of the Canadian Toy Association, Hallmark Canada, Thomson Terminals, Canadian Forces, RCMP Veterans Association, RCMP detachments and policing partners as well as the private businesses, and the caring public who help to put smiles on the faces of the children,” said RCMP Inspector Chris McBryan, national coordinator for the 2017 Toys for the North program.
“This is just my second year of involvement with the program and this year we nearly doubled the number of toys donated,” McBryan said. “Generally we were filling 20 to 22 pallets with toys and this year we had 39 pallets donated, so it just keeps growing.”
McBryan has never gone north to see the toys actually delivered, “but I have seen the pictures of children receiving their toys and the smiles on their faces are priceless. Together we can help grow this great program and let the children of Canada’s north know that people care about them.”