A man who donned the white beard, red velvety jacket and black, tight-fitting belt to spread Christmas cheer to Yellowknifers for half a century is being honoured by the city.
When Santa couldn't personally attend, Roland Gosselin would bring his infectious laugh and booming Ho Ho Ho to annual Santa Claus parades in Yellowknife and the territory's smaller communities.
For Gosselin, subbing for Santa wasn't just a hobby, his daughter Tanya Miniely explained. “He was overjoyed when he landed the Santa Claus gig in the annual Yellowknife Santa Claus parade,” she stated in a Thursday news release. “He had pride in being the best.”
Roland Gosselin, Yellowknife's longtime 'Santa,' in a photo provided by the City of Yellowknife.
In his memory, the $500 Roland Gosselin Ho Ho Ho Award will be handed out to a non-profit which demonstrates the best Christmas spirit at the annual parade.
It's a way to honour a resident of Yellowknife who contributed to the holidays for many years, Mayor Rebecca Alty said. "His legacy can now continue for years to come."
The money for the award has been donated to the City by the Gosselin family. It will be handed out in each of the next 10 years.
Gosselin all decked out with sleigh and gifts during a past Santa Claus parade. Photo provided by the City of Yellowknife.
Mark your calendars: this year's parade takes place on Saturday, November 23 at 5pm.
The theme this year is "winter wonderland." The City is inviting schools, businesses, and other groups to enter the parade for free. You can enter a float, a vehicle, or walk as a group.