For 15 years now, Air Transat and the Children’s Wish Foundation have been making some special magic for hundreds of children coping with threatening illnesses on their annual Flight with Santa Claus.
Joined by their families, the kids boarded flights out of Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver to take off in search of Santa and his elves.
Elves and animated characters welcomed children and their families at the Air Transat check-in counters, helping to get everyone into a festive spirit and ready for an experience like none other.
There were also a variety of activities at the boarding gates to keep the young passengers excited, as they eagerly awaited their flight.
Then again, the wait was well worth it, as shortly after takeoff the jolly old man himself made a surprise appearance on board the flight, bringing the biggest of smiles and cheers from all the children and their families!
Air Transat president, Jean-François Lemay said of the annual event: “After 15 years, the ‘Flight with Santa Claus’ has become a genuine tradition at Transat. Every year, our employees are totally committed to this exceptional moment, so that each and every sick child can enjoy some happy time with their loved ones. We want to thank all our volunteers and partners, including Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver International and Paris–Charles de Gaulle airports, which make it possible to hold this event.”
Chris Kotsopoulos, Co-CEO at Make-A-Wish Canada (unified with Children’s Wish Foundation on Oct. 1, 2019), observed that: “The annual ‘Flight with Santa Claus’ is truly a magical day that brings incredible joy to children diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. It allows children and their families to create special holiday memories to cherish for years to come.”
And during this year’s flights, Air Transat presented Children’s Wish Foundation with a $100,000 donation.
The funds for that donation were collected throughout the year as part of the Small Change, Big Hearts program and other fundraising initiatives.
This donation is in addition to the more than $6 million the airline has donated to the Foundation since the start of their partnership in 2004.
Now that’s what the Christmas spirit is all about.
For more, follow the hashtag #SantaFlight on social media.
It’s that time of year again and Canadians are preparing to celebrate the holiday season, and Florida is ready to take it to the next level, with a wide array of activities and events planned for this most festive time of year.
For those planning to visit over the holidays, and for anyone looking for a bit of travel inspiration, here is a quick overview of a few of the things to see and do when celebrating the season in the Sunshine State:
Let there be lights
Millions and millions of them will light up the South Florida skies throughout the month, and here’s where to see some of the best and the brightest:
Visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium and experience Winter’s Wonderland.
Embrace the holiday spirit with festive lights, kid-friendly activities and Sea of Light boat cruises during extended evening hours. Activities continue through Jan.6, 2020.
New Year’s Eve beach ball drop
Times Square has nothing on this Panama City Beach NYE party.
Join thousands of revellers on the streets of Pier Park for this free family-friendly event featuring live music, entertainment, fireworks and good cheer. With not just one, but two countdowns (8 p.m. and midnight), watch as an 800-pound LED beach ball counts down the New Year and 10,000 inflated beach balls drop from nets. It all happens on Dec. 31.
Thousands of LED lights will transform the Jacksonville Zoo into a winter wonderland, complete with moving sculptures, a fairy village, marshmallow roasting and warm weather “ice” skating on select dates throughout December. For once, the usual stars of the show, the zoo’s animal inhabitants (alligators, tigers and jaguars), take a back seat to the spectacular forest of multi-coloured fairy lights.
Busch Gardens Christmas Town
Through to Jan. 6, 2019, Tampa’s safari-themed park transforms into a winter wonderland of Christmas shows, music, a Jingle Bell Express train ride for kids, Santa’s workshop and more than a million twinkling lights.
Key West New Year’s Eve
Nobody does New Year’s Eve like Key West – unique, quirky and completely laid-back. This year’s highlights include the Pirate Wench Drop, the Giant Shoe Drop and the Conch Shell Drop. It’s all topped off with a giant fireworks display and it’s the place to be on Dec. 31.
For the LEGO builder in all of us, LEGOLAND Florida is featuring an impressive display that includes a 30-foot Christmas tree made of 270,000 tiny plastic bricks. There will also be a kids’ New Year’s Party with nightly fireworks show, dance parties, special building activities, and more. On Dec. 31, enjoy a brick drop at a kid-friendly hour. When: Select dates throughout December
For more on holiday-themed events and activities happening in the Sunshine State, go to https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/florida-events/florida-yearly-events-calendar.html#december
The holiday season in San Antonio offers visitors a variety of seasonal treats that reflect the many nationalities of people who settled here.
The Alamo City’s rich culinary traditions are why UNESCO named San Antonio a Creative City of Gastronomy and the perfect destination for festive celebrations of the foodie kind.
Local landmark bakery La Panaderia specializes in a unique version of the Italian panettone, a sweet bread often featuring dried fruit and pistachios.
The bakery also offers spicy Mexican hot chocolate, the best way to warm up while strolling along the River Walk. Topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce, it’s best enjoyed with one of their famous conchas or croissants.
Another special sweet bread, this time from Germany, is available in December from San Antonio’s Guenther House. Weihnachtsstollen, as it is known, has been a German holiday treat since the 16th century and has been a part of San Antonio’s holidays for decades as well.
With strong ties to Mexico, it’s no surprise that San Antonio marks the holidays with a flavourful dish that hails from south of the border. Tamales are a seasonal treat that are made in preparation for holiday celebrations and the family visits typical at this time of the year. San Antonians love the tradition of the tamalada, a gathering of family and friends who come together to prepare tamales for the annual celebration.
The San Antonio Botanical Garden’s Ancient Art of the Tamale takes place on December 11 and features traditional tamale making techniques with four different versions, plus a mistletoe margarita, The Witte Museum hosts a tamalada on Dec. 14 with hands-on instruction, recipes and ingredients for making and taking home six savoury and six sweet tamales.
In Market Square a day-long event devoted to the tamale, La Gran Tamalada, takes place on Dec. 14, with tamale lessons, live music, and local vendors selling their own signature versions of the seasonal dish.
For even greater knowledge of this iconic dish, visitors can attend Tamal Institute, an afternoon of talks and demonstrations exploring the history and cultural significance of the tamale.
If the holidays are about indulging in food and drink, there’s no better place to do it than at Dulce – a popular event that is a celebration of all things sugary sweet. Masterpieces created by the city’s leading pastry chefs and bakers are on offer, and include rich desserts, hot chocolate, paletas, churros, tortes, cupcakes, macarons and candy-rimmed cocktails.
For more tasty discoveries, go to www.visitsanantonio.com.
In celebration of International Volunteer Day, the Trafalgar Canada team came together to support Holiday Helpers Canada, a charity whose mission is to provide a one-time customized Christmas package to over 750 families with young children, who are living in low-income situations.
Each sponsored family receives an artificial tree, decorations, gift card to a warm meal and presents from their personalized wish list.
Since 2008, Trafalgar, has been offering team members two paid volunteer days annually to support causes close to their hearts as part of its commitment to social responsibility.
Last week, in celebration of International Volunteer Day 2019, many Trafalgar team members across the globe contributed some of their paid volunteer time to take part in meaningful initiatives, including beach clean-ups, gift wrapping, dog walking, and food drives, all of which contributed towards 24,000 paid volunteer hours across the course of the year.
The volunteer days offer staff the choice to give back as teams and individuals according to their schedules and encourages a dialogue between the offices around the world to share what they do.
As well, the company’s JoinTrafalgar sustainability initiatives support a number of causes throughout the year with the primary pillars of supporting people, places, wildlife and the planet.