Featured Image from Downtown St. John’s
The Downtown Santa Claus Parade has been a long-running annual tradition for many St. John’s locals. This past parade was no different, with over 40,000 spectators gathering on the downtown sidewalks to watch the floats, performing groups, and loveable mascots marking the beginning of the holiday season.
The main highlight of St. John’s Santa Claus Parade (next to the notorious Bologna Big Stick) has always been Santa in his sleigh.
Bruce Templeton famously held the role of St. John’s Santa Claus for decades, even publishing two books about the experience. Since 2021, however, the famous red and white hat has been passed down.
St. John’s newest Santa
There is a new Santa Claus in town, and his name is Jim Buckingham.
Buckingham is a St. John’s native who strives to bring joy to children. He owns the Techniplex Recreational Faculty and has been a Santa for over 20 years in the city before taking over the reins of the parade sleigh.
Buckingham runs summer camps and hosts numerous sports clubs and teams on indoor and outdoor fields at Techniplex, ensuring children get active and have fun.
“That’s why I built the Techniplex,” said Buckingham when asked, “so kids had a place to play.” This enthusiasm for youth is the same motivation Buckingham brings into being Santa.
Pepperrell Field, owned by Buckingham, was used for many years for Santa’s helicopter to land before the parade. Already a Santa by this point, Buckingham says he was next in line for the parade once Templeton retired. On the date he finally got the fateful call, he jumped into the role without hesitation.
Being Santa comes with many requirements, including a white beard. After this year’s parade, Buckingham is upgrading his Santa beard and getting a beard fitted to his face to better bring the Christmas spirit this season.
To Buckingham, all the work is worth it to create a little Christmas magic in St. John’s this season- and for many years to come!