Garbage Truck Santa’s decorated rig rolls for 27th year in Whitehorse
WHITEHORSE — A familiar, if somewhat unconventional, holiday event resumes for its 27th season in Whitehorse but the man who’s better known as Garbage Truck Santa worries he’s celebrating on borrowed time.
“It lightens my day to do this for people. It’s just something that I’m giving back to the city,” said the semi-retired sanitation worker.
On Monday, Wayne Henderson began his annual rounds at the wheel of an old packer-style garbage truck decorated with thousands of Christmas lights and an intimidating set of caribou antlers.
Henderson will drive the big rig around Whitehorse for four days, spreading joy and handing out candy canes. There will be no garbage pick up with the holiday rig.
He used to decorate a city garbage truck until 2012 when the city’s older-model packer trucks were sold and the newly purchased garbage trucks could not operate with the lights or antlers.
Henderson kept the tradition alive by borrowing a packer-style truck from a local trailer park and continuing his regular visits to daycares, schools and seniors centres.
But the owner of the trailer park and garbage truck could put both on the market by next year, said Henderson.
“I know it’s a while ’till next year and I don’t know when (the owner’s) going to sell the truck, and (for) how much,” he said.
Henderson is mulling a fundraiser in hopes of buying the truck and saving the annual holiday event.
“If I can just keep the tradition going for another few more years,” he said.
The rolling ritual was inspired in 1991 when Henderson was regularly greeted on his rounds by a youngster who delighted in the arrival of the big rig.
Henderson hopes to hit the 30-year milestone and then hand the annual tradition over to his son.
“It’s in my heart. That’s what keeps me going.”