Here’s one of our two reindeer buses, who have been out on the road spreading Christmas cheer this week!
Our reindeer bus and reindeer community shuttle have been travelling around Vancouver, surprising passengers with a little Christmas fun on their regular routes. (There’s no telling where they’ll be –operators have to request the reindeer bus each day, and it’s popular!) The reindeer were also in a number of Christmas parades this year, including the Rogers Santa Claus parade and the Hyack parade.
But the chief job of the reindeer is delivering toys to charity every year. On Dec. 17 and 18, the buses will be loaded up with toys collected by TransLink and its subsidiaries, and the reindeers deliver them to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau. (That’s 46,000 toys and $37,000 so far, and that doesn’t include 2008!)
The reindeer buses have been in action for over 20 years now–they were created just a few years after our Toys for Tots program launched in 1987. “It’s a novelty, and a nice thing for the public to see TransLink and their employees giving back a bit,” said Perley Crandlemire, a Coast Mountain operator training instructor who helped launch the toy program back in 1987.
The reindeer costume hasn’t stayed the same over the years, though. About five years ago, the reindeer got a facelift. John Timms, who works in Corporate Communications for the Coast Mountain Bus Company, replaced the nose with a red rubber boat bumper and got the antlers rebuilt in sturdy foam. The original nose and antlers were made of fibreglass, and after running into low branches on roads like Beach Avenue, they often needed repairs, said John.
So watch out for the reindeer buses on the road—they will be out on the roads all the way until New Year!