A Northern Tradition

Each year, Whitehorse ushers in the Christmas season by lighting the gigantic evergreen tree on Front Street, a parade along Main Street, and Santa arrives – mukluks and all. We even have our own name for this glistening annual event- Winterval.

Every year Winterval combines the magic of Christmas with the creativity of the arts. This years Winterval will take place on Saturday, Dec. 5, and it’s theme is Winter Dreams.

One of the most important parts of Winterval is Santa’s House, which will be set up at the Roundhouse building, located on Front Street. Children are welcome to visit Santa, and afterwards they can enjoy a ride on the Santa Train, which runs from Roundhouse to the Old Fire Hall.

Santa Claus has been coming to Whitehorse for decades. Each time he visits the North he always enjoys meeting the kids.

“The children tell me what their favourite songs are, or ask me about the reindeer,” Claus says.

Another popular topic of discussion, is Santa’s Northern inspired outfit.

“We are in the Yukon, so I do wear my mukluks and fur mitts when I visit Whitehorse,” he says. ” The kids always like to ask me about it, like which type of fur are my gloves made of.”

Another thing the kids like to talk about is cookies.

“A lot of the children like to tell me what their favourites are.”

Claus, however, does not have a favourite.

“Just give me any cookie with a glass of milk, and I am happy.”

During Winterval Santa will be at his house between noon and 3 p.m., and then at 4:30 p.m. you will be able to catch him in the parade, alongside many floats.

Prior to Winterval, Santa will be making a few select appearances at the toy shops in town, just to get a head start on his naughty-or-nice list.

Aside from Santa Claus and the parade, there is also the arts component to Winterval. Brenda Pilatzke is the production manager of this year’s Winterval.

“The theme of this year’s Winterval is Winter Dreams. So to go with this will be a huge lantern art installation, which will be displayed at the parade.”

Workshops will be set up for adults to make their own lanterns. For the kids, they will have the option to make mini lanterns before the parade begins.

For Pilatzke, this is the best kind of work. Having a background in planning sports and theatre events, she has taken planning Winterval to heart.

Having arrived in Whitehorse from Ontario not too long ago, the people of Whitehorse have already made a lasting impression on her.

“The community of Whitehorse is very welcoming and there is so much love and care that goes into welcoming the holiday spirit,” she says.

Pictures with Claus can be had on Saturday, Dec 5 at the Roundhouse from 12:30pm to 3pm and from 4:45pm to 6pm. The parade starts at 4:00pm at 6th Avenue and Main Street and ends at 4:30 at Front Street and Main Street, in front of the Whitepass Building.

Winterval Events

(Saturday, December 5th)

Pictures with Santa 12:30pm-3:00pm and from 4:45 to 6:00pm at the Roundhouse

Santa Parade – starts at 6 Ave and Main at 4:00pm, ends at Front and Main in front of the Whitepass Building at 4:30

Treelighting Ceremony – 4:30pm at the Whitepass Buidling

Kids Crafts – 12:30 pm- 3:00pm at the Old Firehall  

Arts Festival – with kid friendly performances  at  the Old Firehall from 4:45pm to 6:15pm

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