A Christmas Wish

It is Santa Claus parade season again up here in Canada, and most cities and towns really go all out to kick in the Christmas season with their very own parade.  The City of Barrie (the city closest to me) has a Santa Claus parade which has been an annual tradition for generations.  I remember looking back over 50 years ago standing with my family on that main street in Barrie with eyes filled with awe and wonder. Witnessing this as a farm boy the entire parade seemed to be larger than life.  The marching bands, and the floats with costumed characters seemed so wonderfully other worldly.

An hour before the parade started families were staking out a spot on the route.

So much has changed in these past fifty plus years.  Businesses within the downtown have come and gone.  Some buildings have been destroyed by fire, while others faced the wrecking ball to be replaced by new development.  The biggest change of Barrie has been it’s growth.  A half a century ago Barrie was a small town under 20,000 people.  Today it is one of Canada’s fastest growing cities with a population of 141,000 people, a 700% increase.

“Beautiful Barrie” photo shows the central and north sections.  Barrie has seen tremendous growth over the past half century. Photo credit City of Barrie.

Fifty plus years ago the Santa Claus parade used floats consisting of farm tractors pulling farm wagons and work horses pulling their wagons.  This has given way to trailers pulled by pickup trucks and 53 foot heavy equipment low boy trailers pulled by big rig trucks.  Now with portable generators the parade is held just as darkness falls. The lighting on all the floats was nothing short of breathtaking.

This float for The Navy League of Canada in preparations before entering the parade had a friend of mine driving the big truck rig. Photo credit Nick Philips.

You can see the reflection on the road from all the rain that came down during the parade.  One of the differences with the floats now from 50 years ago is the beauty of the Christmas lights.

Photo credit Sue Sgambati. Image Source

There is one thing that has not changed and that is the innocence of little children.  I marvelled with awe and wonder as I subtly observed them around me at the parade, waiting with a quiet anticipation for the arrival of Santa Claus. They did this for over an hour in the pouring rain. Some were sitting on curbs, others firmly standing beside mom or dad.  The temperature was only 3 Celsius.

Amazed by the little children quietly waiting for over an hour in the rain.

It has me wondering what the next fifty years will be like.  With instant technology we live in a world that is so much smaller and children are growing up so much faster. In our heart of hearts we want our children and grandchildren to inherit a world that is as good if not better than what we enjoy now.  But there is a lot at stake.

Our children and grandchildren are going to inherit a planet from the choices we are making today! Image source theodysseyonline.com

From the website “The World Counts” it mentions on average every human uses sixteen kilograms of resources extracted from the earth every day in the form of metal, fossil energy and minerals.  This is putting enormous pressure on the earth’s remaining natural resources.

Image Source futurism.com

In the last 45 years the demand for earth’s natural resources has doubled.  There are two main contributing factors to this.  The first is rising living standards in rich and emerging countries.  More products consumed equals more natural resources extracted. The second is increasing world population.

Photo credit Tyssul Patel. Image Source quotefancy.com

Fifty years ago the term “recycling” was unheard of on the farm where I grew up. Yeah we fixed things, tried to make products last longer.  But eventually a product reaches the end of it’s life whether it was a kitchen stove or a tin can.  Then it was hauled off to the dump to be disposed of. And more natural resources would have to be extracted from the earth to produce a new stove or another tin can.

Recycling reduces the waste sent to landfills.  It conserves natural resources.  It reduces energy to make new products from recycled material compared with raw natural material. It reduces the impact on the environment.  As we think of gifts for our children and grandchildren this Christmas let us put a better world on the top of our list. This is my Christmas wish. Let’s be diligent as we reduce, reuse and recycle. “All of us should be involved in our own futures to create a world our children will want to live in” ~Harry Chapin~.


Categories: EnvironmentTags: , , , , , ,


  1. Good post. Thank You. Very nice that Santa comes to You. We have to travel to the Arctic Circle. to see him. 🙂

    I agree with Your wish!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Awww, a beautiful Christmas wish Carl! It is is grounding to remember that as much as things change over the years, the innocence of a child and the anticipation and excitement found at Christmas time do not.

    Barrie sounds like a neat place. Cheers my friend! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I had no idea that Barrie was growing so quickly! Hopefully that means lots of opportunity for those in the area. So much has changed over the decades. Great reminders of how we need to take care of our beautiful planet. Calgary just started curbside composting to add to our recycling program. So happy about that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share Sue. A lot of Barrie’s growth has been its proximity to Toronto. It is about an hour away on the main highway. Housing is much cheaper in Barrie and a lot of people commute. Now with commuter train service between Barrie and Toronto more people are settling in Barrie.

      There is a lot of opportunity in Barrie as well. Unemployment is quite low and new companies are coming in regularly to set up.

      So exciting to read about Calgary’s new composting pickup. It diverts so much material in the landfill. In my area we have had it for several years plus leaf pickup in the fall. In the spring we can purchase finished compost from the municipality. It is dirt cheap (pardon the pun).. lol ..I think $10 or $15 a full sized pickup load if you shovel it yourself. And it improves the garden soil so much! It sells out very fast. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Carl, A message we can all get on board with: tradition, celebration, wonder through a child’s eyes, recycling and making the world a better place for our children and grandchildren! As a brand-new grandmother, I agree wholeheartedly with you about reducing, reusing and recycling! Thanks for the reminder that it really does matter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, you a brand new grandmother. Congratulations, this is tremendous. It has not happened, but I am looking forward to when my children have babies and I can be a grand dad. It is quite a different world from when I was born, and I do hope it will be a great world for your grand baby.

      Thank Debbie for taking the time to read and for your generous comment! 🙂


  5. Very nice! I feel I’m officially a Barrie constituent now! And as Tricia said hopefully the innocent joy of Christmas for children won’t be lost they way so much has been damaged for kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope as time passes, we make sure that in spite of all the updates and progress and modernisation, we hold on to the spirit of this season which is timeless. Incidentally, we have officially used half of the world’s available natural resources, and are digging into the supplies reserves for the future generations… and fast approaching the mark of no return. I hope we take note and take immediate action!
    On a happier note, Merry Christmas to You and your family 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am sorry Prajakta, I am sincerely sorry I somehow missed your comment from 8 months ago. It is scary to envision what kind of world the younger generations are going to inherit. Hopefully we can change our way of thinking before it is too late.


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