Tragedy Narrowly Averted on Leney Place

Written by Harold McNeill on December 13th, 2015. Posted in Christmas Stories

Santa Crash on Leney Place

December, 2015. Crash Scene (AP File Photo) Before anyone panics and begins speculating about what caused the crash on Leney Place last week, please read the following information outlined in another version of The Night Before Christmas. It provides a few answers that should alleviate your immediate concerns. Some think it was pilot error (as usual), but it seems the weather played a large roll.

Summary of Known Details

One night last week, all through our house,
No creature was stirring not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

With Lynn in her ‘kerchief’, and I in my cap,
Having just settled down for a long winter’s nap.
Little Lexi curled between us so cozy in bed,
While visions of dog treats danced in her head.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew in a flash,
Tore open the curtains and threw up the sash.

A storm that was brewing over the past several days,
Had claimed its first victims, our Santa and sleigh.
The little old driver not so lively and quick,
Yet I knew in a moment it must be our Nick.

His poor little coursers, he called them by name,
Were piled in a heap by the end of the lane.
I asked him what had happened, he replied in great pain,
“Practicing landings, new coursers to train”.

“The cross winds were vicious and the gusts not so tame,
A shrub caught one runner and down we all came.”
The trees and the ruts they told a sad tail,
What happens when Santa lands on one rail.

Joy and Noel held their ground in good grace,
Feared they’d be gone with barely a trace.
The police and the fire down the street they came,
Thinking they’d have to put out a flame.

St. Nicholas was hurt but he would not quit,
Called his reindeer together as all were still fit.
“Come team, we can’t let kids down,
We must pull together for our next practice round”.

“Up, Dasher! Up, Dancer! Up Prancer and Vixen!
Come Comet and Cupid, help Donner and Blitzen!
Head for the woodshed then over the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

The two of us stood there, totally amazed,
As Santa and reindeer disappeared in the haze
In the morning we woke, the sun shining down,
We thought we’d been dreaming, after a night on the town.

I looked out the window and saw it was true,
St. Nicolas had crashed, but saved all his crew.
Each night you can see them, but be here by ten,
Or you’ll miss them till next day as their tucked in their pen.

Now over the holidays if you have time,
Drop by the McNeill’s for a glass of mulled wine.

“Merry Christmas to all,
And to all a good night.”

Harold and Lynn
Santa’s Workshop Experience
4402 Leney Place, Victoria, BC, 2015

More Christmas Stories of Christmas’s Past can be viewed in the
Christmas Category

Julie Coles and Family

December 2015.  Julie and Curly, were over visiting Santa’s Workshop a couple days before the accident
and were shocked to learn how close Santa came to missing this seasons run. In this photo they pose with four of their grandchildren and a visiting friend. Left to Right: (Back) Julie, Kyle, Kenyon (Front) Alex, Jasmine, and Sophia.


Part of the scene after it was cleaned up the next day.  Santa and the deer stand ready and waiting to complete at least two dozen more practice runs before heading out on Christmas Eve. Santa told me the reason for practicing grassy landings was because of all the apartment buildings now having converted the tops to green space.  He felt that had a mistake such as caused this accident had happened on a High Rise, neither he nor his team would survive.
Note for visitors:  This years shop was extended to the back yard as more space was needed to store all the supplies as the worlds population continues to grow.

Other stories about Santa’s Workshop and Christmas, are included in the
Christmas Category


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  • Mike Fedorowich

    September 1, 2023 |

    I have gone through the above noted text and have found it quite informative.
    I am a former member with several law enforcement agencies from across Canada.
    I worked in the First Nations service under the authority of the RCMP with the over sight of the OPP. My law enforcement service was conducted under the authority of the Nishnawbe – Aski Police Service in North West Ontario the Louis Bull Police Sevice in Hobbema AB, the Kitasoo Xaixais Police Service in Northern in side passage on Swindle Island, the Lac Suel Police Service North West Ontario and the Vancouver Transit Authority Sky Train Police Service. I’m presently dealing with an RCMP member for falsifying a report against me for a road rage event. Court case is finished and the charge was dropped but I have an on going complaint with the member and have forwarded to the WATCH DOGS IN OTTAWA FOR the RCMP review and consideration. I believe the said officer is in violation of his oath of office and should be held accountable for falsifying his RTCC all the while dragging me through the court system here in Nanaimo. RCMP continue to stonewall the appeal but Ottawa and the crowns office are still looking into the matter. if your able and find the time or the interest in this very brief introduction, I would very much like to speak with you and would be grateful to hear any wisdom that may come across from your end. I served with First Nations Police Services for ten years in isolation and six years with Transit Police out of New West Minster. I do value and appreciate any time you could spare to chat for a bit on this particular subject matter. Respectfully with out anger but an open mind, Mike Fedorowich Nanaimo BC 250 667 0060

  • Harold McNeill

    February 28, 2022 |

    Hi Robert, I do remember some of those folks from my early years in Cold Lake (Hazel was my aunt and our family spent many fond times with Uncle Melvin, Aunt Hazel and Family. I knew Lawrence and Adrian. Having read a half dozen accounts it is clear their were many false narratives and, perhaps, a few truths along the way. I tried my best to provide an even account from what I read. Cheers, Harold. (email:

  • Robert Martineau

    February 25, 2022 |

    Its been a long time since any post here, but its worth a shot. My Grandfather was Hazel Wheelers brother Lawrence, and son to Maggie and Adrien. Maggie Martineau (nee Delaney) is my great grandmother. The books and articles to date are based on the white mans viewpoint and the real story as passed down by the Elders in my family is much more nefarious. Some of the white men were providing food for the Indians in exchange for sexual favors performed by the Squaws. Maggie was the product of one of those encounters. Although I am extremely proud of my family and family name, I am ashamed about this part of it.

  • Julue

    January 28, 2022 |

    Good morning Harold!
    Gosh darn it, you are such a good writer. I hope you have been writing a book about your life. It could be turned into a movie.
    Thanks for this edition to your blog.
    I pray that Canadians will keep their cool this weekend and next week in Ottawa. How do you see our PM handling it? He has to do something and quick!
    Xo Julie

  • Herb Craig

    December 14, 2021 |

    As always awesome job Harold. It seems whatever you do in life the end result is always the same professional, accurate, inclusive and entertaining. You have always been a class act and a great fellow policeman to work with. We had some awesome times together my friend. I will always hold you close as a true friend. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you this summer.
    Warm regards
    Herb Craig

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Hi Dorthy, So glad you found those stories and, yes, they hold many fond memories. Thanks to social media and the blog, I’ve been able to get in touch with many friends from back in the day. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Well, well. Pleased to see your name pop up. I’m in regular contact via FB with many ‘kids’ from back in our HS days (Guy, Dawna, Shirley and others). Also, a lot of Cold Lake friends through FB. Cheers, Harold

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Oh, that is many years back and glad you found the story. I don’t have any recall of others in my class other than the Murphy sisters on whose farm my Dad and Mom worked.

  • Harold McNeill

    November 26, 2021 |

    Pleased to hear from you Howie and trust all is going well. As with you, I have a couple of sad stories of times in my police career when I crossed paths with Ross Barrington Elworthy. Just haven’t had the time to write those stories.

  • Howie Siegel

    November 25, 2021 |

    My only fight at Pagliacci’s was a late Sunday night in 1980 (?) He ripped the towel machine off the bathroom wall which brought me running. He came after me, I grabbed a chair and cracked him on the head which split his skull and dropped him. I worried about the police finding him on the floor. I had just arrived from Lasqueti Island and wasn’t convinced the police were my friends. I dragged him out to Broad and Fort and left him on the sidewalk, called the cops. They picked him up and he never saw freedom again (as far as I know). I found out it was Ross Elworthy.