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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  • Harold McNeill

    July 25, 2021 |

    Glad you enjoyed Craig. It was fun researching and writing that particular post. It seems I was in school many years before you, the 1950s to be more precise. Cheers, Harold

  • Craig Patterson

    July 18, 2021 |

    Thank you for sharing this. I grew up in Cold Lake (former town of Grand Centre) and we’d heard many stories over the years. Today I was talking to my Mom about the Kinosoo and I came to this article when I was searching images of the fish — I recall when I was in school in the 80s where was a photo supposedly taken (I think it’s the one of the ice fisherman above).

  • Harold McNeill

    January 15, 2021 |

    Wow, Graham, I was taken by surprise (but then again that’s not too hard). Having all you fine folks (my children by other fathers and mothers) would have been great. I’m hopeful that sometime in the not too distant future, we can reprise that trip. Perhaps we’ll just set aside a time for someone else’s landmark day, and we can surprise them. Love to you two. Harold

  • Graham and Nazanin

    January 15, 2021 |

    How could we miss this historic event my friend!!!
    Nazy and I were booked for that cruise Harold, we were looking so forward to it.
    We will be together soon! We both wish that continued unconditional love you receive from everyone to continue as you are that special someone that makes a difference in this world.
    Happy birthday sir, cheers!

  • Harold McNeill

    January 7, 2021 |

    Glad you found the site and that Dorthy enjoyed. I’ve added a lot of school photos in other locations linked to the High School Years stories. Cheers, Harold

  • Shelley Hamaliuk

    January 2, 2021 |

    Hi there, I am Dorothy Marshall’s (nee Hartman) daughter. Mom was quite excited when she discovered this site while surfing the net yesterday, so excited that she told me to have a look! She quite enjoyed taking a trip down memory and seeing old pictures of herself.Keep up the great work!

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.