Many people don’t realize it, but Mr. Christmas himself is a Montrealer.
Each year, to get his fix of culture and fine dining, Santa Claus spends July and August in his Montreal summer home in the trendy neighborhood of Mile End, where he goes incognito in traditional Hasidic Jewish garb.
Despite the über-busy time of year for Santa, he made a bit of time for The Montreal Buzz to chat over eggnog lattes at juliette & chocolat last weekend.
Who are you?
I am an old man who gives candies to kids.
What do you do?
I run a small toy factory in the northern hemisphere.
Why do you choose Montreal?
Well Montreal is unarguably one of the most romantic destinations in the world. With one foot in Europe and the other in North America, Montreal’s culture, art, diversity and non-conformist creative spirit keep me returning year after year.
And I frickin’ LOVE poutine!
Festival: As you can imagine, I enjoy a good deep belly chuckle, so the Just For Laughs festival is on my itinerary every July!
Restaurant: Up in the North Pole, we try to stick to a 100-mile diet, so we tend to eat a lot of seal blubber. Therefore when I’m in Montreal for the summer, I try to sneak in as many vegetarian dining experiences as possible! A few of my favorite restaurants include Aux Vivres, ChuChai and Crudessence.
Museum: I’m fascinated by urban spaces, so I make sure to visit the Canadian Centre for Architecture on an annual basis. This always gives me insight on redesign options for Santa’s Village. Mrs. Claus sure loves her renovations!
Do you ever think of throwing it all away and retiring on a southern Florida beach?
You must get mistaken for a gay bear quite frequently. How do you deal with this?
Oh, I love the bears, and their affinity for Celine Dion remixes! I take any advances simply as compliments. But ultimately I think Mrs. Claus can attest to the heterosexual sex bomb that I am!
For years there has been gossip circulating around Montreal linking Rudolph with Montreal royalty The Wainwrights. Can you confirm/deny these rumors?
It’s true many people don’t realize that Rudolph is indeed a Wainwright, but I’m not at liberty to disclose the complete genetic lineage. I can say, however, that Rufus and Rudolph have put past animosities behind them and are currently collaborating on a mockumentary musical entitled “Rudy Garland.”
Many people don’t realize that American Apparel™ creator Dov Charney is from Montreal. Have you thought about implementing similar sweatshop free labor laws as Dov in your own factory?
Well the thing about elves is that they’re workaholics by nature. If they had their way, they’d work 24-hours a day, forgetting to eat and slowly starving themselves into an early, miserable grave. At Santa’s Village we give elves a structured environment where they are able to work AND survive. It is absolutely ethical.
On occasion, I even bring an elf to pass the summer with me in Montreal. William Shattner was one of these elves. He’s an example of an elf that has semi-successfully transitioned to life as a functional, yet awkward, human being. Unfortunately, however, his workaholic tendencies remain and he just won’t retire.
Any tips for folks thinking of taking a trip to Montreal?
Go. You’ll fall in love with the place.
And if you’ve been before, choose a different season and go again. It’s never the same city across the seasons.
Oh yes, and try the Amphibus! It’s a riot!