Meet Stuart Carver, Santa’s 92-year-old alter ego in Nova Scotia
Meredith MacLeod, with a report by CTV Atlantic's Bruce Frisko
Published Monday, December 10, 2018 6:22PM EST
Stuart Carver is fully decked out … almost.
“Santa Claus is coming to town,” he chuckles, donning his white-brimmed red hat.
The 92-year-old Chester Grant, N.S. resident has been playing Ol’ Saint Nick for more than 20 years.
His partner of 25 years, Linda Allen, a.k.a. Mrs. Claus, is baking mincemeat pies in the kitchen of the home they share overlooking Hennigar Lake on the south shore of Nova Scotia.
Carver, who sports an entirely natural white beard, a full head of hair and bushy eyebrows, is widely known for his December alter ego.
“So I go down to the legion in Chester in the middle of summer and they greet me as ‘Hey, here comes Santa.”
His eyes even twinkle as he laughs. Carver looks more like his North Pole alter ego every year.
“It fills you with such joy, you know to see the happiness on their faces,” Allen says of the children who visit with Santa. “And he sparkles. He just sparkles. He is Santa Claus, you know, in every sense of the word.”
Carver even has a workshop, where he spends about 20 per cent of his time. It’s not big enough for elves or global-scale toy-building but there he carves wood, does other woodworking projects, and makes maple syrup in the spring.
And he’s plenty busy in December, with breakfasts with Santa, getting photos taken, and listening to Christmas wishes. He doesn’t charge anything for his appearances, preferring to support charities.
Carver’s proudest appearance comes at Bonny Lea Farm, an independent living centre for special needs youth and adults, where he hands out Christmas presents. Carver began a pool tournament when he was 80 that raises thousands of dollars each year for the centre.
Carver -- who points out that he shares initials with the big guy himself -- is also mischievous.
“Kids are wonderful. But we get a lot of people. I got the women all sitting on my knee. I don’t mind that,” he laughs.
Greg Carver, a fitness coach and speaker in Toronto, says his dad has played Santa for as long as he can remember. Each summer, he starts growing his beard and hair to look the part come December.
“Putting on the red suit makes my father so happy. He’s perfectly comfortable being in the spotlight, and he clearly loves it,” the younger Carver wrote in a blog in December 2016. He attributes his dad’s health and longevity to spreading good cheer, doing something he loves and staying physically active.
“My father would say it’s the most enjoyable job ever. No wonder he’s practically in character throughout the whole season, along with the jollies and ‘ho-ho-ho’s.’”