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Century-old Christmas tradition lives on in Schumacher, Ontario (8 photos)

'Seeing the community come together 102 years running is quite remarkable'
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SCHUMACHER — Grave Evans knew tonight was going to be awesome.

Opening her gift at the F.W. Schumacher Christmas Gift Fund confirmed it.

“I wanted that, for my whole life,” exclaimed Grace as she unwrapped her new Barbie horse set.

Throughout the McIntyre ballroom, there were similar cries of excitement as children who live in Schumacher uncovered an early Christmas present.

Just before the doors opened at 6 p.m., people lined the stairs to the entrance of the community centre waiting to get inside where, for the 102nd year, kids received gifts courtesy of the F.W. Schumacher Christmas Gift Fund.

While Mr. Schumacher died more than 60 years ago, the fund he created to buy presents for elementary school-aged children is still giving back.

When Schumacher Volunteer Fire Department Captain Mark Johnston was little, he remembers receiving a hockey stick.

“That was a big one,” he said, adding other years he unwrapped board games or remote-control cars.  

“It always brought the community together,” he said. “It was a source of pride for the town.”

These days, Johnston is the one helping dole out the smiles.

Through the years, the funding for the presents has remained the same, however the Schumacher Volunteer Fire Department is the group making sure the presents are bought, wrapped and ready to hand out.

“Most of the firemen here grew up in Schumacher, most of them received gifts…it’s part of giving back and carrying on the tradition,” he said.

“Seeing the community come together 102 years running is quite remarkable.”

— TimminsToday