Memorable Manitobans: Christopher Naylor “Santa Claus” Kendall (1878-1960)
Born at Searby, Lincolnshire, England, one of eight children of Samuel Kendall and Mary Jane Elizabeth Kendall, he came to Manitoba around 1903 where he farmed for a time. He moved to Australia in 1922 but, in 1935, he returned to Winnipeg and, aside from two years spent studying for the ministry at an American college, lived there for the rest of his life.
For 25 years, he sold newspapers at the corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street, retiring in 1959. He was nicknamed “Santa Claus” for his friendly demeanour, thick beard and close physical resemblance to Kris Kringle. Despite his public popularity, he lived alone in a small apartment with 43 alarm clocks, a huge pendulum clock, and four well-thumbed bibles.
He died unmarried at his Winnipeg apartment, #2-562 Sargent Avenue, on 3 May 1960 and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.
“Chris N. Kendall, local Santa, dead”, Winnipeg Tribune, 4 May 1960. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B12, page 14]
“Portage and Main’s ‘Santa Claus’ dies”, Winnipeg Free Press, 4 May 1960. [Manitoba Legislative Library, Biographical Scrapbook B12, page 14]
We thank Maurice Kendall for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 4 December 2011