Alumni Profile: Sandy Milroy '74

Marketing Communications Professional

Great ideas can be born anywhere and at any time. Sandy Milroy’s brain child - the Skate with Santa event – actually got its start in a bar. In 1982, while enjoying the company of his wife and friends at Christmastime, Sandy’s thoughts turned to children who don’t receive gifts during the holiday season and decided that he wanted to help. Then and there, he began the collection and, with money contributed by other patrons, bought a few toys and gave them to a church. But he thought he could do more. The following year, he collaborated with bars and hosted events. The concept was this: anyone who brought in a toy received a free drink.

And so, it grew.

In the early 1990s, Sandy’s toy collection moved to the LCC skating rink, and people have been showing up – toy in hand – to skate with Santa ever since. Sandy also approaches companies who donate as well, all for the benefit of the Montreal Diet Dispensary, an organization whose mandate is to aid in the prevention of low birth weight babies and foster optimal infant health. True to the event’s tagline – Bring Some Joy, Give A Toy – Sandy’s contributions bring smiles to the faces of the children with whom they work.

The initiative is far from a one-man show. The loyal employees of Sandy’s advertising agency, CHM Communications, also lend their support, making phone calls, writing letters, or doing whatever needs to be done.

“Everything we collect goes straight into the children’s hands,” he says. “It’s a powerful thing to be able to affect thousands of people in this way. I believe that if kids have a safe and supportive framework when they’re young, particularly when disadvantaged, they will have a better chance of success.”

In the past two years alone, Sandy estimates that $30K-$50K worth of toys have been donated. His cause has been taken up by LCC as well, with the Junior and Middle Schools running a toy drive for both the Montreal Diet Dispensary and Ogilvy Toy Tea.

Sandy feels that his successes, both in business and in his philanthropic efforts, were, in part, due to the sense of confidence he developed at LCC and a real belief that he could do anything if he put his mind to it. His sons Jack ’09 (Pre-U ’10) and Lee ’16 (Pre-U ’17) also attended the school, allowing Sandy to continue his involvement at LCC as a parent.

To future graduates, he has this piece of advice: “Be open to everything and be a problem solver. If you know how to solve problems you can work anywhere.”


May 2019