‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all throughout MaRS,
Not a creature was stirring, not even those parking cars.
Many funding proposals were hung ’cross the Atrium with care,
In hopes that fresh contracts soon would be there.

The MaRSians were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of holidays danced in their heads.
And Ilse in her kerchief and Euan in his cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

When up on the roof there arose such a clatter,
MaRSians sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
(Yes, in this poem, MaRSians sleep at their desks,
“Well, that’s just what it feels like,” said many—in jest.)

The moon hanging low over the Heritage Building roof,
Bathed the bees with soft moonlight as quietly they snoozed.
When, what to the MaRSians wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so sad and heartsick,
They wondered if this really could be St. Nick.
About as fast as the streetcar his coursers they came,
And he sighed and he grumbled, and called them by name.

“(Sigh.) Now, DASHER! Now, DANCER! Yeah, PRANCER and VIXEN!
You too, COMET! And CUPID! Yeah you, DONDER and BLITZEN!
Let’s get this job done, as best as we can!
It’s likely the last time they’ll see this old man.”

Santa heaved his sack o’er his weary shoulders,
And dropped to the Café, a sad sight to beholders.
He was met by a cluster of MaRSians, no longer sedate,
All worried as to why Santa was in such a state.

“What’s the matter?” they cried. “Are you ill? Are you frail?”
“No,” replied Santa, “it’s all about e-tail!
I just can’t compete with online shopping,
And soon drones will replace my reindeers’ roof hopping.”

“Wait just one minute,” cried a voice, taking control.
“Isn’t it true that Canada just claimed the North Pole?
So, surely helping Santa is part of our job,
We can fix this—bring on the whole mob!”

“Now, first there’s some paperwork—to help us help you,
Just fill in this intake form so we’ll know what to do.”
Santa pulled out his iPad and quickly provided the info.
“Now, what’s next?” he wanted to know.

“Well,” said the associates, “we first have to decide,
If you’re worthy of all that MaRS can provide.”
They huddled together and quickly conferred,
Their answer was “Yes!”—to say “No” would be absurd!

First Allison’s folks went to work, this elf to assure.
“Santa,” they said, “you’re a social entrepreneur!
Your bottom line’s happiness, pure and simple,
Society’s payoff is smiles (even some with a dimple).

“We can finance your business with social impact bonds,
And you’re probably a B Corp—we’ll see how Joyce responds.
Now we’ll have to determine your impact, in terms quantitative,
I’ll just bet Joe’s gang can get metrics sooo authoritative.”

Salim and his team knew what to do with these signs,
“You’ve got to pivot old friend, you must change with the times.
We know about online and how to compete,
We’ll torque your business plan ’till it sings oh-so sweet.

“Your market advantage is that you give things away,
But not a freemium model—with you, it’s first one must pay.
One has to be good,
Before Santa shows up on his sleigh.

“But with your price advantage and some savvy social media,
There’s no reason at all why you can’t be Boss again, real speedy(a).
We just have to convince children, of something we all know,
What you reap in this world, depends on what you sow.”

Then the comms team chimed in—“We can help too,
Although we have to admit that you have a good PR crew.
But ‘Ho, ho, ho,’ that’s just so terribly lame,
We think ‘Yo, yo, yo,’ will get you back in the game.”

“But,” Santa said, “I’ve a problem unstated,
My elves are all old—frankly, dilapidated.”
“But we’ve got that covered, we train eager beavers,
Youth entrepreneurship, Studio Y and MaRS Future Leaders.”

Said the MaRSians, “Let’s see what we’ve got,
A better business model, new staff. What have we forgot?”
“Well,” Santa said, “there’s one last thing, since you’re on a roll,
It’s awfully crowded in my shop way up at the North Pole!”

“Ahhhhhhhh,” exclaimed the MaRSians as one,
“Have we got some space—we won’t be outdone.
Just how many floors would you like for your team?
Phase II is just perfect to round out this dream.”

The twinkle returned to Santa’s dull eyes,
And a spring came to his step as he began to arise.
“I’m leaving here,” he said, “feeling better than ever,
I guess it’s true what they say—MaRS can help any endeavour!”

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ’ere he drove out of sight,
…tweet hashtag marssanta…
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

*with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore

Tony Redpath

Tony Redpath mentored entrepreneurs at MaRS, with a particular emphasis on environmental, advanced materials and manufacturing markets. His primary role was to ensure that MaRS has the right programs in place to help companies take their ideas to market and that these programs are working together. See more…