April 21st, 2017
Ray Mulholland is known by his colleagues for his role as a top-notch supervisor at the Chalmers Hospital parking facility in Fredericton.
What many people don’t know is that Ray plays another prominent role in the community.
Ray is Tinsel the Clown, known for his mastery of the magic of balloon manipulation.
In 1966, Ray joined the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corp in New Brunswick and spent the next 29 years serving in the Canadian forces. During this time, Ray was posted in Germany from 1977-81—a time that he recalls as the best four years of his life.
The legend of Tinsel was born before that time in Germany.
Ray was posted in Summerside, PEI during the early-1970s where he oversaw welcoming newcomers to the town. Eventually, the newcomers started asking about having a Halloween dance. Ray obliged. He and his wife perfected two clown costumes for the occasion and ended up winning a prize for best costume at the dance.
Ray later used the costume at his children’s birthday parties, ensuring that each day was filled with joy and laughter. He even took part in Santa Claus parades and parties on request. However, it wasn’t until 1983 that the name Tinsel emerged.
An interviewer once asked Ray what he called himself when in costume. “I responded by saying that I hadn’t really come up with a name yet,” said Ray. “The reporter exclaimed that I looked like a Christmas tree with all the tinsel that was on my costume. So, I said, let’s go with that.”
The reporter had ended up calling him Christmas the clown, a name which Ray quickly corrected to Tinsel to reflect the silver decoration that defined his unique costume.
Ray retired from the military in 1995 and has been with Commissionaires ever since. His Tinsel alter-ego can be found at the Boyce farmers market from the beginning of April until the end of the summer.
Ray has been awarded the 70th anniversary award of merit for his 21 years of tireless efforts as a commissionaire.
Congratulations Ray! Best of luck at Chalmers Hospital and your continued stardom as Tinsel the clown.