Toronto to Montreal by Bike

Published 02, Aug, 2012
Author // Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy reports from Gananoque, Ontario where he catches up with the men and women of Friends for Life, the 623 km bike rally from Toronto to Montreal that's a fundraiser for the Toronto PWA Foundation.

Toronto to Montreal by Bike

Gananoque, Ontario  is a historic little town on the banks of Lake Ontario where it narrows in to the St Lawrence River,  just east of Kingston.  It’s known as the gateway  to the Thousand Islands, which means it attracts a large and steady stream of visitors in the summer months who come to view the natural beauty of the area.  But even with all those tourists it somehow remains a sleepy spot – old Ontario towns are like that – particularly the park in the centre of town.

But that park was alive with visitors of a different kind this past Wednesday, as 284 brightly dressed cyclists descended on it, the site of the mid morning break on Day 4 of their 623 kilometre rally from Toronto to Montreal.  They had left Toronto three days earlier, had stayed over at Kingston the night before and were now on route to Johnstown, their destination for the night

It's a massive affair this, a travelling circus of all those riders, plus 120 support staff, medical and catering crews, clearly planned to the last detail, so that it’s as smooth sailing as a 623km bike ride can be for its participants.  They seemed a cheerful bunch,  sporting a mass of red and white jerseys, with a sprinkling of feathers, jewels – and lots of spandex. I’m not sure what the residents of Gananoque thought of them.

It’s all for a good cause.  Each rider raises a minimum of $2,200 in order to participate, with some riders raising well over that and one illustrious man raising close to $50,000. Altogether the ride has raised $1.15 million this year  - and counting.

It was great to be able to connect with this group of dedicated individuals making their way through Southern Ontario in  oppressively hot weather,  and I was extra- lucky to be able to snag affable vent co-chair Tim Ledger for this chat.

For more information visit the Friends for Life website or to learn more about the Toronto PWA Foundation which benefits from this, their largest fundraiser, go here

About the Author

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Award-winning blogger Bob Leahy first made his social media mark a decade ago on where there are still to this day almost 3,000 entries of his available to be read. He was a featured blogger on Ontario’s campaign, along with founder Brian Finch. He joined at its inception in 2009 and became it's Editor a year later.

Born in the UK, Bob’s background is in corporate banking, which he gladly left in 1994, after being diagnosed with HIV the previous year.  He has chaired the board of PARN (Peterborough AIDS Resource Network) and has been an executive board member of both the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) and the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS).  He was inducted in to the Ontario AIDS Network’s Honour Roll in 2005.  Bob is currently a member of Ontario’s GMSH (Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance). He also writes for

In 2012, Bob was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his work and commitment to HIV/AIDS in Canada.

Bob continues to write for this site while in the Positivelite.Com editor’s seat, with a particular interest  in HIV prevention, theatre and the arts in general. He is accredited media for a number of Toronto theatres. He lives in Warkworth, Ontario with his partner of thirty-two years and three dogs.