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 PositivelIte.com 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.