Who would have ever thought that a small town like Port Alberni could hold such a large event as the Toy Run has become.
Many years have passed and we would like to thank past Toy Run members, all merchants who donated to the cause and most of all, to all the riders who came out rain or shine or snow to participate and made it the success it has become (for if not for them the Toy Run would not have come into existence in the valley).
In the pages to follow, you can scroll back through time from the present to the very first Toy Run of Port Alberni.
It all began when a few people got together one day and decided that if other motorcyclists can make kids happy, why don't we do the same. So, with the help of some of our local merchants and the support from the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) and the Salvation Army, it all came together to become the amazing annual event it is now.
We had good weather, with 1,100 bikes and many vendors showing up to a very successful weekend. It is worth noting that the Port Alberni Toy Run is now the largest Toy Run event in British Columbia.
Every 3rd weekend of September, Santa Claus (aka Gerard Jansen) leads a growing pack of bikes from Qualicum Falls through Port Alberni ending at Glenwood Center. In 2005 approximately 750 bikes rode through town carrying toys (Approximately $18,000 worth) for the children of Port Alberni to have Christmas time. Early risers partaked of a $2 breakfast at the Fanny Bay Inn before heading to Qualicum Falls. The bikers met at Qualicum Falls for registration, refreshments and an array of goodies. Leading Santa into town was the DARE car which was then taken over by the RCMP. Once they reached Glenwood Center there was children activities for all, bike games for the daring and a beer garden for the thirsty adults. Gallons of chili and hot dogs awaited their arrival. Children activities (which is all free for the children) vary from guessing the bean count, bounce around, face painting, fish pond, bean bag toss to cotton candy, popcorn and refreshments. Adult bike games included such games as the plank ride, potato in the haystack, wiennie bite, obstacle race and the barrel race to name a few. In the evening there was a dance of non stop music by Chevy Ray and the Fins, and The Maloomba Boogie band. And a pig roast for those who were hungry. Sunday morning started off with a pancake breakfast at 8 am and a poker run at 9 am. A nice refreshing ride through town and out to Taylor flats and back ending at the Arlington Pub. The poker hand winners were announced plus many draws of other prizes accompanied by live music. A very Big THANK YOU to all who participate and the businesses of Port Alberni who help makes this special event happen. Port Alberni Toy Run 2006
Approximately $51,600 raised. All monies raised stayed within the regional district.
2001 was a great year for the 17th annual Port Alberni Toy Run. Our run has become one of the best-attended and fun events of the summer. We saw approximately 600 plus bikes and the sun couldn’t have shone brighter. Many riders were able to enjoy the breakfast the Fanny Bay Inn put on (and donated the proceeds to us) before they head down island. This also, is an annual event. The ride in from Little Qualicum Falls was uneventful but exciting as the people of Port Alberni rallied round and came out to cheer on this wonderful parade of bikes. Santa led the parade behind the DARE car escort into town, where the police escort took over. Arriving at Glenwood is always exciting – right away the children’s events began, the beer gardens and the Show N’ Shine began as we gave everyone time to look around, fill up on the chilli and dogs, shop for T-shirts, etc. while we got ready for the adult bike games. The afternoon passed quickly with the winners of the Show N’ Shine being announced. The list of winners was as follows: Best American Bike was Tony Bryant from Quadra Island; Farthest Rider – Marj Rex from Bellingham, Washington; Best Oldest Bike was a ’36 HD owned by Dave Young of Burnaby; Santa’s Choice was a bike registered by Mike Burrows; Best Rat Bike was Herbie Cunningham known as “Herbie Two Hawgs”. If you are just reading this and haven’t claimed your trophy, please do so before you leave this year. The dance was well attended. The music by Howie and the Hot Rods and The Fly Bye Feelers was great – attested by the fact that the dance floor was always packed. We had a good turn out for the Shriner’s Pancake Breakfast and the Poker Run wound up at the Arlington Hotel. There the Island Express and numerous attendees entertained us while the raffles were being held. The best Poker Hand won $650 and the Arlington raffled off a man’s leather vest and again donated the proceeds to the Toy Run. Helped out by Dan and Val’s (Arlington owners) generous donation of our beer served for our beer garden and dance we had a great year.
All thanks to our riders and fellow townsmen who so generously donate. We never forget that this wonderful weekend of events, that literally begin to form for next year’s event as soon as this one ends, is put on by a dedicated group of people, supported by a wonderful array of businesses and more people and is done “For the Kids”. Thanks to you one and all.
- Hospital Foundation $16,000, to build a children’s play house (this was saved over three years)
- Rebuilt a Little Tyke’s park in partnership with Parks and Recreation ($18,000 was our share)
- $7000 worth of toys to the Sally Ann for their Christmas drive, plus $15,000 to the Salvation Army and numerous other groups in town
The year 2000 was another successful run for us. The number of participants seems to grow every year and this year was no different. The weather was great, the event was well attended both days and the community and visitors came through with an outstanding donation netting the community about $25,000. as well as an unprecented number of toys. The children's events were a lot of fun for all, the beer gardens and bike games went well and fun was had by all. Unfortunately, our Show 'N Shine did not pan out as the judges did not show but everything else went off without a hitch. The Fanny Bay Inn provided those riders from up-island once more with a pancake breakfast and they in turn donated their proceeds of $500. to us. The dance was a great success with Howie and the Hot Rods and The Missing Lincolns providing non-stop music and Pete and Colleen Pelletier did a fine job roasting the pig and dishing it up for the hot and hungry dancers. The Shriners did a fine job with the morning after pancake breakfast and everyone left for the Poker Run with a full tummy. The weekend was finished in grand style at the Arli hotel where everyone turned in their poker hands hoping to win the big pot. It was won by "Erni" from Port Alberni but there were many other prizes won by those who stayed to listen to Island Express entertain for many hours. A great ending to a great year. We cannot thank our volunteers, our community as a whole, the staff at the Arli, our members, and most of all our riders for making this year such a success. Aside from our many charities that we try to support, we presented the West Coast General Hospital with $16,000. to be used to supply the children's lounge in the new hospital with entertaining equipment (we have been adding to this money for 3 years) and we also rebuilt a young tykes playground with some up-to-date equipment worth about $18,000. We supplied the Salvation Army with many thousands of dollars worth of toys, $2500. worth of food for their hampers as well as provided a free Christmas roller blade party for the children of Port Alberni where we gave away a 10-speed bike. We worked with Parks and Recreation at Easter donating time and money for their festivities and we look forward to another fun filled year.
A side from our many charities that we try to support, we presented the West Coast General Hospital with $16,000 to be used to supply the children's lounge in the new hospital with entertaining equipment (we have been adding to this money for 3 years) Members volunteered to also rebuilt a young tykes playground with some up-to-date equipment worth about $18,000. We supplied the Salvation Army with many thousands of dollars worth of toys, $2500. worth of food for their hampers as well as provided a free Christmas roller blade party for the children of Port Alberni where we gave away a 10-speed bike. We worked with Parks and Recreation at Easter donating time and money for their festivities and we look forward to another fun filled year.
1999 was another successful Toy Run, and being our 15th anniversary, it was special to us. There was a record number of bikes - so much so, that we lost count somewhere over the 500 mark. We had our usual parade, headed by Gerald Janssen, watched over by Ace Flagging, and enjoyed by many onlookers. The sight around Harbour Quay was awesome as the bikes went around the fountain and headed up Argyle Street. With our many activities beginning with our information days at Quality Foods and Canadian Tire, we kept busy throughout the year. Our booth at the Kart Races was most popular and for the first time, following the Fall Fair Parade, we had a booth at the Fair itself. Our free raffles were popular and we had many visitors stop to chat. Our president, Scot Loudon, spent an afternoon in ‘jail’ raising money for the Kuu-Us-Crisis Line and in return, they held a thank-you luncheon for the city that we attended. The weather was great for the Bike Games, participation was good and while these were happening, the children were being fed and entertained inside. We had a record year for daytime attendance and CJAV was on the spot, adding to the festivities. Our dance featured Howie and the Hot Rods and Rocket “88”. Both bands offered great dancing, the Navy League tended the bar, and Fir Park Village offered their bus and a driver for our Designated Driver Program. Our raffle was a winner for Lynn McKay who took home first prize of the Harley rocker, donated and built at the High School Woodworking program. This year the builder was Tyler Schwartz. Second prize was a cedar chest built and donated by Nobby’s Wooden Toys. Tami Matheson took that home and Geraldine Carter took home one ceramic plate while Ron Williams won the other. Pete Pelletier, along with wife Colleen, spent the day watching a pig cook to perfection on his giant grill. This was ready about 9:30 p.m. as the dance was under way. The response to this ‘pig in a bun’ was overwhelming and by midnight every scrap was gone. The morning after Shriner’s Breakfast was very well attended, after which 125 riders took part in the Poker Run, finishing up at the Arlington Hotel for an afternoon of prizes and entertainment provided by Island Express. Closer to Christmas, we also hosted a free movie matinee for the kids as well as a free afternoon of roller blading. We hope to make these events an annual affair. Our fundraising efforts paid off as local merchants, citizens and our out-of-town guests were very generous. After all was said and done, we had close to $20,000 for distribution and two large truck loads of toys. Once again we added to our hospital fund, bringing that total up to $15,000 which we will use to supply and decorate the children’s waiting lounge of the new hospital. The Bread of Life, Boy Scouts, Big Brothers/Sisters, Dry Grad, P.A. Bandits, Community Kitchens and Outreach Therapy are some of the beneficiaries of our donations. The past three years we have contributed close to $50,000 in monies, as well as food for Christmas hampers and toys for the children of the valley. We have to thank our loyal riders who show up year after year, bringing their welcome presence, distributing their wealth into our local hotels and restaurants and being part of this great event.
- Citizen’s Advocacy $100;
- Community Kitchens $500;
- Kiwanis $50;
- A.V. Wrestlers $500;
- Kuu-Us Crisis Line $500;
- Alberni Minor Softball $500;
- Dry Grad $300;
- Crossfire Youth $150;
- Hospital Activity Book $171;
- Navy League $600;
- A.V. Search and Rescue $50;
- Rugby Club $50;
- Salvation Army $2500 plus approx. $6500 in toys;
- Gizeh Arab Motor Patrol $690;
- Parksville Toy Run $100;
- P.A. Bandits $600;
- Bread of Life $1000;
- Fir Park Village $250;
- DARE program $200;
- Big Brothers & Big Sisters $400;
- Rainbows program $250;
- Outreach Therapy $2200;
- Variety Club 140;
- Parks and Recreation’s Easter Program $600;
- Beaver Creek Elementary PAC $500;
- Bike Rodeo $130;
- Hospital fund (children’s lounge) $4800.
(Dedicated in Loving Memory of Nana Rose)
This Toy Run was a special one in that aside from the 500 odd bikes hat rode, there were two weddings in the Grove as Lisa and Chris, Robin and Willie ( Toy Run members) tied the knot before hopping on their bikes for the ride through town to Glenwood Centre. Ace Flagging assured a smooth ride with Santa, aka MLA Gerald Janssen, leading the entourage until the last hundred yards when the Army Cadet's Pipe Band took over with their great parade past Glenwood into the parking lot. Mayor Gillian Trumper was on hand to greet everyone and kick off another year of festivities. There was a special presentation from the Eagle's Ladies Auxiliary as they had collected $1000 for our Christmas Fund. The Fanny Bay Inn presented the proceeds from their breakfast that Dave organizes every year for our riders coming from up Island. The weather co-operated as the food and drink was distributed and children's activities got under way. The ever popular fish pond, face painting booth, craft's table, balloon table and cotton candy booth were kept busy as the line-ups seemed to be never-ending. Raffle tickets went fast as did T-shirts, pins and magnets. The bike games were a great success as many riders competed for prizes. The judging of bikes saw many receive trophies as well. As the beer gardens and afternoon games wound down, we began setting up for the evening dance. Music by Howie and the Hot Rods and the Maloomba Boogie Band kept everyone on their feet. Lisa and Robyn, our two brides, tossed their bouquets during a break as the bands switched for another hour of great rock and roll. Our designated driver program worked well as Fir Park Village took care of that end for us, providing safe sober rides for those who chose to take advantage of this service. The raffle - 1st prize the traditional Harley Rocker, 2nd prize a beautiful print were won by Cheryl Hamilton and Sharon Lamontagne respectively. Both women are from Port Alberni. Other prizes were won by Norman Moore and Ron Dick, both men also from Port Alberni. The hope chest, built and donated by Nobby's Wooden Toys, was won by Bob Blair of Port Alberni. Sunday morning saw the Shriner's serving pancakes and coffee to many as they readied themselves for the day. The Poker Run, organized by Larry Rose, was a great success, with the highest hand taking home $640.. Many other prizes were handed out as riders checked in at the Arlington Hotel for the last goodbye to a wonderfully successful Toy Run.
- Total of $14,601.65
- A.V.Wrestlers $700
- Navy League $650
- Bread of Life $1000
- Shriners $750
- Fir Park Village $250
- Big Brothers and Sisters $300
- Citizen's Advocacy $75
- Crossfire Youth $250
- P. A. Community Kitchens $50
- Rainbows $1000
- Outreach Therapy $4000
- Hospital in Trust $3500
- Crisis Line $50
- Boy Scouts $1000
- A.V.Minor Softball $500
- Bike Rodeo $125
- Dry Grad $300
- RCMP Gateway to Safety $101.65