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.
It was a beautiful day in Port Alberni when more than a hundred and twenty riders did their run all over again. All enthusiasts of every make, model of motorcycle arrived at Cathedral Grove. They were welcomed by the Black Powder Club with coffee, hot chocolate, homemade cookies and fresh donuts (from the Donut Shop).
The sun shone brightly on the bikers parade as they all proceeded en route to Port Alberni (with the R.C.M.P. as escorts). There were people all along the route through town cheering on the warm hearted bikers bearing Christmas gifts for the need children of Port Aberni. As everyone arrived at the Fall Fair grounds they were greeted by the Salvation Army band playing "Warriors True".
As everyone got settled into the Kin Hut. filling their bellies with hot dogs, bowls of chili and liquid refreshments, they found ways to warm the chilled bodies.
The entertainment started with the Clown College playing games of all sorts with the children, painting faces and making balloon animals. Once the kids were happy, the adults started their bike games, ranging from the dart/hoop/ball toss, plank and pylon run to the basketball and flag drop. After all the games were finished, presentations were made, toys were loaded into the Salvation Army van and all those who stood about with a grin from ear to ear, applauded to the great success they had that year. We more than doubled in every aspect of the run, especially the warm hearted participants and merchants.
As the day's events cane to an end the kids went home full of food, goodies and lots of prizes. The adults dance to the wee hours of the night to some local musical talent. With the night coming to an end, some people moved on for last call at many of the local drinking establishments. Most of the bikers took advantage of the bike security available at the Kin Hut and the Somass Hotel.
The next morning the doors opened to a sausage and pancake breakfast sponsored by Hertel Meats. Everyone mingled around the various swap tables that ranged from new and used bike parts to local crafts.
375 toys to the Salvation Army plus $1,225.87.
In the second year, the same bunch of good natured people along with a few enthusiastic newcomers started plans early in the year to get more activities happening. We decided to make the ride a little more scenic by starting the run from the rest stop in Cathedral Grove. The route from the Grove took us down Johnston Street to Gertrude Street/Stamp Avenue/3rd Avenue to Kingsway and around the water fountain at Harbour Quay then up Argyle Street to 10th Avenue where the run ended at the Fall Fair grounds and let the fun begin. This route would become the well-known route of Toy Runs to come.
What a warm welcome each rider received as they lined up for the start of the run. The West Coast Rangers (Black Powder Club) was on hand to serve coffee, hot chocolate and homemade cookies to all that attended.
With 65 riders and their toys, the R.C.M.P. escorted them through town to the Kin Hut. Even though the ground was wet from rain earlier on that day, the sun was shining over us as the kids and adult bike games took place. Everyone had a chance to "Bath the Biker" in the dunk tank, the Salvation Army van was there to pick up the some 400 toys to go to the needy children at Christmas time. After all the days events were finished, the adults danced the night away with music by the "Tourist".
400 toys to the Salvation Army.
There were twenty five riders and half as many passengers who escorted more than forty individual toys from the Alberni Mall to the 1st Arrowsmith Scout Hall on Montrose Street. The riders were escorted through town by the local R.C.M.P. With open arms by the Salvation Army, the toys were welcomed by Lt. Denny Fahrentholz. We had a little bit of snow for the ride into town but all things went well. There was chilli and coffee for the riders after the run.
40 toys to the Salvation Army.