On September 24, the Making Strides team left Toronto to begin an amazing, yet arduous 500 km, four-day journey from Toronto to the Ontario/Quebec border on a speciality bike known as an ElliptiGO.
The route followed the beautiful Great Waterfront Trail along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence river, passing through dozens of historic Ontario towns, villages and hamlets including Cobourg, Kingston, Ganonoque, Brockville, Prescott, and Cornwall.
I rode the Elliptigo while Constables Troy Lorimer and Steve Moniz acted as support vehicle drivers, navigators and social media gurus.
Making Strides was an event dedicated to raising much-needed funds to support Victim Services Toronto and their critical care programs, as well as raising public awareness through social media of VST’s important work, services and programs. Victim Services Toronto offers free confidential services and support to victims of crime and sudden tragedy. They have a dedicated team (staff and volunteers) committed to helping thousands every year. Victim Services Toronto is the only agency in Toronto who provides immediate on-site crisis, trauma, safety and support services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“Making Strides for Victims is one of Superintendent Heinz Kuck’s most innovative, intense, physically and mentally challenging fundraising events,” said Bonnie Levine Executive Director of Victim Services Toronto. "Over the past five years, we have been fortunate to be the beneficiary of his many unique and mindboggling fundraising adventures. For Victim Services Toronto, Heinz has become our real life superhero always showing his oversized heart for charitable causes and doing good deeds for positive community impact. His tremendous success in engaging stakeholders, planning complex initiatives, raising awareness and much needed funds for Victim Services Toronto demonstrates his leadership, focus, hard-work and passion. To everyone who followed Making Strides on social media, we saw someone who is so determined to make a difference in the lives of victims. The proceeds of Making Strides will be dedicated to our Trauma Dog program, which is fully funded with community support of donations and fundraising activities. Dandy, Victim Services Toronto’s Trauma Dog, turned two in October. She has been training every day since birth, to provide comfort to children who have suffered a major trauma. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the sponsors, donors, community members and support crew of Making Strides for Victims!”
In my early years as an officer my focus was primarily on the pursuit of the criminal, getting the bandit, locking up the drug dealer, taking the gun off the street. The evolution of time and experience has now taken me passionately towards restorative justice, victim advocacy and community reclamation. One of the best ways I can do that is by engaging in challenging events, capturing the public imagination, and thus financially supporting the work of Victim Services and expanding their profile through community awareness.
Here are excerpts from the team’s blog:
Day 1: September 24th (biked from the Martin Goodman Trail, Toronto to Cobourg) 125 km. 6hrs 30min ride time. Perfect weather - bright, clear and 18 degrees. Briefly visited by several other enthusiastic cyclists just past Beechgrove Drive on way to Pickering. The Waterfront Trail is a perfect picturesque route. Later, stopped for a visit with Durham Region PC Hood in Darlington, then on to Oshawa, Port Granby, completing the day in Cobourg.
Day 2: September 25th (biked from Cobourg to Ganonoque along HWY 2) 125 km. 6hrs 30min ride time. Enroute at Wicklow Beach, met local resident Diane Knight who asked about Victim Services Toronto (and the Elliptigo!) and generously donated to Making Strides. Next visit was at the Nuevo Norte Alpaca Farm in Colborne. Continued to Brighton on the way to the Glenora Ferry, crossed the water with a stunning view of Lennox & Addington. Then continued on way to Bath and the beautiful region of Prince Edward County. Passed through Kingston and onto the Gan!
Day 3: September 26th (biked from Ganonoque to Cornwall) 150 km. 8hr ride time. This was the most challenging day but always with a scenic ride. Another perfect weather day. Followed the pristine route along the Waterfront Trail (with a dedicated bike bath) from Gananoque to the 1,000 Island Parkway/St. Lawrence bike route. Rode through Brockville on the way to Prescott, stopped for lunch. Night stop in Cornwall.
Day 4: September 27th Final day! 100 km to the Ontario/Quebec border to complete 500 km in 4 days. Great weather on this last leg of the journey, travelling along the scenic Cornwall waterfront, past Upper Canada Village on the way to the final destination.
At this point in time we have raised over $8,000 (the goal was $5,500). And the only way that was possible was through the support of amazing friends, colleagues, and partners. I cannot thank our many donors and sponsors enough who made this possible including: Victim Services Toronto, my awesome support team of Troy and Steve, RMP Athletics, ElliptiGo, Ventures Car and Truck Rentals, Waterfront Trail Trust, Mizrahi Design-Build, TD Bank, High Park Grenadier Fund & TJX Canada.