Upcoming toy run in search of helping hands

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Among well-loved island traditions returning this year after a pandemic-forced break is the Salt Spring Toy Run, which benefits the island’s Santa’s Workshop program.

According to the workshop’s “head elf” Wendy Eggertson, the run first took place in 1996 under the leadership of Lil Irwin, with some 10 to 15 local bikers raising money for charity through a group run around the island.

The toy run eventually grew to be a multi-day event held at the Farmers’ Institute, with many off-island motorcyclists attending. 

“We recently had a turnout of 130 bikes and did dinners for over 200 people,” said long-time run participant and “Santa” Kerry Butler. 

This year the event will take place for one day only, on Saturday, Aug. 27. 

One thing that is definitely needed is more volunteers to help with planning, organization and all-important flagging duties. 

“The flaggers control traffic and pedestrians and help things go smoothly and provide safety for everyone,” said Butler. 

About 40 people are needed, he said.

This year’s run starts from the high school parking lot at 1 p.m. sharp. It will go through Ganges and down to Fulford via Cusheon Lake Riad, arriving at about 1:20 p.m. It then goes back through Ganges and on to Fernwood, arriving there at about 1:45 p.m. Riders  will then go up Malaview to North End Road and across Stark Road, arriving at the Royal Canadian Legion at about 2 p.m. 

“The bikes will be travelling a little below the speed limit all the way,” explained Butler, “all dependent on traffic, of course.”

Everyone is welcome to enjoy a barbecue and live music at the Legion, with all proceeds benefitting Santa’s Workshop. 

“We provide about 95 per cent of their funding,” said Butler. “We also provide some funds for islanders in the Special Olympics program.”

More information is available at saltspringtoyrun.com. Anyone wanting to volunteer can email ssitoyrun@gmail.com. 

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