Stow-It Self Storage, which operates two facilities in Ontario, Canada, was a silver-level sponsor for the Aug. 19 Lake Huron Gran Fondo bike ride in Southampton, Ontario. Facility owner Steve Levack and his wife, Tracy, donated $2,500 and participated in the cycling.
Organized by the Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation (SMHF), the inaugural event raised $125,000. The money will be used to purchase a new MRI machine for Owen Sound Hospital and fund upgrades for its patient information-services system.
The Gran Fondo, which means “big bike” in Italian, attracted 700 riders from all over North America, according to Sally Kidson, executive director for SMHF. “We see it as a major event for the foundation, and I think in future years it’s going continue to grow,” she said, adding that it has the potential to attract 1,500 cyclists and raise even more money next year.
The ride also drew several sponsors, who covered the event costs. “After that, virtually every registration dollar and donation dollar was able to come directly to the hospital,” Kidson said.
Participants had a choice of four routes. The 70-kilometer route drew 200 participants, and 200 more participated in the 30-kilometer ride. About 140 took part in the 110-kilometer route, while 85 joined the 160-kilometer ride.
The Levacks took part in the 70-kilometer route, from Southampton to Paisley and back. They completed the journey in two hours and 50 minutes. “It was a fantastic ride—beautiful country to go through, friendly people. Just a great day all around,” Steve Levack said.
The ride also included four rest stops, one of which was at the James Mason Memorial Culture & Recreation Centre at the Saugeen First Nation, an Ojibway First Nation band along the Saugeen River and Bruce Peninsula in Ontario. “We always have to remember that everything we do is on [traditional] lands of the Indigenous people, the people who first walked this land,” Kidson said. The Saugeen First Nation stretches from the tip of the Bruce Peninsula to Goderich.
Robert Price, an elder from the Ojibway tribe, performed a traditional sunrise ceremony at Pioneer Park. “Our entire ride was on territory of the Saugeen First Nation, and it was really important to connect with them; and having our event start with a sunrise ceremony was unbelievable,” Kidson says. “It’s a ceremony where they welcome in the day with a small ceremonial fire that they start with a flint. It was really a wonderful moment and a great way to start the day.”
Stow-It operates facilities in Owen Sound and Port Elgin. In addition to self-storage, the business offers moving and packing supplies, U-Haul truck rentals, outdoor vehicles storage, and shredding services.
Shoreline Beacon, Gran Fondo Raised $125,000 for Saugeen Memorial Hospital Foundation