ALGOMA AUTISM FOUNDATION
Sault Ste. Marie's waterfront may reverberate with the roar of hundreds of motorcycles this Saturday, as part of the fifth annual Algoma Ride for Autism.
"Last year, about 260 riders participated in the Ride. It would be incredible to have that many bikes rolling along the waterfront," says Jamie Boston, founder of the Ride.
This is the first time the ride route includes the waterfront.
Riders leave from Highland Ford at 11 a.m. for a group ride on Highway 17 East, returning to town to cruise en masse along St. Mary's Drive to Foster Drive, and ending at the Roberta Bondar Pavillion. Riders are expected to reach St. Mary's Drive between 12:30 - 1 p.m.
Riders gather pledges to donate to the Algoma Autism Foundation (AAF).
All funds donated are used locally, e.g., to purchase mini iPADS for non-verbal students, donate RF beacon bracelets for individuals who are a flight risk (19 donated to date), and to organize recreational activities and events such as Sensitive Santa.
"It can be quite emotional, seeing these riders show their support for individuals on the autism spectrum," says Boston. "We invite everyone to come out to line the route, especially along St. Mary's Drive, to cheer them on."
After the Ride, many bikes will be display along the boardwalk.
The AAF is also putting on a Family Fun Event at the Bondar Pavillion from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., including bouncy castles, face-painting, kids' games and guest appearances by Paw Patrol, Belle of Beauty and the Beast, and Poppy of Trolls. Prices for kids' activities range from free to $3.
New this year will be $1 cruises on St. Mary's River in boats supplied by the RCMP, the OPP, Sault Search and Rescue, and the Ministry of Natural Resources. There will be free tours of an RCMP vessel. A fire truck will also be display.
Highland Ford and the Ford Motor Company of Canada are also offering their innovative Drive 4UR Community program. For every test drive, Ford Canada will donate $20 towards the AAF to support local children and families. There is no charge to take a test drive, and every driver earns a free boat ride and a chance to win a generator and a TV.
"We will have something for everyone. We are covering the waterfront, bad pun intended," says Boston.
To join the Ride or for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.