Pan Am 2015 Velodrome fund raising campaign kicks off!
Post by Howard Chang -
By now, most of the cycling community has heard that Milton will be the new home of the Pan Am 2015 Velodrome. What most of you may not know is that although 90% of the funds have been secured, we still have over $4 million to raise by 2014. Our club - Les Domestiques, has made a commitment to the Town of Milton that we will lead the initiative to ensure those financial commitments are met.
To that end, our fund raising cabinet made up of Jennifer Reynolds (Town of Milton), Fraser Chapman (Morning Glory CC) and David Morland, Ron Mitchell, Tricia Gadsden and myself (all from Les Domestiques) organized a fund raising ride to kick of the campaign. The ride followed a scenic escarpment route passing right by the actual Velodrome site - framed by the Niagara Escarpment as the backdrop. We invited passionate cyclists, who had track records as major philanthropists, to join us for a morning of riding, followed by a luncheon where we shared some details on the new facility and why they needed to be involved. As a special treat, we invited cycling stars like Steve Bauer, Curt Harnett, Zach Bell and Canadian pro road champion Ryan Roth to ride along. And to our delight Fraser Chapman managed to talk cycling legend and superstar Mario Cipollini to join us as well.
As much as I am a cycling nut, the guest who impressed me the most was former Ontario Premier David Peterson. Mr. Peterson has a growing fondness for cycling and was excited to join this seasoned crew for a ride. Apparently years of politics toughens the mind and the body as David not only enjoyed the ride, but brought us home at the front of the peloton at almost 40kph! We had a chance to stop by the Velodrome site where Peter Gilgan gave the group an overview of the site planning vision.
Back at the lovely Rattlesnake Point Golf Club (apparently Golf is the new Cycling!), his Worship Major Gordon Krantz welcomed the riders, while a few short presentations where made by myself, Tim Hockey, Peter Gilgan, Steve Bauer, Greg Mathieu and Jennifer Reynolds. We even had a freshly recorded video by Brian Cookson the head of British Cycling, who gave us some insight on how the Manchester Velodrome became the springboard for the growth of cycling in his country. All in all, the attendees showed excitement for the project and at least half a dozen stepped up with commitments for significant donations and many more asked that we follow up. A resounding success!
So why are we as a cycling community so passionate about this? Its not just about high performance cycling around a track. What we have learned from countries like Australia and the UK, track cycling is the natural springboard to develop world beating performances from our Canadian riders. Medals at Worlds and Olympics will capture the imagination of mainstream Canadians and increase the popularity of the sport. As cycling grows, this "every persons" sport will enhance the health and well being of Canadians, reduce smog and congestion in our cities and become an intrinsic part of our culture - just like many parts of Europe. With the help of all Canadians interested in creating a healthier and more sustainable country we can - Make It Happen.
Special thanks to Jennifer Reynolds and the Milton team, my assistant Laura Tarpay, Adam Smith from Top Drawer Creative who spearheaded the branding and creative for the campaign, our campaign cabinet and committee members and all the other folk who lent a hand to make this a reality.