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Unique 'Toy Ride' ensures local kids will enjoy their Christmas

'It’s so important that we help out the kids and give them something for Christmas. It's been a tough couple of years,' says organizer
Salvation Army Toy Ride
On Tuesday night, the sixth annual Salvation Army Toy Ride took place in Coldwater. From left to right are members of Coldwater Charity Bike Night: Alain Myre, Henny Risebrough, Kari Malmstrom, Don Ryan, and Diane Sauve presenting cash, gift cards, and toys to Kim Duquette, Family Services Director for Midland Salvation Army.

The Coldwater Charity Bike Night held its Salvation Army Toy Ride on Tuesday night despite the rainy weather.

Event organizer Gaetanne Robinson says the event encourages motorcyclists to ride into town to donate a gift card or a toy that will go to a child on Christmas morning that might not otherwise receive a gift.

“It’s a great event and it’s something we’ve been doing for six years now,” she said.

After making their donations, the motorcyclists typically ride through town to highlight the event. This year, a Severn Township fire truck led the parade of motorcycles through Waubaushene all the way to the Coldwater Bowling Centre.

Last year the event was held in a virtual format; toys and money were still collected but there was no motorcycle ride. In 2019 there were more than 80 motorcyclists who participated.

“It’s so important that we help out the kids and give them something for Christmas. This year, especially, there is a greater than ever need as so many people are unemployed. It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone," Robinson said.

This year there were 30 motorcyclists from Orillia, Barrie, Midland, Collingwood, and Gravenhurst who participated in the event.

Kari Malmstrom rode into Tuesday’s event on his Honda ST1300; he has been a participant since the event's inception.

“I started doing this because it’s important to me to raise money for local charities and the Toy Ride helps the Salvation Army give kids Christmas presents,” Malmstrom said.

While the Salvation Army Toy Ride has always been important, Malmstrom says this year’s event might be the most important edition of all.

“Children deserve to have a stress-free Christmas, especially while COVID and everything else is going on,” he said. “Any little bit that we can do to help will definitely make a difference.”

Tuesday's event raised $410 in money and more than $200 in gift cards. Hundreds of toys were also donated. 

The Coldwater Charity Bike Night thanks the following event sponsors: Coldwater Auto Parts, Severn Timber Mart, Willow Tree Salon & Spa, Midland Copy Shoppe, The Crank & Sprocket Bicycle Co., Coldwater Guardian Pharmacy, Coldwater Bowling Centre, Lasermark Engraving, Happy Paws Grooming, and Comfy Cottage Co.

They also thank all the generous riders and local residents who participated and donated.