This year’s Coldest Night of the Year event in Port Alberni will be dedicated to the memory of a well-known community leader.
Alberni Community and Women’s Service Society (ACAWS) will be partnering with the Port Alberni Port Authority to dedicate the 2020 Coldest Night of the Year to Gillian Trumper. Trumper, a former mayor and MLA, passed away in 2019 after complications from renal failure. Trumper was also on the board of directors with ACAWS.
“She was very instrumental in a time of change for us,” explained ACAWS executive director Ellen Frood, adding that Trumper was able to initiate discussions about the second-stage housing that will soon be built in Port Alberni for women and children fleeing violence.
“But it’s not just because of ACAWS,” Frood added. “There are many, many reasons why we’re honouring her. She made a huge difference in the lives of people in the Alberni Valley. We thought it would be nice to dedicate the event to her this year.”
Coldest Night of the Year is a family-friendly walk that raises money for charities serving the hungry, homeless and hurting. This year, ACAWS hopes to raise $30,000, all of which will stay locally in Port Alberni. Last year’s event fell just short of its goal of $25,000, but Frood is optimistic about this year.
“I’m pretty sure we’re going to make our goal,” she said. “We’d actually like to exceed our goal.”
The Coldest Night of the Year will take place on Saturday, Feb. 22, starting at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 293 at Victoria Quay.
“It’s not intended to be a run,” said Frood. “You can come out with your family and friends and have a little fun.”
The route will be different from previous years, starting and finishing at the Royal Canadian Legion on Victoria Quay. Walkers will travel down Victoria Quay to the Stamp Avenue and Roger Street intersection, then walk back to Johnston Road, up to the Tim Hortons and Buy-Low Foods intersection, where they will cross the street and return to the Legion. A lengthier 10-kilometre route is also available. All routes will be marked with signage, be staffed by volunteers and include rest stops with snacks.
At the end of the night, walkers can return to the Legion for some complimentary chili served by the “Red Hot Chili Preppers.”
“It’s just a nice event to get out and go for a walk,” said Frood.
Registration opens at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Opening ceremonies start at 3 p.m. and the walk begins at 3:15 p.m. Registration closes and meal service begins at 4 p.m.
There will be special prizes for fundraisers, including a prize for the “Best Dressed” team of the night.
Frood emphasized that people can still participate even if they aren’t able to attend in person.
“You can still support somebody that is participating,” she explained.
Donate to a team or a walker by visiting cnoy.org and searching for Port Alberni. Or you can call Carol at ACAWS (250-724-7111 ext. 221) to find out how to get involved.