The euphoria from the Alberni District Fall Fair has barely faded and the city is already gearing up for one of the most popular events of the year. The 39th annual Port Alberni Toy Run hits town this Saturday, Sept. 16, when the roar of hundreds of motorcycles will reverberate around the Alberni Valley.
“We’re expecting a great run this year,” said Port Alberni Toy Run president David Wiwchar, adding that he is relieved work on Highway 4 at Cameron Bluffs is complete and the highway reopened.
It’s hard to predict numbers of riders—the event is always dependent on weather, he noted. “I refuse to look at the long-term forecast,” preferring to see what happens on Toy Run day.
“Everybody I hear from online and through motorcycle groups always have the intention of showing up. If it’s bad weather we could have 500 bikes. If it’s nice we could have 1,500,” he said.
“We always have an incredibly successful event.”
The Toy Run comprises two days’ worth of events, starting with the gathering at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park on Saturday morning. Riders line up, breakfast is served and everyone waits for the starting gun at noon.
The ride comes into town down Johnston Road, along Gertrude Street and Stamp Avenue, winds its way to Harbour Quay, around the fountain and all the way up Argyle Street to 10th Avenue. Riders hang a left and head to Glenwood Centre, where kids’ games are planned for inside, a motorcycle show outside, and motorcycle-oriented games too.
That evening The Poor Boys headline the dance at Glenwood, with Big Daddy opening.
Sunday morning there is a pancake breakfast followed by a poker ride that will take participants all over the Alberni Valley for a fun, scavenger hunt-type event.
While riders bring toys that are collected and distributed to children and seniors throughout the community in the next few months, the Toy Run is also a successful fundraiser. Money raised from this weekend will allow the society to assist youth-focused community groups and events throughout the year.
More on the Toy Run can be found online at https://portalbernitoyrun.ca/.
Even though the 39th annual ride is only days away, Wiwchar said planning has already started on the run’s big 40th anniversary. It promises to be quite the party.