BRAMPTON, Ont. – The second annual GTA Truck Convoy for Special Olympics Ontario went off just as organizers had hoped – with a larger commitment from truck drivers in the Toronto area.
This year the convoy saw 35 trucks – up from 29 last year – and 20 law enforcement cruisers drive up and down Highway 407 to raise awareness and funds for the Special Olympics. The one-day event is thanks to support from the Law Enforcement Torch Run, the grassroots fundraising organization for Special Olympics globally.
In total, the day raised $13,000. The event ran concurrently with the convoy for Special Olympics in Paris, Ont. that is in its 13th year and together, Cory Jansma the manager of Law Enforcement Torch Run said the events would raise close to $100,000.
“The involvement from the trucking industry has been incredible,” Jansma said. “We chose to run a second convoy on the same day (as the Paris convoy) in Peel region because it’s such a large trucking hub and because Paris had essentially hit its maximum capacity of trucks and we wanted to expand the event. Together both events have raised more than $700,000 since 2005.”
On September 16, the 35 trucks and 20 law enforcement cruisers started the convoy at Brampton’s Powerade Centre, went west on Highway 407 until Dundas where they turned around and headed back to Brampton.
Vehicles part of the convoy didn’t have to pay a penny to use the toll highway, because 407/ETR signed on as a corporate sponsor of the convoy and waived the fees for all participants. Using the 407 was a welcome alternative for convoy participants, Jansma said, as the 401 is normally quite jammed in the Brampton area.
After the convoy, the Olympic athletes, who got to ride along in the convoy in a GO Bus, mingled with truck drivers and law enforcement at the fundraising barbeque, silent auction, and fire truck pull.
All proceeds raised from both convoys are donated to Special Olympics Ontario sporting programs and development. It allows athletes to sign up for sports without having to worry about travel or equipment costs, Jansma explained.
“Essentially if an athlete wants to get involved in Special Olympics Ontario, there is no cost to them because of events like this,” he said.
In the future, Jansma said his hope is for the event to grow even larger and have more trucks participating in the event.