News & Releases >> Dec 15 2010
TORONTO. December 15th. This year's AWARDS NIGHT for the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge, the Neighbourhood Challenge and “Best Costume” was truly an evening of joy and celebration. More than 100 guests gathered for the occasion in the Schooner room at Scotiabank's world headquarters at King & Bay Streets in Downtown Toronto. In addition to many of the charity and neighbourhood groups, the evening featured newly-elected Councillor Doug Ford representing the City of Toronto, Minister Peter Fonseca and other civic leaders, and several elite athletes who added greatly to the sense of occasion.
STWM Race Director, Alan Brookes, led off the evening, saying it was his favourite night of the year. “I'm humbled by your remarkable achievements,” said Alan.
“Everyday, you face huge challenges, as families with children or relatives with autism, cerebral palsy, cancer and other dreadful diseases. You work tirelessly to help kids and adults who go to school or to work hungry, who have to get by on as little as $4 a day. We, at Canada Running Series, are humbled by your achievements. In awe of what you do, everyday. You represent the true ideals of the Marathon, of courage and determination and the will of the human spirit to triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds.”
Alan spoke of this year's special celebrations of the 2,500th Anniversary of the Battle of Marathon that were part of the STWM weekend, and his follow-up visit to the Athens Classic Marathon for the Grand Finale Celebrations. He mentioned that Lamine Diak, President of the IAAF had saluted “the millions of runners who will cross a Finish line of a marathon somewhere in the world this year — especially those who run to end the suffering of others.” Alan stressed that all of us at STWM were part of a global “Marathon Movement” that has “social meaning' and 'social responsibilities'.” It was an evening where we could rub shoulders with Canadian Olympians Reid Coolsaet and Eric Gillis, but where everyone could be proud to say “Nenikikamen,” [we are Victorious!], as Pheidippides did 2,500 years ago.
Scotiabank VP of Marketing, Rick White praised all the charities and groups, and stressed Scotiabank's commitment to families, neighbourhoods and community, and to supporting STWM well into the future as a signature community fundraising event for the bank. Mr. White announced the record-setting, 2010 fundraising total for all 127 charities: $2,533,801.60!
Since their inception in 2003, the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge & Neighbourhood Challenge have raised a whopping $9,116,872.48!
Ontario Minister of Labour, Hon. Peter Fonseca — himself an Olympic marathoner — then presented Reid Coolsaet with an Award for running 2:11:23 on September 26th — the fastest marathon ever run by a Canadian on Canadian soil. The new mark eclipsed the 2:11:34 that Minister Fonseca had run in 1995 on his way to representing Canada at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta! Reid's Speed Rive TC club-mate, Eric Gillis, also received an award for his sparkling 2:12:08 performance.
Next up, was new Councillor Doug FORD, representing the City! Councillor Ford was more than gracious, and brought a special message from the Mayor — Mayor Ford supports the STWM and is behind it 100% of the way! Councillor Ford and Reid and Eric then presented the NEW for 2011, “Best Costume Awards”. STWM2010 saw a major increase in the number of costume runners who went the distance for their charities.
Following this, the Consul General of Greece in Toronto, Dimitris Azemopoulos, who was such an important part — along with the Greek Community of the GTA — in bringing the Marathon Flame to Toronto, thanked all at STWM for the opportunity for Toronto's 250,000 Greek-Canadian community to share their culture and the history of the marathon. Special mention and thank yous went out to Nancy Athan-Mylonas and John Dagonas who chaired the Greek Community Anniversary Committee and did so much for the success of the whole STWM2010 event. Consul Azemopoulos then helped present the NEIGHBOURHOOD CHALLENGE Awards.
Little Asia and Cabbagetown truly reflected the “spirit of the Marathon Movement” and showed what a tough time this year's Neighbourhood Challenge judges had! Yee Hong took up the challenge of hosting “Little Asia” this summer, but still pulled out an award-winning display of high energy entertainment and strong decor.
Cabbagetown was even more remarkable. Many of those involved in hosting the site for the Cabbagetown Youth Centre were residents of 200 Wellesley Street in St. Jamestown, that suffered the major, 6-alarm fire on Saturday 25th. Homeless after the fire, tired, bereft by losses and damage to their homes, they STILL showed up early the next morning to unselfishly cheer on the runners at the 40k mark at Parliament & Front. We wish them all the VERY best as they rebuild their homes as well as working to support the CYC programmes.
Appropriately, Neighbourhood Challenge judges, Dayl Marks of Scotiabank and Marissa Schroeder, editor & publisher of Get Out There magazine were presented with Recognition Awards for the TOUGH job they had.
A final award in the Neighbourhood Challenge went to SEAGULL CLASSICS on Queen Street East in The Beach for the “Best Window” Contest. This was brand new for 2010, a new initiative sponsored by STWM and TABIA, the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas. The $600 cheque was presented by Consul General Azemopoulos and Mr. John Dagonas of the Hellenic Hope Centre & Greek Community of Toronto.
Finally, the top-of-the bill feature of the evening took centre stage —
The crowds on hand cheered throughout the 5-minute “highlights” Slideshow, put together by CRS' Inge Johnson, as they saw their own runners and walkers, the costumes, the joy and celebration of race day.
Silvia Ruegger, Canada's Women's Marathon Record Holder and a Board Member of the Canada Running Series Foundation then read out several moving quotations from participants in the Charity Challenge. Especially poignant was one from 14-year old Kydella Laville, who did the Waterfront 5K with her mom for Humewood House, and exclaimed on race day: “It's amazing how so many charities sit on the angel-wings of Scotiabank!”
Scotiabank VP of Marketing, Rick White, then revealed this year's winners and gave out the Awards.
First up were Recognition Awards to the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge “National Charity” and the 3 “Featured Charities” for 2010:
Before closing, Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge Manager, Anh Vuong, reminded everyone to submit their applications for “Official Charity” status for 2011 NOW — deadline is Monday, February 28th [January 21st for “Featured Charity” applications].
It was a wonderful, special evening, of joy, achievement, celebration. Of how 19,538 overall runners; 3,996 charity runners, came together one very special weekend to rejoice, and shout out “Nenikikamen”! We are victorious!
As Janice Mills, Manager of Special Events at Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation — a new recruit to Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge 2011, said:
Thank you again for extending an invitation to your Charity Awards Ceremony last night. The camaraderie, enthusiasm and pride shown by the participating charities was contagious and your ceremony was a touching tribute to the impact they have on the community. Congratulations on a very professionally run event with a great turnout of sponsors, government supporters and community leaders. We are excited for 2011 and look forward to working with your team.