City raises flag for inaugural march on coldest night of the year (5 photos)

Event organizer Rosi Martin, along with the mayor and council members raised the flag for the coldest night of the year in Sunshine Square on Tuesday afternoon.

The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury raised the flag in Sunshine Square on Tuesday afternoon in honor of the first ever Coldest Night March of the year taking place this weekend.

Mayor Rob Keffer read the proclamation declaring February 20-26, 2022 the coldest week of the year, before the flag is raised.

“It’s great to be here this afternoon to raise the flag for the coldest night of the year,” the mayor said.

The annual national event invites communities to participate in a short walk together to support the local hungry, injured and homeless. This is the first year that the city has organized a walk.

The Bradford event takes place on Saturday, February 26 at 4 p.m. and kicks off outside the Bradford Leisure Centre. Participants will meet for check-in and a pow-wow before heading out for a 2km or 5km loop along Holland Street West.

Money raised from the Bradford event will go to the YouthCALL Service Link project, which helps young people aged 14-28 who are facing challenges in their lives, from food insecurity to suicidal tendencies and homelessness. The service link started with in-person meetings, but since the onset of COVID has evolved into a hotline where young people can speak to a live one-on-one agent, who can direct them to a drop-off point on site for support.

Event organizer Rosi Martin is grateful for the enthusiastic response from the community so far, donors, volunteers and sponsors.

Collectively, the residents broke the original fundraising goal of $20,000 and increased it to $40,000.

“We had such an amazing response,” Martin said.

To date, the community has raised $32,835 for the cause. So far, 29 teams, 166 walkers and 25 volunteers have registered for the walk, along with dozens of local sponsors.

“It will be a great experience for everyone,” Martin said. “We couldn’t thank the community enough for all the support, it was just amazing, it was overwhelming, and it shows what a great city Bradford is and how much we pull together.”

Deputy Mayor James Leduc thanked Martin for his efforts in organizing the town’s first annual event.

“We can’t wait to get out on February 26 and walk,” the deputy mayor said. “We look forward to many residents coming to join us.”

Last year, the CNOY National Walk went virtual due to COVID restrictions, but was able to raise more money than ever before, a record $9.9 million.

Adults who raise a minimum of $150 will receive a CNOY toque. Children under 18 who raise a minimum of $75 will also receive one, while supplies last.

To donate or register for this weekend’s event, click here.