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Hello from Ottawa – The 26th Annual Bedz Races on Dow’s Lake – Charity and Hilarity at the same time
When I was planning my trip to Ottawa I checked out all the events that are part of Winterlude, Ottawa’s Winter Festival, and there was one event that immediately caught my attention: the 26th Annual Bed Contest at Dows lake.
After breakfast at the Lord Elgin Hotel, Theresa and I put on our skates and set off on the world’s longest ride, the 7.8 kilometer Rideau Canal Skateway, to Dows Lake, where the Bed Race will be held. it happened.
The stairs and comfortable lounge area for the judges of the 26th Annual Bed Race
I contacted the organizers to find out more about the event and was able to connect with Steve Georgopoulos, one of the organizers of the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa, an organization that has been organizing the Bed Race for the past few years. . Steve is the General Manager of Les Suites Hotel in Ottawa and has been instrumental in getting this special event off the ground.
Kiwanis International’s motto is “Serving the Children of the Earth”, and they do this in a number of ways, from providing hands-on help to organizing fundraising events. Steve talked about the great love that starts when people come together and give their time to help others.
Steve explained that the competition has been part of the Winterlude Festival for the past 28 years. It was run by the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, and was revived in 2003 by the Kiwanis Club of Ottawa after the Ice Storm race in 2001, and a short hiatus in 2002.
This year the race will raise approximately $50,000 and the 2006 proceeds will go to the Kiwanis Read-A-Thon. The Precious Minds Read-a-thon is an event designed to encourage children to read well. And it does so by encouraging them to read more often, to try new books and to have fun while doing so.
The Read-A-Thon is in its third year and the Kiwanis Club donates new books to libraries at various schools. So far 47 schools have been integrated with 17,000 students. About 100,000 books must be read.
40 teams entered this year, and they came from a variety of organizations, including the Ottawa Police, Fire Fighters, 5 teams from the local Algonquin College, several teams from local hotels such as Lord Elgin Hotels, Les Suites and teams from companies some local. Steve also mentioned that there is a family that has entered the bed chase competition, 5 cousins whose mothers are sisters with the same grandparents. He first entered last year to celebrate a relative’s 80th birthday, something special to do….
Of course there are specific rules for this event: the beds that entered the competition must be at least 1.8 meters by 0.9 meters (6 by 3 feet), and they must have a frame, a headboard and a footboard. The cover should be made of metal for safety reasons. Mattresses are not required, although springs should be covered. And the bed must be on wheels, skis or skates are not allowed.
The teams can win in three categories: speed, decoration and fundraising. Of course everyone wins as the proceeds from the event go to a great cause. The sponsor of the 2006 event is a company called Bedzzz, and the sponsor is Allstream, an Internet solutions provider.
The event was graced by Max Keeping, a well known Ottawa and respected community leader. Max is the evening anchor of the 6pm Ottawa News on CTV and I had the chance to talk to him a bit. Max is from Newfoundland and has lived in the Ottawa area for many years and is proud to promote his chosen town. He welcomed a large crowd of spectators to the Bedzz Races by referring to Ottawa as “Canada’s second city”.
We also talked about Winterlude and it’s an amazing festival. Instead of letting people complain about the long winter, it gets everyone out of the streets and gutters to enjoy the wonderful things that winter has to offer.
After the introductions, the races began, with many elimination races to narrow the field to the winners. There is no doubt that some of the beds were not built to create air traffic, as it happens, some of the distractions seemed to end up on the runway.
The teams tried hard to push the beds down the icy road, and depending on how the wheels were made, some teams just flew to the end, while others, especially those with the smallest wheels, took their sweet time and reached the finish line. to reach the end.
Control was another matter: some of the beds had a hard time staying on the road and it was very wise for the photographers to leave when these poor driving cars came patrolling the finish line. Some of the runners pushing the beds lost strength and were sliding into the frozen sea behind them. Sometimes it was difficult to take pictures because I was laughing so much. It didn’t help that I was the only ski reporter covering the event. But skating is part of the real Winterlude experience and I was experiencing the real thing…..
Well, the work of the travel writer was not over: I had another event on my schedule – the Fire and Ice Culinary exhibition at Confederation Park. It was so disappointing that I had to give up the bed race and go back about 7 km on the Rideau Canal. I found out later that Apollo Property Management won the fundraising competition, while the International Union of Elevator Constructors – Local 96 was the fastest bed. Best decorated bed was won by the Gordon Group, with Les Suites Hotel a close second.
All in all the bed competition was a great event, the teams were happy, the audience saw an amazing show, and good money was raised for a great cause.
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