Toronto residents always turn out for a good cause

TORONTO — Toronto residents always turn out for a good cause and for some fun and entertainment. There is plenty, no matter what season.

A little cold and snow flurries were not enough to keep hundreds of area residents from hitting the streets in Toronto for the ninth annual Campbell-Dickinson 5K Run Bike Walk and Noah Long fun run fundraiser for cancer on March 16.

George Komar, run organizer and president of the Toronto Coalition for Revitalization, said they had a great turn-out despite the weather.

“It was like this last year, too,” he said.

Komar said they had 413 pre-registered runners and over 100 more sign up the day of the race.

“The weather is such a big thing,” he said. “I felt we were still pretty successful.”

Komar had announced previously that in the past eight years the race and events leading up to it, including, Jennifer “Jenny” Dickinson’s annual auction, have raised “nearly a quarter of a million dollars in the fight against cancer.”

Glenn Dickinson, said that the community really supports his wife, Jennifer’s, auction.

“We come home to gift baskets on the front porch,” he said.

Glenn Dickinson is a city councilman and Jennifer is a Toronto City Schools teacher and cancer survivor.

According to officials the money that is raised is donated to the Trinity Teramana Cancer Center TEAR fund and the coalition.

Organizers Komar and Toni Moreland said that this year they wanted to not only remember and honor those who lost their battle with cancer, but to celebrate life and the survivors.

For the first time, all events were free to cancer survivors.

In addition to the race, there was the annual St. Baldrick’s Shave Off where adults shave their heads in support of cancer research, officials said, and face painting, food vendors and other activities.

A network of concerned citizens, civic leaders and others helped found the Helping Hands of Toronto pantry after the demise of the former His Hands Extended food pantry.

The result was a renewed vigor and successful establishment of a stand-alone, community-led pantry.

The city school district also continues its growth, as money from the state facilities commission soon will cover the costs of an addition to the current Toronto Junior/Senior High School.

In addition, the last few years also have seen a local subdivision become part of Toronto, bringing in more people to the city.

Sixty-eight percent of residents in the 128 occupied residences in the subdivision of Wallace Heights signed a petition to leave Island Creek Township and become part of Toronto. Annexation organizers met with county commissioners, and about 1,000 feet of county Road 46 was included in the proposed annexation. Additionally, Wallace Heights residents remain within the county’s water system.

Toronto is home to many fundraising events and festivals, including Gem City Days, the Festival of the Arts held in early September and the annual Campbell-Dickinson St. Patrick’s Day Run-Bike-Walk event held in mid-March. The latter event, sponsored by the Toronto Coalition for Revitalization, raises funds for the Trinity Health System Tony Teramana Cancer Center Emergency Assistance Relief Fund.

The Gem City ushers in the holiday season every year with its annual Light-Up Night celebration.

“I am proud to have been part of this event for many, many, many years,” Don Clarke, the vice president of the Toronto Coalition for Revitization, told the 2018 crowd.

The celebration kicked off with the official lighting of the tree by J.T. Karaffa Elementary third-grade pupil Miranda Maxwell, the daughter of Joann and Pat Maxwell of Toronto.

Karaffa Principal Chris Dopp said that the tree, which is located in the Gazabo, was decorated with ornaments handmade by Maxwell’s fellow third-graders at the school.

Those who were remembered with the luminaria were names while members of Toronto Girl Scout Troop 3196 handed the candles out to those who had purchased them. Last year was the largest crowd recorded at the event, and the proceeds from the luminaria go to help the Toronto Salvation Army pay heating bills over the winter.

Some 375 luminaria were sold last year.

Toronto always involves those from every age group to take part in festivities.

Fourth- and fifth-graders from Toronto City Schools sang carols with the Light-Up Night crowd.