The Port Alberni Toy Run will be leaving Little Qualicum Falls at noon on Saturday, Sept. 16. Registration and ticket pick up starts at 10 a.m. — NEWS file photo

Port Alberni Toy Run fires up this weekend

Annual toy run takes off Saturday from Little Qualicum Falls

While it’s not uncommon to see motorcyclists on the Island, keep an eye out for those with toys piled high on their bikes.

The annual Port Alberni Toy Run starts Sept. 16 at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park at 10 a.m. with registration and ticket pick up, followed by the ride at noon.

While rider numbers were down last year, said toy run chair Dave Wiwchar, with good weather they could break a record again.

“Last year we were down quite a bit because of a big rain storm (but) 500 hardy riders made the run. I firmly believe that if we have good weather this year, we’ll break a record again,” Wiwchar said. He also said the event record is 1,463 riders, adding that in some years they’ve had riders from as far away as New York state.

With hundreds of riders taking part, Wiwchar said, the atmosphere is incredibly positive.

“One of the greatest things about the Port Alberni Toy Run, that I haven’t seen in any other toy run, is how the community comes out and lines the streets and cheers the riders and holds up signs of thanks and appreciation.”

Wiwchar said the toy run fills up a whole bunch of bleachers at the Glenwood Centre, which is “quite the spectacle.”

The toy run collected about $80,000 worth of toys last year, Wiwchar said.

The toy run started in 1985 in Port Alberni as Jaycee’s Toy Run, but in 1988 it officially became known as the Port Alberni Toy Run.

For more information, visit www.portalbernitoyrun.ca.