Canadian Pacific (CP) is a long-time supporter of the Canadian Armed Forces and on April 26 and 27, 2017, in support of the Canadian Legacy Project, CP hosted the first annual 'Spin for a Veteran' event at its Ogden head office. The initiative helped raise over $74,000 for veterans living in poverty, with the funds going directly towards building affordable housing for homeless veterans.
It was a grueling 24 hour journey for the eight teams who signed up. CP employees participating ranged from those working in Engineering Services to HazMat response officers and CP Police. Other teams were made up of the Calgary Police Services, the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires, Lord Strathcona Horse, British Army Training Unit Suffield, British Army Trails End Camp and the Calgary Fire Department. In total the teams rode more than 7,200 kilometres – the equivalent of riding from Vancouver to St. John's – all to support homeless veterans.
"It was a unique event to put together and we are thrilled by the response we received. The Calgary Fire Department won the challenge by raising the most money and recording over 1,046 kilometres, narrowly edging the British Army Training Unit Suffield team, CP Police and CP's HazMat team," said Rory Thompson, the CP employee who organized the event.
David Howard, President of Canadian Legacy Project, was touched and inspired by CP's efforts. "Our group is led by volunteers and to have CP develop such a creative and successful event was truly inspiring to all of us who aim to give back to those who gave so much for all Canadians. We are currently working on a new transitional housing partnership, which we hope to announce soon, and I am proud to say that all the funds from this event will be used to help end homelessness among our veteran population," said Howard.
Scott MacDonald, CP's Senior Vice-President of Operations (System), showed his support by taking part in the competition and upholding the organization's relationship with the Canadian Armed Forces.
"CP has a long history with our Canadian military and this was a fun way for our group to give back. Riding a stationary bike for 24 hours straight is something I will not soon forget, but I also look forward to next year's event," said MacDonald.
The goal of the 'Spin for a Veteran' initiative was to raise over $60,000 in support of homeless Canadian veterans. This year's friendly competition surpassed that goal by raising more than $74,000, prompting Thompson to develop it as an annual initiative. Plans are underway for next year's event to take place in both Calgary and Toronto sometime in June.
"Our Toronto-based employees are already really excited about getting involved and the plan is to grow the event every year by adding a different CP yard across both Canada and the U.S.," said Thompson.