Kawartha Lakes Cycling Classic: Annual ride for A Place Called Home

By Connor Chase

The annual Kawartha Lakes Cycling Classic returns Aug. 25 to Lindsay, as riders from across the region ride for A Place Called Home (APCH).

This year’s event promises to be bigger than ever. With courses of varying intensities, (13, 25, 50, 100, and 160 kilometres) the event offers both veteran and novice, casual and competitive cyclists a chance to ride for a great cause in the local community.

APCH, Boston Pizza and Canadian Tire have organized the Kawartha Lakes Cycling Classic fundraising event that attracts more and more visitors each year. Participants come from all over Ontario to get in on the cycling, as evidenced by the growth of 100 riders in 2014 to over 300 in 2017. Even more impressive is the $147,000 the event has raised over the last five years. The event starts and ends at Boston Pizza on Kent Street West in Lindsay.

All proceeds from the Kawartha Lakes Classic are for the benefit of APCH, a local charitable non-profit whose mission is to help those who are in most need of help — the homeless. APCH has been providing support for the homeless for over 20 years in Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton, and has expanded its services to include 19 emergency bed shelters, as well as other necessities such as meals and laundry. Recently, APCH has been able to expand its services to also offer counselling for its residents, which includes working to help find people permanent housing.

APCH’s Operations Manager David Tilley ending homelessness is a difficult task. Even though the Basic Income pilot program is indisputably a net positive for the people who pass through APCH and can collect it, David worries about the program’s termination date, given it is only a three-year-pilot. He worries that with rent prices rising in tandem with Basic Income coming to an end in a couple of years, the problem of homelessness might get even worse in the area.

One the biggest obstacles APCH is trying to overcome is the problem of visibility. Homelessness in Kawartha Lakes and rural communities around the country suffers from the problem of invisibility. Homelessness is more apparent in larger urban centres but no so in rural communities very often. The population is more spread out and there are less social hubs for homeless people to be seen. As a result, in rural communities homelessness is often more intractable than in cities, precisely because people are less aware that there is a problem.

For residents of APCH, the annual Kawartha Lakes Cycling Classic is a chance to shine a spotlight on this issue. Tilley is hoping hundreds will sign up to join this new annual tradition to benefit the homeless in the region.

1 Comment

  1. Joan says:

    In the 1950s, Pierre Burton described the difference between Canada’s rich and Canada’s poor thus: our rich lived in brick houses, while our poor lived in wooden houses. How times have changed since then! But while our social service systems have evolved and become more sophisticated since then, including with the creation of a massive shelter system, things have not improved for our poor. It is easily arguable they have become much worse. But I do not agree that expanding homeless shelters is the fix. Homeless shelters are vulnerable to gang control. Gang members move in, use the shelters to deal drugs, arms and even human flesh, and to keep the poor down by demanding they pay protection to avoid physical intimidation. The administration and the police turn a blind eye because they believe, falsely in my view, that crime is the result of poverty. But studies have shown that while gangs occupy shelters, their members have homes, families and money in the bank. When I first moved here, Canon Barlow convinced me to stay at APCH instead of in my van during 30 degree below weather in February. I witnessed a resident brandish a large knife and smash a window. Police dropped him off outside a detox and he was back within the hour. I left after another resident threw me against a wall and called me “a rat”. It was safer in my van, despite I had pneumonia and it was cold. I am not saying that APCH sanctioned that sort of behaviour but it is what people poorer than I was, who have no van to shelter in, must put up with at shelters because crime organizations view them as sources of revenue. I favour federal guaranteed income legislation and a trustee administration system, where required, and the elimination of provincial poverty programs. That won’t fix everything but if we give more independence tomour poor, it will lessen the ability of organized crime to intimidate, recruit and control them.

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