MANITOULIN – A special Marc Hovingh Memorial Island Ride is to take place later this Saturday on Manitoulin will raise funds to benefit the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Youth Foundation.
“It’s a big cause and the OPP commissioner is behind it as well,” said Kevin Lehman, administrator of the OPP Youth Foundation, when contacted by The Expositor. “And it’s a great way to remember Marc (Hovingh) and create a legacy of his life.”
Adam Belanger, provincial coordinator of the Ride Smart Cycle Education Program with the OPP told The Expositor that annually the National Police Officers’ ‘Ride to Remember’ has been held for several years, with hundreds of (bicycle riders) taking part and travelling from Aylmer, Ontario to Ottawa. It is not taking place this year due to the pandemic. “The ride is 700 kilometres, and generally with the pandemic that large a group of riders getting together is not feasible this year. So, this year each police service in Ontario is holding its own, local ride.”
“We have an OPP cycling team that takes part in the ‘Ride to Remember’ every year, and this year to honour Marc’s memory there will be a number of the members of that team that will be taking part in the ride on Manitoulin Island,” explained Mr. Belanger.
“The OPP Youth Foundation purpose is to service youth in need, for instance to help provide the opportunity for them to compete in sports and community events,” said Mr. Belanger. “Marc was very much geared to helping those in need, and by holding this ride the OPP wants to create a legacy of Marc’s life. I will be on the Island taking part in the ride in memory of Marc, and other members of the team, including Thomas Carrique, OPP commissioner will be participating as well. It will provide the opportunity of coming together and celebrate Marc’s life, and being able to be with the Hovingh family and the OPP.”
The Marc Hovingh Memorial Island Ride is open to members of the public and participants will register for the ride and can make a donation to the cause if they would like to.
“That’s our hope, to continue this ride again next year in Marc’s memory,” said Mr. Belanger.
The Marc Hovingh Memorial Ride will take place on Manitoulin Island on Saturday, September 18. Participants can take part in one of the four different routes taking place, said Mr. Belanger. He explained a family ride of 33 kilometres will take riders around Mindemoya Lake. This route offers paved shoulders along Highway 551 and is an ideal family route with lots of rest stops scattered throughout. It is very picturesque. The 68-kilometre Green Bay route offers paved shoulders along Highway 551 and Highway 540. This route has lots of hills and scenery, which includes a variety of landscapes and lakes. It’s an excellent route to challenge your hill climbs and cardio. The 136-kilometre Manitowaning ride offers a challenge over the distance and has paved shoulders along Highway 551, Highway 540 and Highway 6. This route has hills, scenery, lakes and distance. It’s an excellent distance route through Island settlements.
Mr. Belanger said, “there is also a Marc Hovingh Memorial Island Ride Your Own Route as the fourth option. If someone is not able to take part in the ride on Manitoulin Island but would like to take part in your own ride where you live, one can register. And while all four options as part of the ride is free to participants who register, participants and those interested can make a donation to the memorial ride.”
Mr. Belanger said that through the OPP Youth Foundation, “a total of 10 youth bicycles and helmets have been purchased and will be presented to youth who have been recognized in the community, throughout the Island.”
“We have set a goal of raising $20,000 through the memorial and we opened up registration at the beginning of the week and things have been going pretty well so far,” said Mr. Belanger.
“On November 19, 2020 OPP Constable Marc Hovingh died protecting and serving the communities of Manitoulin Island,” an OPP release states. “The OPP has partnered with the Hovingh family and the Manitoulin Island communities to memorialize Marc’s life and his unwavering service to his community and the province of Ontario.”
“A cycling event has been planned and will take place on September 18 to create a legacy of Marc’s life,” the OPP release reads. “Marc was committed to his family and his community through his work, his church and his desire to help those in need.”
“In the spirit of how Marc lived his life, the ride will be raising awareness and funds for the Ontario Provincial Police Youth Foundation, an organization that mirrors what Marc’s life displayed, providing for those in need of assistance,” the release adds.
You can register for the ride or donate by going on to the CanadaHelps website and typing in ‘Marc Hovingh Memorial Island Ride.’