All smiles at this year’s Easter Seals Snowarama
At the pancake breakfast to kick off this year’s Snowarama event are (from the left) Emma Reaney, Snowarama chairperson Heather Cooke-Erwin and 2020 Easter Seals Snowarama ambassador Keira Reaney, outside the Riverside Recreation Hall. Thompson Goddard photo

RIVERSIDE HEIGHTS – Across Ontario, several snowmobile clubs hold Snowarama for Easter Seals Kids fundraising events. The Snowarama website says the event began in 1975. Since then, Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs have raised more than $16.3-million in more than 20 communities.

For the past 45 years, the Nation Valley Snowmobile Association has been part of the Snowarama for Easter Seals fundraising team. The 2020 Nation Valley Snowarama event was held on Jan. 25.

The event began at the Riverside Recreation Hall in South Dundas with breakfast. A steady stream of people enjoyed a plate of pancakes accompanied by an opportunity to socialize with friends and family.

Snowarama chairperson Heather Cooke-Erwin took a few minutes from a busy morning to speak with The Chesterville Record. She said there were only 10 sleds registered for the event, a decrease she attributed to a lack of snow and insurance concerns.

Regarding insurance issues for snowmobilers, NVSA member Greg Erwin explained municipalities and large corporations with trails on their land are concerned with the effect of wording in insurance policies and liability issues. Erwin said there has been little effect so far on the NVSA club but noted snowmobile clubs in the Osgoode and Carleton regions are feeling the effects of this issue.

Heather Cooke-Erwin has already surpassed her personal goal of raising $2000 for Easter Seals, which she explained is about the cost of a sled hockey wheelchair. The 2020 Easter Seal Snowarama Ambassador was seven-year-old Keira Reaney of Metcalfe who attended the breakfast with her mother Emma Reaney and her two grandmothers.  

During a short address to those at the breakfast, Cooke-Erwin spoke regarding the passing of long-time volunteer Jean MacDougal and mentioned members of her immediate family were present. South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds was at the event, commenting that Snowarama is always well supported by the community and is “certainly an event which has been well organized.” Earlier Cooke-Erwin thanked the volunteers, members of the NVSA and those who made donations for the silent auction. The day was scheduled to finish with a spaghetti dinner at the Mountain Trail Blazers Snowmobile Club.