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Coldest night walk draws hundreds in Victoria and Langford

Coldest night walk draws hundreds in Victoria and Langford

About 750 people in the capital region raised just over $172,000 in Coldest Night of the Year walks on Saturday for Our Place and Pacific Centre Family Services.

The two local fundraising walks were among about 180 held across the country. There were several others on the Island, in Sooke, Campbell River, Comox Valley, Duncan, Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni. 

Rachel Hesketh, community relations and events co-ordinator at Our Place society, said that it’s been incredible to see the event grow over the years.

One person even came in from Vancouver to attend.

Dane Markic had previously worked at Our Place as a business co-op student and returned to Victoria over the weekend to volunteer as a route marshal.

“I owe it to the people that we worked with. I’ve learned so much at that job,” he said. “I just kind of wanted to give back, and it’s for a good cause.”

By Saturday night, the downtown Victoria walk had achieved 92% of its $125,000 fundraising goal, while West Shore was at 102 per cent of its $55,000 goal.

There were 475 registrants in Victoria and 283 in the West Shore.

Money from the Victoria walk goes towards Our Place operations, while a portion of the funds raised from the West Shore walk goes to Pacific Centre Family Services and the New Roads Therapeutic Recovery Centre in View Royal.

Hesketh said she expects funds to continue to come in over the next month.

Kara Ross, executive coordinator at Pacific Centre Family Services, said that the money will go to reducing wait times across all of the organization’s programs, which include counselling and social services.

In Victoria, the walk started at 1027 Pandora Ave., where new Our Place offices are located, rather than at 919 Pandora in previous years.

In the West Shore, participants started from the Starlight Stadium and walked along Langford Parkway.

Since 2011, the fundraising walks under the Coldest Night of the Year umbrella have raised just over $75 million in 190 Canadian communities.

Coldest night walk draws hundreds in Victoria and Langford – Victoria Times Colonist

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