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What started with an idea is now a tradition in Edmonton. Not only is the Edmonton Toy Run one of the last big events of the motorcycling season for many riders. It also signals that Christmas is a lot closer! The Edmonton Toy Run has become the unofficial kick-off to Santas Anonymous’ Christmas Campaign to provide a brighter Christmas for children who may not otherwise receive a visit from Santa.
It all started with Jan Steenson and a 1984 Toy Rally at Brighton Beach, England.
In June 1984, Pete and Jan Steenson participated in a Toy Run at the International Harley-Davidson Super Rally in Brighton, England. Jan was enchanted with the event. It didn’t hurt that the parade was a loop from one end of Brighton Beach to the other and was attended by notables such as Willie G. Davidson himself!
On returning to Edmonton, Jan asked around about having a Toy Run in this city. People said it was a good idea but nobody wanted to head it up.
So Jan did. Jan did some research, made some plans, and photocopied some primitive advertising (right). Note that there’s not even a contact phone number, let alone an email address. Amazing (by today’s standards) that anybody even found their way there! Everyone, especially Pete and Jan’s friends Pierre and Sandy, put flyers on every motorcycle they saw.
About three weeks later, on Sunday September 30, 1984, about 250 motorcycles gathered at the Westmount Shopping Centre and paraded to Capilano Mall.
And so it began!
Sunday, September 30, 1984 was Edmonton’s first Motorcycle Toy Run.
In 2008, the Toy Run experienced a record attendance when 3,000 + motorcycles participated in the ride to Hawrelak Park.
The motorcycle community broke a second record that year when they donated enough toys to fill 2/3’s of a 53 foot trailer.
PLUS cash donations in excess of $28,000.
In 2016 the Motorcycle Toy Run changed its name to the Edmonton Toy Run.