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Despite the arctic cold on Mount Royal on February 19, close to 450 people took part in this night-time snowshoe adventure in the magical winter setting of the mountain at the 18th edition of the Tuques Bleues Celebration.
Inspired by the snowshoe excursion of the Montreal Snowshoe Club dating from 1840, this benefit event organized by Les amis de la montagne as part of the opening night of Montréal en lumière, is presented by Manulife for a 6th consecutive year, and raised close to $170,000in support of educational and conservation programs on Mount Royal.
The honorary co-chairmanship was held by Robert Tellier, Regional Vice President, Group Retirement Solutions and Group Benefits Québec, Manulife, and Sévrine Labelle, Vice-President, Strategy and Public Affairs, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal, replacing Michel Leblanc, President & CEO.
Braving the strong winds, Cirque Alzado’s light jugglers and MC Marjorie Vallée of Rouge FM entertained the crowd. The resounding boom of the canon of the 2nd Field Artillery of the Royal Canadian Army signalled the departure of the race, a historic reminder the mountain ascent of Colonel Stevenson’s battery in 1862 and 1863 that contributed to the creation of Mount Royal Park by proving its accessibility.
The exhilarating hike on a 2.5 km forest trail culminated with a delicious gastronomic feast prepared by Java U Catering at the splendid Chalet du Mont-Royal. The sound and light ambience enhancing the beauty of the site was conceived by Musion Canada.
Les amis de la montagne would like to thank and underline the remarkable involvement of the volunteers and partners who helped make the event such a success.
WINNER OF THE SNOWSHOE RACE MEDALS AND TROPHY
85 women and men participated in the snowshoe race, and 8 companies registered to the Défi Équipes to win the Tuques Bleues Trophy.
Les amis de la montagne thanks the Défi Équipes partners: CN, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, GE Capital (2 teams), Pembroke Management Ltd, McCarthy Tétrault LLP / S.E.N.C.R.L., s.r.l., Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt S.E.N.C.R.L./s.r.l and Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.
The Tuques Bleues Trophy was awarded to the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation with a best combined time for their top three racers of 48:83.61, with an average race time of 16:28.
Snowshoe race - Women:
Gold – Ann-Julie Auclair, Savonitto & Associés Avocats, 16:15
Silver – Brigitte Martin, 18:27
Bronze – Catherine Megias, Osler Avocats, 18:54
Snowshoe race – Men:
Gold – David Le Porho, Club Sportif MAA, 10:19
Silver – Jean-François Bemeur, Club Sportif MAA, 11:35
Bronze – Sébastien St-Hilaire, 12:16
See the complete race results on Sportstats official website
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE TUQUES BLEUES
The Montreal Snowshoe Club was founded in 1840. Its members would gather each week at nightfall on Sherbrooke Street near McGill College for a 20 km snowshoe hike through the forest of Mount Royal. This winter sport was one the main social, recreational and philanthropic activities of the time and provided some of the most influential businessmen of Montreal the time to socialize together. Around 1870, the Club members started wearing the blue tuque, a symbol of their excellence in competition.
Les amis de la montagne revives this tradition by inviting individuals and corporate teams to enjoy a unique snowshoe event followed by a night of celebration at the Chalet du Mont-Royal. The Tuques Bleues fundraising event held in support of Mount Royal is featured on the opening night of Montréal en lumière festivities. By participating, you help Les amis de la montagne preserve Montreal’s most cherished heritage site. Event profits are reinvested in educational, enhancement and conservation programs on Mount Royal.
Les amis de la montagne wishes to thank the major partners for their ongoing commitment and support of the event: principal partner in the Gold category, Manulife, privileged partners, Tubbs Snowshoes and Atlas Snowshoes, and public partner, the Ville de Montréal, for its support towards the realisation of its mission.
Les amis de la montagne also thanks the sponsors in the Bronze category: TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and Velan Inc.; their sponsors of products and services: Montréal en lumière, Domaine Pinnacle, 2e Régiment de l’Artillerie du Canada, Location Hewitt Inc., C4 Communications,Gattuso and Java U Catering; and finally, their media partners: La Presse+ and Bell Media affiliated radio stations,CJAD 800 AM, CHOM 97.7 FM and Rouge 107,3 FM.
A warm thank you to the Tuques Bleues Committee presided by Jeffrey Drummond; Abe Adham, Robert Fortier, Richard M. Hart, Érik Moisan and Diana Ferrara Scalia, for their important role in reaching the fundraising goals.
Photos: Delphine Delair and Tzara Maud