While specialized vehicles of various shapes and sizes will be on display for young folks at Milt Dunnell Field on Saturday, Sept. 14 (during the annual Evan’s Touch The Truck event in support of the ChildCan cancer support organization) a brand new event for St. Marys will provide the opportunity for licensed drivers to try out vehicles more suited to their every-day life.
It’s called “Drive 4UR Community,” and it’s an idea that has been building up speed across the nation since Ford of Canada introduced it in larger markets about five years ago.
“I’ve just got off the phone with one of the women that puts this together; she wants to make sure all the details are set up perfectly,” explained St. Marys Ford owner Kipp Edwards, during an interview last week at his Queen Street West dealership and repair centre.
Also involved in the interview were representatives from the two organizations which stand to benefit from next Saturday’s event: The Rotary Club of St. Marys, and the volunteer community-based Hope for Haiti group that, over the years, has coordinated various infrastructure improvements in Haiti and other developing nations.
Money raised through Drive 4UR Community is earmarked for further improvements to Rotary Park, on the north side of Trout Creek near Station Street, as well as the construction of a 250-pupil school in St. Marc, Haiti.
Edwards appeared before Town Council during the summer, seeking approval for the closure on Sept. 14 of the Town-owned parking lot on Water Street North, next to the now-closed “Green Bridge.” After an explanation of the charitable nature of the event from Edwards, councillors granted their approval for the use of the parking lot for the people who will be attending and taking Ford vehicles for test drives during Drive 4UR Community.
The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Ford of Canada has done a really great job with these events,” Edwards said. “They completely sell out every year.”
In St. Marys, a range of new vehicles will be parked for the day in the parking lot of McLean-Taylor Construction, across Water Street from the Town-owned lot. Holders of valid driver’s licenses will be allowed to test drive a vehicle from that location, proceeding through a predetermined route that takes them south on Wellington Street, west on Park Street, and back north on Water Street to the McLean-Taylor lot.
The test drive is completely free of charge. And Edwards stresses there will be no pressure to follow up the test drive with a visit to the dealership.
“It’s not a sales day,” he commented. “I’m not going to be there shaking people’s hands saying ‘we’ve got a deal for you.’
“The intention is to get money to build a school and make improvements at Rotary Park. And if people enjoy their test drive in a Ford vehicle, that’s great.”
The goal is to offer 300 test drives throughout the day. Under the Ford of Canada formula, a $20 corporate donation will be made to the Rotary Club — which has charitable status, and which in turn passes on a portion of proceeds to Hope For Haiti. If Drive 4UR Community reaches its goal, that will translate into a sizeable Ford of Canada donation of $6,000.
People can sign up to test drive a vehicle ahead of time by contacting Rota-rians Pierre Chateauvert or Ron Aitken, or Hope for Haiti’s Murray Mitchell. But Aitken adds, “there will be plenty of space for walk-ins” on the day of the event.
Refreshments will be available. And if you happen to be there at lunch time, or if you happen to have some little family members who are interested in seeing some larger machines, stroll across the Green Bridge and take in the Evan’s Touch The Truck.