JUNE 6 • 2020

With deep regret we are forced to announce the cancellation of our 2020 event. Consider it more of a postponement as the HHR absolutely will return in 2021 on the 1st Saturday in June as usual.

As an alternative, members of the HHR team will be meeting at the Westbound En Route in Trenton just West of Wooler Rd. on the 401. While respecting whatever grouping and social distancing rules are in place at the time, we will depart at 1100 to mark HHR day. Destination yet to be determined. Please stay tuned.

The National Air Force Museum is on DND property. Memorial Park is on Port Hope municipal property. Both the RCAF and the Municipality of Port Hope have been exceptionally welcoming and accommodating hosts to the HHR. PLEASE be respectful in return and clean up your trash and cigarette butts behind you.

The Northumberland Fare Share Food Bank will once again be at the HHR. All Riders and Visitors are strongly encouraged to bring non-perishable goods to the Rally in Port Hope and drop them off at their booth in front of Town Hall on Queen St.

In Lou's own words...

It was December 2008 when the news hit that Canada had reached the century (100) mark of fatalities in the ongoing conflict taking place in Afghanistan. Combat was a new role for the Canadian Forces, as they had generally played the role of peacekeepers for the last 50 years.

 

The soldiers, Cpl. Mark Robert McLaren, Warrant Officer Robert John Wilson and Pte. Demetrius Diplaros were from the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based out of Petewawa, ON. These men, in flag draped coffins were repatriated a few days later at CFB Trenton, their families on the tarmac to follow their bodies along the Highway of Heroes to Toronto before going on to their final resting place.

This journey along the Highway of Heroes was not a new one to many Canadians who had visited the 50 bridges or stopped on the side of the highway to join so many families in mourning, this was just the latest one. And, what made it more significant was we were so close to Christmas, these families lives were never going to be the same.

 

I stood, along with my wife Anne and thousands of other Canadians, to show these families, we too, were mourning their loss.

 

It was while I stood on that bridge and watched this outpouring of support, the Canadian flags held over the railing, the signs and the tears of every day Canadians, as the motorcade of our Fallen Heroes passed by in what felt like a heartbeat.

 

It was just then, it occurred to me that this was truly Canadian outpouring of support for our Fallen Heroes, but what about those that have served and were injured or returned to Afghanistan for a second tour knowing the dangers, and finally what about their families that are left behind while they serve in this combat mission, not knowing if they will return home safely, where was their outpouring of support, their flag draped bridges, their signs and tears of a safe return.

 

That was the moment the idea for the Heroes Highway Ride was born, a motorcycle ride along the hallowed Highway of Heroes from Trenton to the Toronto area. It was going to be different, in it was going to FREE to participate in. Others had tried to put together Support Our Troops rides but all with registration fee, I felt the FREEDOM to hold this ride was provided and protected by those brave men and women who serve or have served in our Canadian Forces.

 

The next challenge was to pick a date, I wanted late spring because kids are still in school and many people are not on holidays yet. I chose the first Saturday in June and felt like it was a good fit. It wasn’t until later that I realized that we were right around the anniversary of D-Day which, in my mind made it a natural.

 

The first year I had a simple plan, assemble at 10 Acre Truck Stop, just on the west side of Belleville and ride along the Highway of Heroes to Iroquois Park in Whitby. As I had no registration fee I wanted to end somewhere people could grab a bite or a drink. 134 bikes joined me for the ride and at the end we were met by Captain Wayne Johnston of Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warriors Fund (now known as Wounded Warriors Canada) and presented him with a jug of money donated by those who joined us.

 

After the ride, several of those bikers that joined us suggested that we should have a rally at the end of the ride, that way the public that didn’t ride but wanted to show their support could join us as well.

 

The idea was a great one and inspired me to add the rally, again, Free to participate in. And the model it was struck from,has become Canada’s largest demonstration of support for our Troops, their families and 1st Responders.

 

Continued support of Trapper Cane and all the members of Canadian Army Veterans Riding Club as well as many other Veteran motorcycle groups have long supported us and continue to do so, they have made the it possible for us, the organizers of the HHR to connect those that serve, with so many communities.

 

• 2009 10 Acre Truck Stop, Belleville - Iroquois Park, Whitby

• 2010 10 Acre Truck Stop, Belleville - Downtown, Bowmanville

• 2011 10 Acre Truck Stop, Belleville - Downtown, Oshawa

• 2012 Parade Square CFB Trenton - Sound Academy, Toronto

• 2013 Whitby Entertainment Centrum, Whitby - Centennial Park, Trenton

• 2014 National Air Force Museum, Trenton - Whitby Entertainment Centrum, Whitby

• 2015 National Air Force Museum, Trenton - Whitby Entertainment Centrum, Whitby

• 2016 National Air Force Museum, Trenton - Whitby Entertainment Centrum, Whitby

• 2017 National Air Force Museum, Trenton - Memorial Park, Port Hope

• 2018 National Air Force Museum, Trenton - Memorial Park, Port Hope

• 2019 National Air Force Museum, Trenton - Memorial Park, Port Hope

• 2020 National Air Force Museum, Trenton - Memorial Park, Port Hope

 

I would like to add one post script to this story and that is, when this idea was first conceived, I was a member of the Perfect Pigs Motorcycle Club ( not 1% ) and many of my brothers helped and supported the ride and helped make it the success it is. And while I left the club many years ago, I still consider many of those I rode with in the PPMC, brothers and thank them for their efforts during the early years.

 

It has been a honour and a privilege to work with so many of you and to share in this great event. I look forward to seeing you all on the first Saturday in June, mark it on your calendar’s.

 

Thank you, to all those that volunteer every year and all of you who join us each year, making the HHR the success it is..

 

Lou DeVuono

Founder & Executive Director

Heroes Highway Ride and Rally Association