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Riders, volunteers to deliver totem pole from Haida Gwaii to Edmonton by bike

It's hoped that as many as 50 cyclists and 10 volunteers will participate in the eight-day ride.

Totem poles at the Haida Gwaii Heritage Centre.

In 2014, Edmonton Journal editor-in-chief Allan Mayer, an investment consultant named Ron Pawlowski, columnist Nick Lees, and seven-time Canadian national cycling team member Matt Decore headed to the Queen Charlotte Islands—Haida Gwaii—participating in a group ride in order to shepherd back a three-metre-tall totem pole, designed by artist Bill Davidson, for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation at Edmonton’s CASA Centre.

Having recently visited Haida Gwaii again, the promise of another pole by the renowned First Nations artist was made, and Lees, he said, hopes to make the delivery of that pole even bigger.

This time, he hopes as many as 50 cyclists and 10 volunteers will participate in the fundraiser and eight-day ride from Edmonton to the British Columbia west coast, he said, returning with the pole for CASA’s $24 million building in Allendale neighbourhood of Edmonton.

That first trip was so popular that he hasn’t gone more than a few months without a cycling friend asking, “When are we doing the Haida Gwaii Totem Tour again?” It was the best. The plan, giving Davidson time to complete the totem pole for its overland delivery across the Canadian west, is to do this particular Tour in 2019—and Lees invites any riders or volunteers interested in joining the ride to email apearce@casaservices.org and get put on a mailing list.

In the meantime, the riders also have the upcoming Mind Over Mountains 2018 Cycle Tour, departing Kaslo, B.C. on June 17 of next year to Jasper, Alta. via Radium.