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Walk the Walk to Take a Closer Look

Christine Whelan FEO, February 1, 2024, VOL. 5 ISSUE 11

The Coldest Day of the Year, hosted by the Brain Injury Association of Fort Erie

Gather a group and get into the experience of throwing light on homelessness and poverty. Take this opportunity for your business to challenge another business, your group to challenge another group — just for fun, raising money for a rising need that is gripping our community.

The Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) is a winterrific family-friendly walk in support of local charities serving people experiencing hurt, hunger, and homelessness. Join in on February 24 – team up, fundraise, walk, and take a moment to look closer… because it’s cold out there.

The Walk

What: Participants register to walk 2km – 5km, whether at a main event or offsite with their team.

Who: Everyone is welcome! CNOY is family-friendly – participants range in age from toddlers (with parents of course) to active seniors.

How: Participants register online to set up their personal Fundhub page. It’s easy to set your goal, add your photo message, and thank donors via email. Donors who give online are provided with receipts within minutes of their secure gift of $20 or more.

No Registration Fee: CNOY is 100% free to join.

Brain Injury Association of Fort Erie

This year, the Brain Injury Association of Fort Erie (BIAFE) is hosting the event.

Founded in 1987 by two Fort Erie mothers whose sons had sustained acquired brain injuries, the agency is located at 649 Niagara Blvd, corner of Niagara and Phipps Street. BIAFE is a community-based support service for adults living with the effects of an acquired brain injury.

Fire Chief Mark Schmitt is the event’s Honorary Ambassador.

The Route

The idea of a walk, for many people, might sound intimidating. But a route had been picked out that minimized any risk and increased safety.

Betty Talbot of the BIAFE explained, “I chose the high school to be the center of the event because it’s kind of central to all of Fort Erie. I wanted to make sure it was somewhere that was well lit, that I knew it was going to be plowed, and where there were sidewalks.”

She provided the details of the route. “We are starting from the Greater Fort Erie Secondary School, from the front doors, around to the back parking lot, returning to the front of the school, and across the Pride crosswalk. Then up Garrison Road to Buffalo Road, around the back of the Municipal Centre, and back to the school.

“That’s only two and a half kilometres but people can walk it twice.”

Talbot included to add to the safety factor, the route will be in view of the volunteers as it’s not a straightway but localized. “I’ve got 25 safety vests. We’re going to hand those out to the volunteers so that they’re easily identifiable. If walkers need help, they can locate one and go to that person.”

The Greater Fort Erie Secondary School (GFESS) supports the event. Betty shared the school’s contribution. “They are going to cook up some soup for the walkers at the end of the walk.” She added, “Cookies have been donated by Rich’s.”

Different Ways To Participate

“I’ve been telling people, please don’t worry about the weather. Even though it’s called the “Coldest Night”, you don’t have to walk, you can do it virtually, from your house,” Betty assured.

She was talking with someone who wanted to participate but had a walker. “I told her we could accommodate,” and explained, that an indoor location could be set up so she could walk back and forth for the distance. “We can change the route for people who can’t walk outside, on the snowy roads.”

For those who are not able to be a part of the walk, the route is set up so that others can watch from their cars in the parking lots in support, maybe make and wave banners.

As she described the walk, the route, and the potential for community on-site cheering and support, she reminded me of a parade.


Betty said she was in the process of getting student volunteers who are looking to get their community service hours in.

“We’re also going to need people along the walk. We’re looking for cheerleaders to come out and root the walkers on, to keep people’s spirits up. We’re looking for donations of hot chocolate and coffee, and we’ll need people to hand those out.”

She added, “I have two volunteers who are going to be driving the route in case someone needs assistance.”

Getting the Ball Rolling in Fort Erie

“The organizers at the Coldest Night of the Year said that they’ve been trying to get a walk here in Fort Erie for years, but it’s never gained enough support to become sustainable. I’m hoping that we can generate enough support so that next year it can be shared with different organizations. I’d like to make it an annual fundraiser for all the charities in the area to take part in.”

Small Side Fundraisers

A few smaller events are running just before, adding to the total goal.

Businesses have been asked to sell snowflakes for five dollars. Customers and clients can sign their names on a snowflake and display them at the business, Talbot explained.

The Designer Bag Bingo & Bling Thing is on Friday, February 23 at the Crystal Ridge Community Centre. Betty wanted to include, “The Ridgeway Lions donated the Crystal Ridge Hall for this event.”

The BIAFE has been accessing different avenues to generate money.

“We’re trying to raise $20,000 locally,” all towards the Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser.

Betty says they are welcoming sponsors.


So, check out the Fort Erie page of the Coldest Night of the Year event website, where you will see the update-to-date numbers, as a whole and for each team. The Fort Erie goal, as you will see, as of January 24, Fort Erie is up to 25% of its goal, of $5,000. cnoy.org/location/forterie

It’s not too late. Team up, fundraise, walk, and take a moment to look closer… because it’s cold out there.

Registration is until the day before the event (February 23).

Follow the Brain Injury Association of Fort Erie’s Facebook Page for all updates.

There are no upcoming events at this time.