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'Tour de Force’ draws officers and cyclist from around the province to Manitoulin Island

It was an emotional scene in Mindemoya on Saturday morning as officers and cyclists, from Toronto to Timmins, gathered on Manitoulin Island for the first annual Tour de Force; Heroes in Life Cycling Series.

The first annual Tour de Force; Heroes in Life Cycling Series kicks off Saturday on Manitoulin Island. (Supplied)

Originally dubbed the Marc Hovingh Memorial Ride in honour of a Manitoulin Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer who was killed in the line of duty back in 2020, it’s now expanded with the blessing of Hovingh’s family to include all fallen officers.

“We’re so grateful, like beyond grateful and this is super special this year because they’re not just remembering Marc,” said Marc’s wife, Lianne Hovingh.

“It’s beautiful, I’m also here with some of my ‘Sole Sisters’, they’re survivors of life enforcement, their partners have also died in the line of duty and it’s just been so special to be here and supporting each other in this way.”

Cyclists have the opportunity bike as much as the 140 kilometre route, which takes them right around the island.

Funds raised go to the OPP Youth Foundation, a cause that was near and dear to Constable Hovingh and many other police officers on the island.

“You know what, it’s a great ride,” said organizer and participant Steve Redmond.

“There are some hills, some challenges and there will be some speeds to see if you can catch up to so yeah it will be a fantastic ride on the 140.”

One of those who got his bike ready to test out his skills on the 140 kilometre route was OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique.

“This means the world,” Carrique told CTV News.

“The way I’ve always looked at it is that police officers are looked at as role models in some communities and for some people, they’re actually held up as heroes and most police officers were actually inspired to become a police officer because of an interaction they had with one as a kid. When we have an opportunity make a difference in a young person’s life, it can have a tremendous impact.”

There were officers taking part from several forces and services, not just the OPP. On a day like this one, many will tell you they are one police family.

Cyclists from Toronto to Timmins, many of them police officers, gathered on Manitoulin Island Saturday Morning for the first annual ‘Tour de Force; Heroes in Life’ Cycling Series. (Ian Campbell/CTV News Northern Ontario)

“Any time we have a chance to come back to Manitoulin Island and make a difference as a broader community, it’s a good day,” said Carrique.

“When the passing of an officer happens on duty, we all feel it. Communities and agencies come together to honour the officer but we all feel it the same way. It’s important for us to come together at the time and at future events to keep their legacy alive,” said Timmins Police Service Chief Daniel Foy.

Police chiefs from across northeastern Ontario were invited to attend. The police chiefs of UCCM Aninishabe Police and the Wiikwemkoong Police Service were there for the opening ceremonies.

The opening ceremonies also including the presentation of five bikes to deserving children on the island.

“I might take this bike up to my great-grandma’s and show her how nice this bike is because usually I bike up to my grandma’s,” said 11-year-old recipient Allie.

“I’m very excited to be here, representing the OPP Youth Foundation as we ride in memory of Marc Hovingh and the other fallen officers in northern Ontario,” said Sandy Poredos, the foudnation’s executive director.

“Community, OPP is community. That’s what the OPP Foundation is all about.” 

Cost. Marc Hovingh was killed near Gore Bay when he and another officer were investigating a property dispute in November 2020. (File/Supplied/OPP)The event continues Sunday with another 80 kilometre ride. Top Stories


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