TO THE TOP CANADA: Leamington is where this great story all began!

 

LEAMINGTON – March 1, 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of a great Canadian achievement and the historic TO THE TOP CANADA Expedition.

This was the first and still only journey from the bottom of mainland Canada to the top under one’s own power.

On March 1, 1997 Chris Robertson woke up in Leamington, in Southwest Ontario at the local Comfort Inn hotel. From there he headed to Point Pelee National Park where, with special permission from Parks Canada, Chris headed with his bicycle to Canada’s most southern mainland point at Point Pelee National Park, to begin the famous TO THE TOP CANADA Expedition.

Chris Robertson was followed by an entourage of National Media that covered and documented the beginning of the TO THE TOP CANADA Expedition.  Then he was greeted by a massive crowd of Leamington and area residents at the Point Pelee National Park Visitor Centre.

From Point Pelee National Park a full parade of southern Ontario cyclists with a police escort cycled to Leamington Town Hall. At the Town Hall, an official presentation was made and a certificate was presented to the Mayor that commemorated the TO THE TOP CANADA Expedition making its first stop of what would be 51 Canada Rallies across Canada.

The certificate contained the poem CANADA’S PRAYER which was written by Chris Robertson.  Chris’ poem, soon to become popular across Canada, was adapted into a song by school teacher Bob Friesen.

Here is the poem:

 

CANADA’S PRAYER

I’m dreaming of Canada tonight.

A country where mountains and hopes touch the sky

A country where an ocean of kindness fills all hearts

A country where ideas are a forest of wisdom

Oh God let me wake up in Canada!

I’m dreaming of Canada tonight.

A country where compassion is as tall as a douglas fir

A country where understanding is as deep as a great lake

A country where confidence grows like grain

Oh God let me wake up in Canada!

I’m dreaming of Canada tonight.

A country where happiness flows like the water of a river

A country where love is a breath of fresh air

A country where peace covers the land like snow

Oh God, please let me wake up in Canada, tonight…

 

“I would like to thank the people of Leamington because their glowing hearts gave the TO THE TOP CANADA Expedition a send off that stayed with me all the way to the top of Canada.

“I fondly remember Leamington as one of Canada’s most patriotic communities, 25 years later. Today Leamington and Point Pelee National Park has a special role in Canada as the caretaker and guardian of the TO THE TOP CANADA story.  I know that this great Canadian story of the first journey from the bottom of mainland Canada to the top and key message of positive citizenship is in good hands with the community of Leamington,” said Chris while speaking at the Leamington Canada Rally.

The goodwill of the people of Leamington was carried by Chris Robertson in his heart. In media appearances and Canada Rallies Chris Robertson challenged millions of Canada to answer this one important question:

“What will you do to make Canada a better country than when you found it?”

Chris believes the synergy of millions of Canadians making Canada better with a personal project of their own choice, makes a better Canada for all of us. He knows the best Canada is yet to come. This generational challenge is as important today as it was 25 years ago.

From Point Pelee National Park Chris Robertson had to cycle 6520 kilometres.

Although, today Chris Robertson lives in Stony Plain, Alberta close to his grandchildren, every year and especially this 25th Anniversary year, on March 1st his heart is in Leamington, Ontario.

1 Comment

  1. I was part of the media entourage covering Chris leaving Point Pelee. If he’d done it today he’d have a website and daily Twitter & Instagram progress updates. But in 1997 he was on his own. Google Maps was still a decade away; it was difficult to even comprehend the 6,200+ km ride ahead using a folded paper road map. But I heard about 10 months later he finally reached “The Top”. An inspiring man and inspiring journey — then and now.

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