2022 RBC Athlete of the Year- Masters (Adult) Ski Racing


May 2022

As many of you know, I have long been a fan of ski racing. I grew up skiing and racing at a very young age and continue to race as an adult. I admire racers of all kind and the general pursuit to remain competitive and to be your very best. There is so much that can be drawn from that type of ambition. In my eyes, it demonstrates the will to live and to thrive at whatever it is you love to do. Often the work we do with our clients is centered around planning for the future and to ensure the foundation for success and one’s ability to live life to the fullest. So really these goals and the required planning are parallel to one another.

I recently partnered with the International Masters Academy (IMA) in Collingwood to further my support for masters racing. We have agreed to sponsor their ‘Athlete of the Year’ recognition program for the next 5 years to highlight and celebrate an athlete who has demonstrated excellence and ambition to be their best. I am pleased to announce that the 2022 recipient is Jaime Hugessen (age 63) from Devil’s Glen. Jaime set some goals years ago as a masters racer to upgrade his performance in Alpine racing. Having recently retired, Jaime was able to provide more time and dedication to work on technique and fitness improvements. At the recent FIS World Criterium in St Moritz SUI he placed 11th in SG and 14th in SL out of 37 contenders. Well done!

Its my distinct pleasure to support stories and awards such as these. Life is a journey and there are many paths to take. Money and wealth are merely tools. Why I find this so powerful is that they are useful analogies to plan for a solid foundation that allows you to reach for the sky. They are also good reminders to stay healthy, active and to continue to challenge yourself to be your very best. Nothing exceptional ever happens without a plan. I suppose you could say that if your wealth is the cake then successes like these are the icing on top.

The Path to the Podium

December 2021
This past November, I was pleased to organize a grassroots effort alongside Crazy Canuck Ken Read and my neighbor and fellow Georgian Peaks member, Angus Crawford. Both have two kids each on the National Team and whose families have deep roots in the sport. In our discussions, I learned that in fact the Men’s national team was underfunded by about $250,000 heading into the upcoming world cup season. Among the missing pieces was a pre-olympic camp before the team headed to compete in Beijing. As a fan of the sport, I viewed this as unacceptable.
As a result, a campaign untitled ‘The Path to The Podium’ was born which was a two part fundraising series where we hosted a national Zoom call to have an open discussion and tackle some of the known challenges and help other families in the sport. Secondly, we hosted a VIP dinner event for 100 raving fans at the new Georgian Peaks lodge. Again, here we fostered open dialogue from some of Canada’s best racers from the past (Todd Brooker, Ken Read, Liisa Savijarvi and Brian Stemmle) on what it takes to be your very best. 
I have to say I was very encouraged by the community responses to these events but not at all surprised. The families, the ski clubs, the vendors, the fans, the foundations, the associations- all came to rally around this cause. At the time of writing this, we had committed donations for this specific cause of over $100,000. So I am happy to report we have taken a big bite out of the pressing problem- but we have not solved the longer term issue that we need more dollars for the sport and for our teams.
Putting these events on also reminded me (despite all the disruption that COVID has created these past 2 years) that is does very much take a Village to raise a ski racer. Let’s not forget (on the other side of many lockdowns) what the power of a community can accomplish and just how good it can feel. Ski racing families should never feel afraid to ask for help and as a community we need to be there.
It’s my hope that these recent ‘Path to the Podium’ events will inspire other communities across the country to replicate this winning formula. The appetite is definitely there among fans of ski racing to celebrate Canada’s past success but more importantly set the stage for a stronger future for our racers. Offering up this model to lend support to our teams might also be especially useful given the social disruption caused by the pandemic. We need to find ways to come together once more around the things we value.
So, as our Canadian Team racers step into the start gate this season, let’s give them nothing else to think about but to go fast and that they have a strong community behind them. 
Who’s with me?



Growling Beaver Brevet Cycling Event (Revisited)


October 2nd, 2021

With the fall having firmly arrived here in the Collingwood area, I was very pleased to be riding in support of Parkinson Canada once again with the Growling Beaver Brevet Cycling event. This was my 6th edition of this truly remarkable and inspirational event. We had tremendous weather which was a welcome change from years gone past with rain and cold weather that can make a 100km gravel ride seem a little longer….It was all sunshine and 20 degree weather and with the gradual re-opening of things it was great to be part of a true community effort to make a difference in the lives of those living with Parkinson’s disease. I am happy to report that I was able to raise $2500 towards the running total for this event now surpassing $2.3 million in total fundraising. This event is truly helping the people who are living with Parkinson’s to live full and complete lives. Thank you to all my generous donors!


Marsh Street Centre Patio Project


May 18, 2021

Although we've been unable to gather this past year, our group is still committed to investing in our community and fostering future opportunities to connect. The Marsh Street Centre is a non-profit, volunteer-run, community hub in Clarksburg, Ontario. To ensure a family and community-first centre continues to thrive in the area, we've donated $5,000 to help support their goal of building a covered patio to extend the types of events and programs available in Grey and Simcoe County. Looking forward to connecting with many of you out on the patio hopefully one day soon!

In this Together - Supporting the Collingwood Hospital 

May 4, 2021

I know we have all been thinking of ways we can support our local hospitals recently. I’m very happy to be involved as a Gold Sponsor for an event on May 13th which will be in support of the Collingwood Hospital but also local restaurants who have all been adversely affected by the ongoing pandemic. The event format will feature your ability to order a 3 course gourmet boxed meal for 2 from a local restaurant for $100 and obtain a $40 charitable receipt. I don’t know about you, but I have certainly missed the fun in enjoying a meal out at one of our many fabulous local restaurants. This unique event allows you to support 2 causes in one. I invite you to participate by visiting the link below (copy & paste to your browser). After all, we are all In this together.



Supporting Beaver Valley Outreach 

April 29, 2021

I’m pleased once again to be supporting Beaver Valley Outreach with a donation of $1000 this Spring. BVO is an instrumental community charity in our area and they have been so good to me and my family. This is an organization out of Thornbury who offer a variety of programs from infants to seniors. Many of the BVO programs and wonderful people have watched over our children (in non-COVID times) with their BVO Daycare as well as their Kids Club (before and after school care). I have also been very happy to work with their Answers for Seniors program as a resource on financial matters to local residents.  I know many of the BVO current board members and count them as friends. These are quality people who are truly trying to make a difference in our community. I believe BVO is definitely worthy of everyone’s ongoing support. Thanks, BVO for all you do!

Growling Beaver Brevet Cycling Event


October 28, 2020

Despite the COVID environment we continue to live in, I was pleased to participate in my 5th Growling Beaver Brevet Cycling event this fall in beautiful Beaver Valley. The event took on an adapted format with everyone choosing a date and distance to complete the event and also an effort to stay distanced but to still raise funds towards Parkinson’s research. This year, my brother and I rode together completing over 100 kms on mostly gravel roads. It was a journey and adventure. As always, there were lots of steep hills upon which you could contemplate a great many things! But often, just ‘how do I beat this'?  That seems like a suitable sentiment all around, don’t you think?

I was pleased to raise $2,048 towards this year’s event total of $200,000 and over $2 million since The Growling Beaver’s inception 6 years ago. What a great event and cause. See you next year!


Let’s Make Good Things Happen

June 11, 2020

In times like these I am even more grateful for community organizations like Beaver Valley Outreach. For over 35 years, BVO has been helping to enhance the lives of people in The Blue Mountains with programs and services for families, children, seniors and youth. Their mantra as you may know is “Making Good Things Happen in our Community” and of course who wouldn’t want that to happen as much as possible. With the disruption and closures caused by COVID-19, unfortunately the BVO thrift shop is not open and this has impacted revenue for the organization. So, with that in mind, donations are especially meaningful right now. This June, BVO is taking advantage of an excellent opportunity to raise money and the chance to win a $20,000 prize in The Great Canadian Giving Challenge. The promotion is simple – BVO will receive one entry towards the prize for each dollar donated to BVO through the Canada Helps donation page. The more dollars and entries they receive, the better the chance that they will win the prize! Learn more at www.bvo.ca.

Paying It Forward


June 1, 2020
An update on some initiatives we have under taken here at the RBC DS branch in Collingwood. Like many of you, as this health crisis continues, I have wondered how we might be able to help certain essential services here locally. We are very pleased to say that we have partnered with local caterers Road Runner Foods to partake on a ‘Pay it Forward’ initiative created by them to help people direct much needed assistance (in the form of prepared meals) to various local agencies. Similar to the local hospitals, there are many other agencies keeping doors open to individuals in need during this health crisis. Alongside our branch efforts to support organizations like Home Horizons, E3 Community Services & the Wasaga Beach Food Bank, I personally decided to also support Out of The Cold in Collingwood with 44 prepared meals for staff and residence. This is just our way of lending some support to some key organizations at this time. Kudos to Road Runner Foods for developing this fantastic initiative. This is our way of saying ‘Thank you’ to all our essential workers as we work through this!

Women, Worth & Wellness, International Women’s Day 2020

It was my pleasure to be the main sponsor and participant at the Women, Worth and Wellness event at the Marsh Street Centre in Clarksburg on March 11th. Thank you for everyone’s participation and fabulous energy throughout the day.

We had multiple discussions including a wellness panel and an inspirational talk by Dr. Elaine Dembe. Elaine’s presentation was an awesome reminder to always make strides to living life to its fullest! The foundation of this success is our health (#1) and our wealth to ensure we plan for the long road ahead. These are only a few pieces of an important formula towards happiness. As a local to this area, I am a big believer in doing the things you love to do and empowering my clients to do the same.

I took a moment at the event to speak to some of the financial challenges that women need to acknowledge and plan for. Women face a number of unique challenges as it relates to financial planning which is why this is an area of specialty for me and my team. It’s also very clear to me that the financial industry needs to take greater steps to help women address these challenges and create greater engagement early on regarding ways to plan for life in retirement. I am personally dedicated to improving this through education and events. Most importantly is the notion of Longevity planning. While short term risks will come and go, larger risks such as a failure to plan for an income to age 95 or 100 is much more relevant and important. What’s more, we can control those events and discussions.

It was my pleasure to be involved with this awesome event and a huge ‘Thank You’ again to Nancy Griffin for this living legacy. Special Thanks also to Jeff MacInnis, the Cheese Gallery, Mycollingwood.ca and all of the panel participants.



International Masters Academy ski racers take on the world at Innsbruck 2020 Winter World Games

I was very proud to be a sponsor of the International Masters Academy athletes as they represented Canada at the 2020 Winter World Masters Games and FIS Masters Cup race series in Innsbruck, Austria this past January.

As an adult ski racer myself and just general fan of the sport, I appreciate the commitment of these athletes to train and continue to compete at the highest level possible. In whatever we do in life, and regardless of age, I have a lot of respect and admiration for people who are competitive in a healthy way and who also want to strive to be their very best every single day. This ‘winning’ mentality, I think, is what can keep us alive with passion and still enjoy some adventures along the way.

Eight of Canada’s eleven medals were won by International Masters Academy racers, an organization which is operated right here in Collingwood, Ontario by their leader, Denyse Houde.

Medal Count by Racer and Age category:

75-79 Denyse Houde (2 golds)

70-74 Patty Edgar (bronze)

60-64 Patti East (gold & bronze)

60-64 Irene Collins (silver)

40-44 Jason Barton (bronze)

30-34 Jay Knox (bronze)

Please join me in congratulating our International Master Academy athletes for their success in taking on the world. Ski racing is an exhilarating sport and to compete on a world stage is an achievement in itself. I applaud the effort of these racers to put themselves out there to compete with the world’s best in their age groups. The Academy’s motto “We take our fun seriously” is certainly one I think that captures it all!


'Those Crazy Canucks' Fundraiser for Canada's Alpine Ski Team 

November 22, 2019

What a night it was on Friday November 22nd as we hosted a sold out crowd at the Historic Gayety theatre in Collingwood. Three of the Crazy Canucks themselves were in attendance (Dave Irwin, Ken Read and Todd Brooker) as was the director of the films from the era, Bill Johnston of Summerhill Entertainment.

I would like to sincerely thank everyone who was involved for their generous support as well as our 320 guests for supporting the cause through online donations and cash donations at the door.

Our dear family friend Allan de la Plante generously donated two original paintings of Read and Irwin which sold via silent auction and have found new homes in the area.

Our good friend Todd Brooker donated 3 vintage World Cup bibs from his racing days including one from Kitzbuehel which raised a good chunk more!

We had terrific raffle and silent auction prizes from Alpine Canada, Atomic, Mike Wiegele and the Read family. All said and done we are enormously proud to say we raised $10,275 towards Canada’s Alpine Ski Team.

We foster a tremendous ski community here in Collingwood and I believe it is important that we continue to tell our stories, celebrate past successes and build foundations for future success.

Why did I put this event on you ask? The era of the Crazy Canucks is one that has fascinated me for a long time. As a kid, my brothers and I would watch CBC Sports on any given Sunday as the boys in yellow suits would throw themselves down the mountain. Of course, they were never really ‘crazy’, they were courageous and it inspired a whole new generation of ski racers.

While, clearly, these movies are nostalgic, the era of the Crazy Canucks is an exceptional symbol of the Canadian spirit and our ability to perform at the highest level, capable of reaching the World Cup podium which these racers did repeatedly from 1975 to 1984. 39 in Total!

What is especially amazing is that this fearsome group of racers including Jim Hunter, Ken Read, Dave Irwin, Dave Murray, Steve Podborski and Todd Brooker (and their devoted coaching staff) achieved these results most of the time being underfunded and under-resourced. Not an easy feat when compared to the racing armies of the Austrian and Swiss Teams. Teamwork, resourcefulness, spirit and true grit were all contributing factors to their success. In spite of the odds, our beloved Crazy Canucks stormed into the mecca of Alpine Downhill in Kitzbuehel and won the fabled Hahnenkamm 4 years in a row from 1980 to 1983.

Our little community here in Collingwood has always been part of the equation. Mostly all of the Crazy Canucks have deep ties to this area. Through events like this I hope we can remind ourselves of the potential we continue to have and how we must endeavour to foster it. We need to support our athletes to the best of our ability and to give them a fighting chance on the hill.

See you next year!



 Growling Beaver Brevet Cycling Event (Revisited)

September 28th, 2019

I was pleased once more to ride my fourth edition of the Growling Beaver alongside some great community friends at the end of September. This event was in support of Parkinson’s research in partnership with Brain Canada and the Davis Phinney Foundation in the U.S. This exceptionally run event has raised over $460,000 in its 5th year and a total amount since inception exceeding $1,800,000!

A very special thank you to all my donors who allowed me to exceed my stated goal and raise just shy of $4000. My sincere thanks as well to the organizing committee of the event who make you feel so appreciated as we try to make a difference and instill the message to ‘Live Well Today’.

On a personal note, a few years ago my step mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and so this provides even more incentive to get out there and to try and make a difference!

Looking forward to next year. Thanks for all your support.


Beaver Valley Outreach: Making Good Things Happen in Our Community

September 24, 2019

One of the things I enjoy most about living up in the Southern Georgian Bay area is the sense of community. The term ‘community’ is often used but I’m not sure its always understood or really fully appreciated. In the time we have made this area home, BVO (Beaver Valley Outreach) has been a pillar in our community for offering an array of services and a safety net to those in need. Both of our boys, Ryder and Brody are graduates of their awesome pre-school program they offer adjacent to the Beaver Valley Community School. This amazing service is the only real day care center in Thornbury and at one point in the last few years had a waiting list of about 80 families. There continues to be overwhelming demand for child care in the area. BVO have done a lot for our family and others. They offer a Breakfast club at the elementary school and have an amazing Christmas Hamper program they run every year as well. As is the name of the game for charity- there is always more work to do. With over 300 volunteers and a core staff located in the new building in Thornbury, the folks at BVO are a collection of amazingly dedicated people committed to their mission of Making Good Things Happen in Our Community. This has been their motto for some time now and they are certainly living up to it.

As a small measure of thanks, it was my pleasure recently to present a cheque for $2000 to support BVO on behalf of the RBC Foundation. I salute the work they are doing in our community and the ways they have supported our family in the last few years. Thank you, BVO!


 The Best Downhill Racer

Nov 30, 2018

Thanks to everyone who made this special movie event a tremendous success and a whole lot of fun! We had some terrific first hand commentary from Steve Podborski, Todd Brooker and Bill Johnston, the film’s director.

This movie, which hasn’t been on the big screen in more than 35 years, tells the story of the 1981-82 World Cup Downhill season featuring Steve Podborski in his quest to win the overall Downhill title. This was a major milestone for North American ski racing, as no non-European had ever won this title.

It was my pleasure to sponsor and host this event in recognition of Podborski’s achievement. What better community to acknowledge and celebrate this moment in Canadian ski racing than beautiful Collingwood, home to Steve’s formidable years as a ski racer.

With everyone’s generous support we were able to raise in excess of $6000 for Parachute Canada! Most of us know and understand the dangers that come with downhill ski racing. Parachute was a very suitable charity to support this year in light of their dedication to preventing injuries and saving lives. 100% of donations went to Parachute from this event.

As a ski community, it’s important that we continue to tell our stories and celebrate our successes. In doing so we will acknowledge the foundations of support that are truly required for our athletes to reach the top step of the podium. We have a history of doing that very thing so let’s keep at it!

A very special thank you to Bill Johnston & Summerhill Entertainment for permission to use the film and bring it back to life.

A special thank you also to Allan de la Plante, who generously donated a painting he recently completed of Steve racing at Villars Switzerland. This was done exclusively for this event and raise an extra $2000 for the charity.

Thanks also to Todd Brooker and Steve Podborski for reliving some fun (and terrifying) stories from the world cup circuit for everyone to enjoy.

What a night!

Thanks also to Head Canada, Escarpment Magazine, Alpine Ontario and myCollingwood.ca

See you next year…







  A Party to Die For, Charity dinner event

Oct 27, 2018

I was pleased to be a title sponsor for a special charity dinner event entitled ‘A Party to Die For’ at Lora Bay in Thornbury. It was a great time had by all at this fun murder mystery event in support of BVO (Beaver Valley Outreach). It’s amazing how popular you can be as the sponsor of the ‘liquid assets’ (aka red and white wine)!

If you haven't already found your local charity of choice, please consider BVO. Their mantra is ‘making good things happen in our community’. On the whole the event raised over $53,000 which will help BVO complete their new building and add to support programs such as their Emergency Assistance Service. Thank you to all who made this event such a great success.

On the topic of BVO, I was asked to participate in the creation of this short promotional video:



   Growling Beaver Brevet Cycling Event

Sept 29, 2018

Thanks to all those who made the 2018 Growling Beaver bike event such as huge success in the Beaver Valley community. Over $400K raised this year, with over $1 million raised since the event began in 2015 to help people with Parkinson's live well today and tomorrow. Special congratulations to Evan Siddall on what I believe is best described as a real living legacy! Thanks to all my donors who helped me raise over $2800.00 towards this great cause.

2018 was my third year riding this exceptional community event. Can’t wait to do it again next year.

The Growling Beaver Brevet made its debut in 2015 to celebrate cycling and to help people with Parkinson's to live well today. All fundraising proceeds go to support the joint work of the Davis Phinney Foundation and Parkinson Wellness Project (formerly ParkinGo Wellness Society).

The Growling Beaver Brevet is a social (non-race) ride to celebrate cycling with 200 cyclists riding 40, 100 or 200 km routes through the scenic Beaver Valley at what is normally the height of the fall colours. The day features Beaver Valley and Georgian Bay communities and merchants that continue to support cyclists through the summer season.