Group has 'fun with a purpose,' member says
Several men rode tall penny farthing bicycles, while others sped around in impossibly small cars. Replicas of a Viking ship and the Maid of the Mist glided down the road, while clowns gave high-fives to children.
It was all part of the Rameses Shriners Spring Ceremonial Parade. The last time the parade was held in Sudbury was in 1990, as the Shriners rotate where they hold the parade in Ontario every year.
The parade was just one aspect of the Spring Ceremonial, with about 1,500 Shriners converging on Sudbury June 12-15 for a long weekend of meetings and social activities.
Ten-year-old Arinna Alarie and her dad, Mitch Alarie, were among those who took in the event. “It was a good parade,” said Arinna, who when asked about her favourite part, said she liked “all of it.”
A dangerous-looking stunt where several Shriners drove miniature cars on a track over the top of a truck was Mitch's favourite part. “It was cool,” he said.
A fraternal organization, the Shriners are well known for their philanthropy.
Like all Shriners, the Sudbury Shrine Club's 150 members raise funds for the Shriners Hospitals for Children. The 22 facilities provide pediatric medical care. The closest facility to Sudbury is located in Montreal, Que.
Oshawa resident Al Berry, one of the Shriners who participated in the parade, said while the event is a lot of fun, it's meant to draw attention to the charitable work done by the organization.
“They see us driving little cars and having a fun time, but we have fun with a purpose, which is to support the hospitals and the kiddies,” he said.