Tour de Rock riders make first-ever stop at CFB Esquimalt


Left to right: Capt Pam Harris, LS Rod Carper, RAdm Gilles Courturier, Maj Michael Lemire, and Cpl Devin Fidler pose for a photograph during their stop at the base.

Tour de Rock riders were on the final day of their gruelling 1,100-kilometre journey across Vancouver Island Oct. 2 when they pulled into CFB Esquimalt.

 “This is the first time the tour has ever stopped at the base. We are greatly honoured and hope it is the first of many,” said Acting Base Commander, Cdr Byron Derby as he congratulated the riders.

“This is truly a stunning achievement. The dedication you have shown here today in service of the community and this cause is fantastic and truly awe-inspiring.”

The 20 police riders and one member of the media were in the final kilometres of their 13-day cross-island cycling odyssey.

As they dismounted their bikes and the Naden Band of the Royal Canadian Navy struck up its rendition of “1st Fanfare”, the team of two-wheeled voyageurs were greeted to wild cheers from over 100 well-wishers in the Lang Cove parking lot with ships in the background.

Maj Michael Lemire, Commanding Officer of Military Police Unit Esquimalt was one of four MP riders who set off with the tour from Port Alice on Sept. 20.

Along the way they stopped in 27 communities and over 46 schools.

“The Tour de Rock is an annual event that raises funds for kids with cancer, Camp Good Times and pediatric cancer research, but it also brings together and unites the island as one team and is truly an event that people on Vancouver Island rally behind,” said Maj Lemire.

“We’ve made friends and met people while we cycled down the island, and there were also the children and families who are dealing with cancer. It reminds us more that it [cancer] is something we just have to defeat.”

Maj Lemire was joined by fellow MP Capt Pam Harris of CFNIS, LS Rod Carper of MPU Esquimalt, and Cpl Devon Fidler, a reservist with 12 MP Platoon, on the journey.

RAdm Gilles Couturier was thrilled with the efforts of the riders, declaring their campaign had “touched all of us.”

“I’m all about the concept of teamwork,” said the Commander of Maritime Forces Pacific.

“Congratulations on forming this great team and delivering something that is so very important.”

Founded in 1998, the Canadian Cancer Society charity has contributed over $21 million in funding for pediatric cancer and support programs.

This year, the Tour de Rock raised over $1.3 million and during its inaugural stop at the base, there was a late financial boost for the MPU riders.

During the ceremony, Cdr Brigitte Boutin announced she was presenting a donation of $500 on behalf of the Wardroom to Maj Lemire and Capt Harris; MS Derek Fedoryshyn presented a $1,000 donation to LS Carper on behalf of the Pacific Fleet Club; and a representative from MPU Esquimalt presented a donation of $238.75 that was raised during Formation Fun Day.

RAdm Couturier also made an undisclosed donation to Capt Harris ensuring her individual fund-raising target of $15,000 was reached.

But the spirit of giving and helping others also extended well beyond the base and into the Esquimalt community.

Mexican restaurant La Taquisa and owner Scott Demner were also recognized during the ceremony after Demner and his wife Sindy Martinez raised $200 in proceeds from the sale of 800 ceviche (fish) tacos, and then personally matched those proceeds for a donation totalling $400.

“Our customers were very supportive and excited to help the cause,” said Demner.

“It was an automatic for us to help the military police riders fundraising drive simply because people from CFB Esquimalt have always been very supportive of our restaurant.”

After a 15-minute break from riding, the riders headed back out on the road, on their final day and whirlwind tour through the Capital City.

By the time the riders were done they made 19 stops at area schools, businesses and community centers before pulling into Centennial Square for the tour finale and a well-deserved rest.


Peter Mallett
Staff writer

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