When Huron East’s Economic Development Officer, Jan Hawley, first visited the Walton TransCan, it knocked her golf shoes right off. After years spent on relatively quiet golf courses, Hawley witnessed first hand the bikes, riders and families descending on the tiny town of Walton, Ontario during the biggest week in amateur motocross.Huron East EDO Jan Hawley and assistant Laura Bowers take a break from welcoming visitors to chat with event manager Chris Lee – 2009
“It was a culture shock the first time I came,” laughs Hawley. “I have to be honest, I did not grow up with brothers and I am a golfer. When I go to play my sport it’s much… quieter. They actually have signs that say quiet! For me, having this event as well as the Seaforth Country Classic in our jurisdiction, they are opposite poles but how proud am I that we have these two signature international events in the same community of Huron East. I feel like a proud parent.”
Having been the EDO for the area for five years now, Hawley quickly recognized the economic impact of both the TransCan and Walton Raceway on the area and neighbouring municipalities. She’s been a great supporter of the event and the track, even helping to facilitate Walton Raceway’s recent Celebrate Ontario funding. “From my standpoint I was able to bring the right people together,” explains Hawley. “We started with a meeting in Seaforth, connecting the RTO4 people and their team with Chris. I was just a launching pad. From that there was a very successful application submitted. I just connected the right people. There has to be merit in the project and clearly Celebrate Ontario thought there was.”
This year alone several key additions are being made thanks to the Celebrate Ontario initiative: The Friday Night Country Music Concert featuring Jason Blaine, the Saturday Walton Raceway Fan Fest Pit Party, Video Screens, Transponder Scoring, Streaming Event Information, Enhanced Spectator Viewing and Several Infrastructure Improvements.
In the future, the focus via Celebrate Ontario will be on adding capacity to accommodate increasing attendance at key events, diversifying available activities on site, adding value in the entertainment provided to first time visitors and those new to the sport and attracting a more diverse demographic seeking family friendly recreation.
“It’s good for the Lee family and their crew but it’s also good for the entire community,” explains Hawley about the increased support for this signature Huron East event. “I am really pleased. 21 years and counting: Hats off to Chris Lee and his family. It is just amazing.”
For more information on the Parts Canada TransCan, visit www.waltontranscan.ca.