Tiny tosses side burn to Toronto in Movember challenge

If current numbers are any indication, local fundraising firefighters are looking to strand Toronto by more than a hair.

Just a little over a week into this year’s Movember fundraising challenge, Tiny Township Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma brought an update to the attention of council and residents.

“Currently, Tiny Township and Southern Georgian Bay – which is Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay and Tiny (Townships) – working together are in first place for the men’s health fundraising efforts. We’ve raised over $13,000 so far,” said Walma at the recent regular meeting of council.

Movember is a fundraising event held each November to raise awareness and support towards prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men’s mental health, and suicide prevention. The charity initiative involves the growth of moustaches and temporary tattoos of moustaches as a visual mark, and includes donation drives and inspiring motivational activities like running as a means to show support from everyone involved.

In 2022, Tiny firefighters raised over $65,000 to rank as the top fire department in North America, gaining more than double their set goal. This year, the ambition was to raise $45,000 by the end of November with the assistance of neighbouring North Simcoe fire departments along with a rebranding of their team name to the Southern Georgian Bay Firefighters.

An additional friendly challenge was set forth to Toronto Fire Services, who raised $24,000 in 2022.

Tiny Mayor George Cornell lightheartedly commented that although he had attended the township’s launch for the campaign and was in the process of growing his own facial hair, Toronto Mayor John Tory had only attended the city’s Movember launch but without the whiskers to show.

“So that challenge is out there for Mayor Tory,” said Cornell. “And you’d be listening to this, right John?” he added with a laugh.

In highlighting the funds raised since the start of November, Walma announced that the Million Dollar Shootout gathered over $3,500 with many businesses, firefighters, and municipal representatives in attendance.

“We had one shooter who was actually 10 feet from the pin; it was very exciting,” exclaimed Walma.

“I just wanted to say to anybody who hasn’t donated to a moustache yet: please consider doing so. You’ll see Tiny firefighters and Southern Georgian Bay firefighters out doing boot drives for the rest of the month This weekend, we'll be at Walmart.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Walma added. “I encourage everyone to get involved. We’ve all been affected somehow by cancer; men’s mental health issues are a huge factor. When you think about the effects from the service or first responder perspective, it’s really important to us and we’re happy to do it. Thank you for all the support.”

Cornell additionally praised team chair Samantha Barnett for her continued efforts in leading the team.

To learn more on how to contribute to the Southern Georgian Bay Firefighters fundraising team, visit their pledge page on the Movember website.

Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny township’s YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca