Routes to Riches taking second spin around county

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Buckle up and get ready for The Great Pictou County Routes to Riches Race — round two.

This is Pictou County Roots for Youth’s second annual Routes to Riches fundraiser. Date is July 15 – same weekend as last year. And the organizers couldn’t be more excited to get their motors runnin’.

“We are ecstatic with the results from last year, our inaugural event,” said Jan Keefe, event planner and house administrator, Pictou County Roots for Youth.

Last year saw 24 teams and more than 100 participants sign on to race around Pictou County looking for clues, answer questions on Pictou County trivia, participate in challenges and have a great time doing it.

This year’s race will operate in the same manner. Stacey Dlamini, executive director of Pictou County Roots for Youth explained, “There are still mystery destinations where you receive a clue and the clue points you to a destination, and there is still a task that needs to be completed at each destination.

“The biggest change is that, this year, in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary, we have a theme for our race.”

The Story of Us is the theme. “We don’t want to reveal too much as to what that means except to say that as people follow the route on the day they’ll be exposed to elements of our — Pictou County — collective identity that are quite important.”

Anyone can participate, they encouraged.

“The age range of participants was exciting for us,” Dlamini said. “We had a team with a baby in a car seat and our oldest participant was in her 80s. So it was the whole gamut of age ranges and abilities so it was really fun.”

The inaugural event raised $13,000 which delighted the organizers. “We didn’t have a fundraising goal because we had never done it before, but we raised just over $13,000. So we are hoping to improve upon that this year.”

It took teams approximately four hours, give or take, to complete the race last year, but Dlamini and Keefe chuckled at the recollection of at least one team taking a very long time to finish.

Keefe laughed, “Some got lost, and that was part of the fun! The Visitor Information Centre in Pictou was taking some very interesting calls during the course of the day,” as participants searched for clues.

“People had a lot of fun,” Keefe smiled. “A lot of them asked, ‘Are you going to do it again next year?’ So that was one of the reasons we thought, ‘Yes we are!’”

Dlamini added, “They said it was really well organized, that it was just a great day, great family event. We had a lot of families participating. We also had groups of friends, so it was a feel-good unique opportunity for people and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.”

Scotiabank is back on board as the major sponsor this year and the organizers are thrilled. “By having Scotiabank as a sponsor, they use their community program to assist with funding. Their contribution last year amounted to $5,000,” Keefe praised.

There are other opportunities for sponsorship.

“We are, however looking for a sponsor for our main prize and our second prize. There are still sponsorship opportunities available. Gold sponsors are $500 so we’d love to get a couple of those. Cash prize is $500 for the winner, $250 for second place. We will have some smaller prizes for things like best team name and costume and such.”

This year the registration process will be through Scotiabank. Registration forms can be picked up at any branch and then returned, along with funds collected, by July 7. Registration starts June 1.

“We had 24 teams last year; it would be nice if we hit 30 this year. And I’d love to see some challenges going out, like banks challenging others banks, or groups and clubs, or families challenging other family members. Just a little bit of healthy competition,” encouraged Keefe.

Dlamini noted, “We had teams comprised of families and we had teams who were work colleagues so it was a wonderful team building opportunity. You get the benefits of team building but you’re also raising money for a good cause, so its win-win for everybody.”

Organizers make sure the challenges are something that everybody can take part in. There will be some challenges that will be more physical and others that will be more mental. “So there are advantages to having a diverse team,” Dlamini said.

The number of people on a team can vary, depending on the vehicle being used. Team members must all fit into a vehicle safely with a seatbelt for each member. So a team driving a Mini would consist of two people and a team driving a mini van may be comprised of eight people. Keefe laughed, “It all depends on the type of day you want to have!”

Last year, participants were sent to: the Green Hill Lookoff, the Historic Log Church in Loch Broom, Waterside Provincial Park, Barney’s River Station School House, Hopewell Foot Bridge and McPherson’s Mills with Pictou Lodge as a detour. At these destinations they enjoyed a variety of old game challenges like croquet and hopscotch and ring toss, that sort of thing. There will also be six stops plus a detour again this year.

“The guests at Pictou Lodge were right in the middle of it,” Keefe laughed. “They were so entertained with all these teams running around!”

So that not everybody’s doing the same route at the same time, teams will all get a clue to start them out. Each clue will take them to one of the destinations, then they’re on a circuit. They complete all of the destinations in the same order but they don’t all start at the same destination so they don’t all bunch up.

Check-in on race day starts at 9 a.m. and the race whistle blows at 10. Afterwards there will be a barbecue open to anyone in the community and prizes, beginning at approximately 2 p.m.

“We had teams taking pictures and posting them to social media last year and tweeting about it and we hope they do the same this year,” Dlamini said. The hashtag to use is #R2R17.

To enter, teams must fundraise $100. And people are already organizing their teams for this year. Anyone who wants more information can call 902-695-3241 or visit

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