Alfred Anderson and the Tour de White Rock
In honour of Black History Month, we've partnered with Chamber Members as guest contributors to share their stories and articles on the Chamber Blog.
My name is Alfred Anderson. I am and have been a resident of the city of White Rock and South Surrey since 1969. I am 77 years old, I am an American that became a Canadian. I am a Black man living in White Rock/ South Surrey for over 50 years. I am the Founder of the Tour de White Rock Cycle Race – the longest running bicycle race in Canada and North America.I was working at the time for CPAir in the computer department and travelled a lot. During one of my trips in the UK I saw a road race and was impressed because many of these cities reminded me of White Rock. It was at this time that I had noticed in the White Rock local paper that the City was looking for event ideas, because at the time, the only major event was the Sea Festival. After that, there were no other events. I decided to approach the City Council Meeting with my idea, but was refused. I was not allowed to have the idea put on the Agenda for the Council Meeting. I came back the second year and was again refused. I was told that the City of White Rock was not interested in the event.So, after two (2) years of trying to get the item put on the agenda of White Rock City Council, I was approached outside in the lobby of White Rock city hall by a young Gordon Hogg. He suggested that I might be more successful if I approached the Director of White Rock Park and Recreation, Doug Stone. After making contact with the Park and Recreation Director, it was decided that the city would allow the event to happen, but the city would not be allocating any monies to put on such an event. I accepted his offer, and so began the start of Tour de White Rock.
Tour de White Rock RaceI put in numerous hours with the city on my days off from work at CPAir. It was decided that all of the local bike shops was the best way to attract cyclist to the event. I did just that – I contacted every bicycle shop about Tour de White Rock. There was no Internet during that time, so I either phoned or visited many of shops in person. I explained that the City of White Rock was planning to have a bicycle race, and that I was handing out leaflets advertising the event. Every shop I went to was in favour of participating, and posted the leaflet in their store. I approached the Caps Bicycle store in New Westminster and they loaned the City of White Rock the use of the Start/Finish Banner for our race.The first race started Labour Day weekend in September 1979. Its inception is the reason behind the BC Super Week that features Cycle events in many Lower mainland cities today.
Alfred Anderson with Tour de White Rock Statue
This post was written in honour of Black History Month by guest contributor Alfred Anderson.
This article includes personal recounts from guest contributor Alfred Anderson and is not to be reprinted without written permission from Alfred Anderson or the South Surrey & White Rock Chamber of Commerce.
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