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Inn From the Cold vs. Blue Door for number of Coldest Night walkers

January 30, 2023

Posted on: January 30th, 2023. By: Elizabeth Keith,, Original Article.

The race is on! Inn From the Cold and Blue Door have engaged in a friendly wager to see which shelter organization can get more walkers registered for their Coldest Night of the Year events next month.

Fundraising walks take place on Feb. 26 as part of the nationwide event. Inn From The Cold’s is in Newmarket, while Blue Door’s is in Richmond Hill.

This is the first year the shelters have officially entered a friendly competition against each other. Ann Watson, executive director at Inn From The Cold, said they could have wagered around amount raised but decided that the number of walkers was a better way to reach more people and raise awareness.

“It’s really about really wanting each agency to do as well as possible,” she said.

It’s a friendly wager so their are no real stakes but the organization with less walkers at the end of it all will have to shout-out the other on their social media.

Watson said they wish Blue Door does “super well because they do really important work in the community but we do want to win.”

At the end of a the day, it’s a win-win. While both shelters serve the same communities, their services are complimentary to each other and there is so much need for shelters and the support they provide.

“A wager where everyone wins is the best kind of wager,” agreed Michael Braithwaite, CEO of Blue Door. “If this can drive the number of people getting involved, then that is awesome. So even if we lose, we win.”

He said the need is even higher this year with inflation and housing prices that have been tough on everyone, especially those who are vulnerable.

Coldest Night of the Year is a chance to “walk together in solidarity for people experiencing homelessness. And of course, to raise a lot of money.”

Braithwaite said he is hoping for a big turnout this year and as of Jan. 27, Blue Door had 168 walkers registered.

Inn From The Cold has 163.

Coldest Night of the Year naturally has a competitive spirit to it, as the national website shows a leader board of top teams, individuals, and locations for the most money raised. Both Blue Door and Inn From The Cold are in the top 10 across the country, in fifth and 10th respectively for locations.

So far, the Richmond Hill walk for Blue Door has raised $59,407 while the Newmarket walk for Inn From The Cold has raised $49,016.

Braithwaite said this is a testament to their fundraising team and to their supporters.

“Our fundraising team has worked extremely hard and it also shows that we have a community that really cares, that gets behind this, and that’s a big motivator for us,” he said.

Watson agreed that the people of York Region really support their charitable organizations.

“The community is so generous. It is different, I think, than other communities and I don’t know why, I have no idea. But it’s quite remarkable,” she said.

For both shelters, Coldest Night of the Year is their signature fundraising event of the year.

The Newmarket walk will start from the Newmarket Community Centre and Lions Hall & Riverwalk Commons with two and five-kilometre route options. It runs from 4 to 7 p.m. You can register online here.

The Richmond Hill walk will start at TMS School at 8569 Bayview Ave. with two and five-km route options. It runs from 4 to 7 p.m. You can register online here.