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The gifts you might not know you’ve given

November 28, 2017

Found in Activities, Community news, Stories

MEC members are generous to the core – even when they’re shopping for themselves. When you buy a headlamp or a backcountry ski setup at MEC, you’re supporting community investment initiatives that conserve ecologically and recreationally important places to adventure and reduce the barriers Canadians face to leading active outdoor lifestyles.

This year, MEC members’ purchases contributed to hundreds of inspiring projects, including the highlights below:

A hut for year-round adventures

With panoramic views of alpine lakes and spectacular peaks, the 5040 Peak West Ridge Hut will be an oasis for hikers, snowshoers and backcountry skiers. The first of its kind on Vancouver Island, the 12-person heated hut is being built and managed by the Alpine Club of Canada – Vancouver Island Section with help from an MEC community investment grant. The hut is planned to be ready in 2018; check out the ACC site for all the up-to-date info.

Helicopter flying out gear for Alpine Club of Canada hut construction on Vancouver Island

Gear for epic expeditions

Helping people pioneer new routes, reach unexplored peaks and achieve their dreams is kind of our jam. MEC expedition grants support members tackling ambitious challenges. Whether you buy a kayak or an MEC Expedition Support Trucker Hat, your dollars support amazing adventures.

In 2017, MEC funded 22 epic expeditions. Some highlights? Expedition Ikivuq paddled an unexplored river through remote Northern Quebec. Martina Halik and her mother Tania embarked on an incredible five-month ski traverse of BC’s Coast Mountains. Naomi Prohaska became the youngest person to summit Canada’s tallest mountain.

Northern Quebec kayak expedition
Naomi Prohaska on Mount Logan

A chance to sleep under the stars

Camping is a rite of passage and beloved pastime for many Canadians. In addition to supporting individual pursuits, MEC is proud to support organizations that teach the basics and offer opportunities to those who might otherwise find it difficult to get outdoors overnight.

Park Canada’s Learn to Camp program hosts nationwide workshops that introduce outdoor skills in a welcoming, supportive environment. MEC donates gear and provides staff to teach everything from how to set up a tent, to how to cook over a campfire, to how to paddle a SUP. Participants leave with the skills to try camping on their own and create lasting memories with family and friends.

Learn to Camp program setting up

New trails to explore

With the help of community groups across the country, Canada’s trail network is always expanding. New trails create new opportunities to explore and connect with our surroundings, and MEC supports these local initiatives that get people outdoors and active.

The Great Divide Trail Association is a group of mainly volunteers who’ve taken on the task of developing and maintaining a 1125-km trail along the Continental Divide between BC and Alberta. Over many summers, MEC has provided this dedicated group with the supplies they need to build and restore this rugged, remote wilderness trail.

In Quebec, Vallée Bras-du-Nord’s En marche project helps young adults (16–30 years old) struggling with issues that affect their ability to work or engage with society. Under the guidance of professional mentors, they work in forestry and trail development for six months, challenging themselves and pushing their limits. Through funding, gear donations and staff expertise, MEC is excited to support this crucial connection between outdoor activities and life skills.

Bike rides for everyone

There’s nothing like the feeling of freedom you get when you jump on a bike, whether you’re commuting to work, hitting the trails or bikepacking into the mountains. To let their residents experience that same sensation, Victoria’s Beckley Farm Lodge residential care facility received funds to buy a trishaw. Powered by volunteers from the local chapter of Cycling Without Age, this modified bike allows elderly people and those with disabilities to get out and feel the wind in their hair.

Cycling Without Age at the Santa parade in Victoria, BC.

These are just a few of the many of environmental- and outdoor recreation-focused non-profit organizations that MEC has supported through funding and gear donations. Thank you for helping strengthen our communities and conserve the wild places that sustain us, both during the holidays and all year round.

Top photo: 5040 Peak West Ridge Hut.

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