Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Great Airplane Race

The very first and last running of the Great Airplane Race took place on October 27, 1977. I know, because I still have my sponsor sheet. The object was to throw a paper airplane, beginning in the centre of Queen’s Park, down the middle of University Avenue, all the way to the base of the C.N. Tower. The goal was to raise money for the United Way, but deep down what I really wanted to do was throw my paper airplane from the top of the World’s Tallest Free-standing Structure, and all the better if I could make $10.35 doing so.

In spite of the success we’d enjoyed from the previous year’s Plankathon—in which teams of three tied their feet to two-by-fours and walked in perfect step down Yonge Street—our class president hated my idea of a paper airplane race, and decided instead to capture the school’s imagination with—wait for it—a bake sale . . . and, as if to prove the maturity of his judgement, took the roster of eager pilots I’d presented and tore it up. And, yes, he did go on to become a successful lawyer, but our stunt made five times more than his cookies.

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