submitted by Justyna & Kathryn Lawrence
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]One of the great things about a birthday is presents, so the Lawrence Clan in Richmond have been working hard, for the past 3 years, creating three gifts.
First, We created a treasure hunt. It is a ten stop geocaching passport tour, and it’s being launched this weekend.
Geocaching is a world wide activity. There are geocaches on the bottom of the ocean, in space, the tops of mountains and along remote rivers. But most are accessible and many are fun and interesting to discover.
Passport tours have been used in other communities:
- by the tourism boards to attract visitors.
- by recreation groups like scouts or National Parks, to teach and educate.
- by group homes to encourage residents to explore, get outside, and have fun.
My daughter Kathryn and I went to an Ottawa geocaching group dinner last year to tell them what we were trying to accomplish. Most of the people there were retired seniors. We learned that it’s fun and gets you going out on adventures regardless of age. It’s a great choice for families who have children of different ages and interests or physical abilities, or for friends to do together.
We’ve hidden ten containers in Richmond. If you have a smartphone and the coordinates in the passport, you’ll be within 10 feet of a hiding spot. If you didn’t know they were there, you might walk right by them. Each container has been painted by a local artist. Inside, is an information sheet about why that location was chosen as a Richmond treasure, or it features a person or group in Richmond who we think makes our community special.
Here is some feedback we have had since we started:
- So much fun, a great way to spend a day, in a lovely Village
- I grew up in Richmond but I had no idea these were here, thank you!
- My kids’ favourite part is signing the log book to say that they were here
- From a well known geocacher, who has found and logged over 7,500 caches: Thank you TLC, this was an excellent passport tour and I appreciate all the hard work it took to create.
From another geocacher who has logged even more caches:
- I was having breakfast when this tour came up on my new cache alerts. Ten caches I could get in one day. I changed my plans and came to Richmond. They are all exceptional. I am going to give a “like” to every one of them in my on-line review.
And finally from a third, a mother and daughter team:
Mom drove like a fiend (she’s 92) while I logged in the coordinates. It took us an hour and a half to drive to Richmond but so worth it. We ended up spending the entire day in the village enjoying each location. What a great idea.
So, we would say it’s a success. We are pretty proud.
All YOU need to do the tour, is a smartphone to put the coordinates into and that will take you to within 10 feet of a hiding place. Passports are available at the Village Shoppe on Perth Street. The boxes will be out in the community for the whole summer, and hopefully longer, so you can take your time. When you’re done, and this is the second gift, you take the complete passport back to the Village Shoppe and redeem it for a high quality, all Canadian, commemorative Richmond 200 coin. And because it’s a present, there are 300 coins available, they are all FREE. But hurry, there are a limited number of coins available and once they are gone they are gone!
Thirdly, in honour of Richmond’s 200th we wanted to add to Richmond’s legacy. There are 200 additional trackable coins. These are very valuable in the geocaching community. Already, treasure hunters have come from places like Toronto and the States to do the tour. These special coins can be tracked anywhere they go in the world. When people find the coins, they will say, “wow, Richmond is 200 years old. Their mascot is a fox … and it’s not Richmond BC, Richmond Virginia, or Richmond Hill, it is Richmond ONTARIO CANADA! If you don’t want to do the tour but want to buy a coin, we do have some for sale.
You can find out more about the project as well as contact information on the project website at http://www.richmondontariopassporttour.ca/
Thank you Richmond, and happy birthday!