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The idea of the Canada Day Populaire came to long time randonneur Harold Bridge on July 1 1999 while cycling through history-rich Fort Langely. Alive with a festive spirit, summer sunshine... the perfect place and perfect day to celebrate Canada's birthday with a bike ride. The idea of riding a kilometre for each year since confederation was also Harold's. It was thought that it would be a good distance for many recreational cyclists, including those not used to the normal distances of randonneur / marathon cycling (200-1200 km rides). The first Canada Day Populaire was held one year later, on July 1, 2000, and was 133 km.
Harold organized the event in the early years. Ali and Roger Holt organized it from 2004-2014. In 2015 it was organized by Sylvia Lee and Andy Reimer, and Andy again in 2016 and 2017. Will Danicek took over in 2018. The event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. Anna Bonga and Russel Ogden have led the organizing team since then.