News / Ottawa

Beacon Hill for Beacon Hill: locals fundraise for Fort Mac namesakes

Ottawa's Beacon Hill residents are hoping to send some love - and cash - to the burnt out neighbourhood of Beacon Hill, Fort McMurray.

Ottawa’s Beacon Hill neighbourhood is pulling together for the Alberta city with which it shares a name.

Two “Beacon Hill for Beacon Hill” fundraisers are in the works to help displaced residents of Beacon Hill, Fort McMurray.

The southwest Fort Mac neighbourhood was nearly completely razed by the massive wildfire that swept through the oilsands city last week.

Officials estimate up to 80 per cent of Beacon Hill homes were destroyed, and photos show a barren wasteland of burnt out trucks and gnarled foundations.

The parallel name prompted local residents to reach out to Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney.

“I had a lot of messages from residents saying, ‘How can we help?’” Tierney said. “It triggered a lot of people who wanted to take part.”

So, he started planning fundraisers.

The obvious place to start was with Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips, who hails from the destroyed Fort Mac neighbourhood, Tierney said.

The hockey player also partially owns the Big Rig brew pub, which has already committed to donating proceeds to the Red Cross.

Tierney is “piggy backing” on that effort to host a special event at its east-end location sometime this month, with raffles, speeches and an appearance from Phillips himself.

While event details aren’t settled – the date’s not set, nor is the VIP list – Tierney said the focus is on bringing Beacon Hill residents out to support their Albertan brethren.

A second event, called Beacon Hill for Beacon Hill Skate and Donate, is also under way. Tierney envisions a free family skating party at the Richcraft Sensplex, with appearances from a few NHL players.

“That’s the hope,” he said. “We’re trying to tie down which players and how that would look.”

All money raised would go to the Red Cross. While Tierney said it’s unlikely they’ll be able to send the money directly to Beacon Hill families, he has no doubt it will get there.

“The stats speak for themselves,” he said. “Eighty per cent of Beacon Hill in Fort Mac was destroyed, so naturally most of the money will go there anyway.”

Follow #beaconhill4beaconhill for event details and updates.

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