Well, originally it started as a backyard gathering for 15 high-school friends, with a birthday cake, a keg of beer, and a BBQ. It just happened to be the same weekend as the CHEO (Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario) Telethon, co-founders, Mike Machargo and Johnny Hunt passed around a fishbowl and everyone donated what they could.

The idea of a summer BBQ with good times, great friends, and a financial donation to CHEO appealed to the participants, who vowed to continue the annual event, and entitled it the CHEO BBQ.

The CHEO BBQ has grown and we are elated to announce the annual event has so far raised more than $150,000 for the kids at CHEO. Some milestones for the CHEO BBQ have been; 1996 was the first year that OC Transpo got involved, the after party was held at a bar in the Byward Market. In 1997 the location of the event wasn’t finalized until 3 weeks before the event, more than half the tickets were sold out by then. In 1998 the CHEO BBQ was too big for private property and moved to its current home at Shefford Park, behind Potvin Arena with approximately 750 participants.

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In its early days, the CHEO BBQ had 2 volunteers, took two weeks to plan and drew dozens of participants, these days, the CHEO BBQ enlists the help of over 200 volunteers, is planned year round and welcomes thousands of sports participants, music enthusiasts and sun lovers.

The CHEO BBQ continues to flourish as an annual fundraiser for the kids at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. This year will be nothing short of spectacular. With a great volleyball and Ultimate tournament, a huge BBQ area, a Family Zone, and of course, the world’s best volunteers, this year’s CHEO BBQ promises to be the biggest and best one to date.

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