Skip to content

Carter Simpson carries special tradition in new hometown

Though he’s only lived in Niagara-on-the-Lake since June, 2021, former Sault resident, Carter Simpson, is representing the town as Canada Summer Games torchbearer

The following story was made available to SooToday courtesy of Niagara on the Lake Local.

It’s hard to come up with a better way to make a splash in a new community than taking center stage as a torchbearer for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.

Though he’s only lived in Niagara-on-the-Lake since June, 2021, former Sault resident, Carter Simpson, is a perfect choice to represent the town as one of 13 to carry the Roly McLenahan Canada Games Torch from Queenston Heights to the Meridian Credit Union Arena on Saturday, July 30.

The Special Olympics athlete won a silver medal in alpine skiing at the 2011 Provincial Winter Games, and captured multiple medals in track and field at the 2017 Provincial Summer Games. Simpson was also the flagbearer for the opening ceremonies at the 2019 Provincial Winter Games, where he finished top 10 in all of his alpine skiing events.

“He loves anything sports,” says his mother, Ann Liz Simpson, as she, her husband Mike Sweeny and Carter make the long drive back to Niagara on the Lake from a vacation on Lake Superior.

“He does swim team all year, track and field and golf right now in the summer, and alpine ski racing in the winter. And he wants to try basketball and powerlifting.”

The family moved to NOTL from Sault Ste. Marie, a change that had been somewhat planned but moved forward when the complications of COVID hit.

“Mike and I got married five years ago at Stratus Vineyard,” Simpson says, “and we thought of moving to the area in a few years. When COVID hit, we realized we didn’t want to be an eight or nine hour drive from my two other boys in Toronto, and Mike’s daughter in Windsor.”

Simpson, who sold her chiropractor’s practice prior to the family’s move here, says Carter was quite famous in Sault Ste. Marie. His athletic accomplishments often made newspaper headlines and garnered television coverage there. So the move to Niagara was quite a change for him.

The bonus for Carter is that he’s now actually closer to the epicenter of more Special Olympics sports, allowing him more convenient access to pursue more of what he loves.

Though the torch relay can be seen as Carter’s big debut in the community, AnnLiz says he’s been involved here since last June.

“He volunteers twice a week at Royal Oak School, helping with their fitness program run by Mr. Hill, and he also volunteers at Fritters-on-the-Lake,” she explains. “I have walks and runs almost every day. He knows a lot of people. He’s a really social guy.”

Simpson says Carter, who has Down Syndrome, is ‘beyond excited’ to carry the torch. His brothers and step-sister and their partners of him are coming to NOTL to join him on his run along Four Mile Creek Road between Line 9 and Line 8 next Saturday. Their participation, though, depends somewhat on whether or not Carter is willing to share the spotlight with them.

“It’s a big, big milestone for him,” Simpson says. “He’s so thrilled. The torch is so heavy, and he’s going to want to wave at everybody. He knows it’s such an honour. When he was the flag bearer at the Provincial Winter Games, I think that he superseded his events at the ski hill.

Simpson says her son loves the spotlight, and sometimes looks for the attention at some of the most inopportune times.

“He’ll be racing down the mountain,” she laughs, “and he’ll stop to wave and say hello to the crowd. He’s high energy, he loves the crowd, and he loves to be associated with anything like that. He was thrilled with the energy at (the torch’s arrival ceremony in) Port Colborne.”

Named after legendary Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Joe, Carter has also played football and competed alongside his younger brothers in all sports until they were teenagers. He has participated the past three years in the Great Canadian Running Challenge, completing 1,000 kilometers in 2020. Last year, he met his goal of 2,021 kilometers, and he’s well on his way to this year’s goal of 2,022-plus.

“We are all so proud of him,” says AnnLiz. “He gives his all of him to everything he does. We ca n’t help but get caught up in his enthusiasm from him.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.