Events

Running with the Ugly Christmas Sweater Trend

Ugly Sweater DayBy Bronwyn Scott

Surrey just might be hip enough to be one of a handful of Canadian cities to host future Ugly Sweater Runs, according to Jordan Birch, founder of Now That’s Ugly Society.

Wearing ugly Christmas sweaters has become a trend and this year the not-for-profit group hosted the first two Ugly Sweater Runs in Toronto and Vancouver’s run in Coquitlam.

The five-kilometer event featuring mustachioed participants in gaudy hues of red and green were such a hit that organizers are planning to expand into five to seven Canadian cities next year.

Although no decisions have been made yet, Vancouver’s run will likely move out of Coquitlam.

Ugly Sweater Day Runners

“We’re looking for a bigger and badder [sic] venue to have a run that’s going to hold people in the thousands,” said Birch.

And Surrey is a strong candidate.

“We know they’re booming, we know they’re edgy.”

Ugly Sweater Day Partiers

Now That’s Ugly Society was started 12 years ago when Birch and two friends hosted the original ugly sweater house party. The concept took off and Birch and co-founder Chris Boyd established the society that is now garnering international attention.

Annual ugly sweater parties at the Commodore Ballroom typically sell out of over 1,000 tickets, according to Birch.

Ugly Sweater Day Crowd Running

All proceeds go to local charities, and this year Now That’s Ugly fundraising benefits the Children’s Wish Foundation exclusively.

In addition to proceeds from party tickets and run registration fees, Now That’s Ugly buttons are available in three 2013 styles for $5 each. These can be purchased at a number of Surrey locations, including Options Community Services Society, Guildford Youth Resource Centre, Community Savings and Hunky Haulers.

Last year the City of Vancouver officially proclaimed the third Friday of December as Ugly Christmas Sweater Day in the city, and on Dec. 16 Surrey’s city council will hear a presentation and follow suit with an official proclamation.


Photos by Dwight Simon Photography
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Bronwyn Scott
Bronwyn has lived in Ottawa, P.E.I., Victoria, Squamish and Surrey, B.C. She has an English degree (SFU, 2011) and a journalism degree (Langara College, 2013) and for four years worked with Sandra Djwa on Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page, which won the Governor-General’s Non-Fiction prize in 2013. She’s an adventurous spirit who loves the outdoors and all things artsy. She’s written for the Surrey Leader, the Langley Times and The Squamish Reporter.
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