Kenneth McAlpine’s father remembers him as always being adventurous with a great soul.
The Collingwood Collingwood Collegiate Institute (CCI) grad died on Aug. 26 – his 28th birthday – on a hike on a difficult trail on Mount Gimli, in Valhalla Provincial Park in Slocan Valley, B.C.
According to an RCMP news release, McAlpine departed alone on a hike on Monday morning. He was planned to return by 7 p.m. but never contacted his friends, who subsequently filed a missing person report. He was found a few hours into the search. Search and Rescue officials said McAlpine fell about 260 metres after failing to scale a difficult section of terrain.
“He went wherever he was led... but he chartered his own course,” said Kenneth’s father Mac, in an interview with CollingwoodToday. “He was a very strong person.”
During his time at CCI, Kenneth played in the CCI Marching Band and was also a member of the rugby team. He appeared as a member of Team Giv’r with his long-time friend Ryan Lachapelle in season five of The Amazing Race Canada. The duo came in second place.
“When he was on The Amazing Race, it was unbelievable,” said Mac. “For every episode we had it streamed to a venue in Collingwood. We were at the Gayety Theatre a lot. If it was at a bar, the proceeds (from that night) went to Hospice (Georgian Triangle).”
Mac also recalls one screening at the Gayety Theatre where they asked patrons to donate a canned good to the food bank.
“We filled the back of the truck. The boys went to schools to do inspirational speeches about... how it’s OK to be second,” he said. “That was his mantra, and Ryan’s too.”
“He and Ryan have been friends for a long time. They finished each other’s sentences. Ryan is devastated at losing his wingman,” he added.
Mac said Kenneth was also very strong in his faith, serving as the youngest elected elder at First Presbyterian Church on Maple Street.
“He was a central part of our church as a youth leader and mentor to young kids, and they just loved him,” said Mac. “He believed there was something after this. He had such strong faith.”
“When the race was over, Team Giv’r kept giving,” said Mac.
While Kenneth was living in Rossland, B.C. at the time of his death, his father said he always maintained his Collingwood roots.
“He was a giving person. If you needed something, he would just reach out. He would talk to anybody, it didn’t matter if you were eight or 80,” said Mac.
“Kenneth would stop and talk all the time. Even be late for work to engage you,” he added, with a laugh. “He had a great soul. What he wanted for everyone is to be kind. Respect each other and give to each other, and maybe you’ll make an impact.”
“He lived for the day,” said Mac. “He died on the day of his birthday. It’s heart-wrenching to lose him.”
Plans for arrangements are not yet finalized, however Mac said plans are in the works to close down Beech Street in the near future for a block party and barbecue in Kenneth’s memory.