Allan Haan Honoured As Soap Box Derby Returns To Manotick

Beaverwood Road was lined with cheering fans as Manotick celebrated its 10th annual soap box derby Sun., Aug. 28.

The derby returned to Manotick after missing the last two years because of the COVID-19 restrictions. It also has a new name, as the Manotick Village Community Association wanted to honour Allan Haan, the man responsible for the creation and success of the derby.

“We are renaming the derby after Allan starting this year to recognize all of the hard work he has put into it,” said Theresa Roberts of the Manotick Village Community Association. “It is now called the Allan Haan Manotick Soap Box Derby.”

Haan first brought the idea forward in 2011 during his regular coffee group at the French Café, a popular spot in the Manotick Mews.

“At first, people just looked at me like I was crazy,” Haan said. “They didn’t really know about soap box derbies, and how kids get into it and their parents get into it. I talked about it for a while and then presented the idea to the Manotick Village Community Association.”

The first soap box derby was an overwhelming success. Kids started building their carts with their fathers and then decorated them. Some came from throughout Eastern Ontario and Quebec to participate in the event. The community turned out to cheer the kids on There were even celebrity drivers, and the most memorable moment in Manotick soap box history involved a man who hopes to become Canada’s next prime minister.

“That is one moment everyone still seems to talk about,” said Haan. “Pierre (Poilievre) was racing, and he couldn’t stop his cart. He turned into the parking lot at the bottom of the hill and crashed into the shed. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt.”

Through the years, the MVCA had instructions available on how to build a cart and what the specifications are. Manotick Home Hardware has been a headquarters through the years for supplies for building carts.

“I think building the carts is just as fun as race day,” Haan said. “It is really rewarding to see the kids with their carts and the decorating they have done.”