For Canadians coast to coast, Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir became heroes for their exploits overseas,.
But regardless of where they went, both Virtue and Moir knew they would always return home to say thank you.
“For Tessa and myself, it’s nice to return home and see the faces that have been supporting us for 21 years,” said Ilderton native Scott Moir.
“But obviously, nothing can prepare you for moments like this. The turnout and response from fans is the reason why I love this community.”
The ice-dancing duo hosted their “Thank You Ilderton” bash at the Ilderton Arena and Fairgrounds Saturday afternoon, and it was a quite the spectacle to see.
“Four years ago, I saw Tessa and Scott skate out on the ice for the first time,” said 13-year-old Alyssa Clayton.
“That’s when I turned to my mom and said, ‘I want to learn how to figure skate like them!'” she added.
Clayton, a native of London, says she begged her mother to go to Ilderton Saturday to see her heroes up close.
“They put a smile on my daughter’s face every time they’re out there skating,” said her mother Amanda.
“It’s incredibly special for the both of us to have them come here and thank the community like this,” she added.
Of course, the parade was a very special time for everyone in attendance.
“We’re not very good at knowing how many people showed up, but there were way more than we were expecting,” said Scott Moir.
“It’s still alarming to us that anyone would take time out of their holiday weekend to come and celebrate today. But it’s not really about us, it’s about the community,” said Tessa Virtue.
The experience was special, but nobody expected quite how personal the parade would get.
“There were a few rambunctious areas, that’s for sure,” said an elated Moir, referring to fans who came up to their car for high-fives and photos.
“But it’s so heartwarming. I bet the other end of that was really fun and special,” said Virtue.
“This community embraced and adopted me right from the beginning, and for that I’m so grateful,” she added.
The parade was just the beginning of the celebration. A fun-filled festival of musical performances and lots of food took place at Ilderton arena, with a promise for a special guest headliner in the end.
“You’re going to have to stay to the end to find out who is performing tonight,” said a chuckling Moir.
“But It’s going to be a really fun time tonight, and we both can’t wait for it to get started.”