The Tradition of Fill the Boot
Over the years Canadian Fire Fighters, our biggest supporters have helped Muscular Dystrophy Canada to continue to fund research, provide essential services and equipment to people affected by neuromuscular disorders. Our long standing and strong partnership continues to be a historical pillar. Throughout our history and to this day, Fire Fighters have been creative in their fundraising efforts. Fire Fighters have had chicken wing eating contests, car washes, motorcycle rides but the most recognizable and used is the Fill the Boot campaign or the Fire Fighter Boot Toll. Even with newer events like the Rooftop Campouts money is still largely collected in a Fire Fighter’s boot.
Below is a photo from the Muscular Dystrophy Reporter Spring Issue from 1966, showcasing the, “new amusing technique of receiving contributions.”
The Fill the Boot has its roots dating back to the early 1950s in the Boston, Massachusetts area of the United States of America, a Fire Fighter came across a colleague who was with an old friend. The friend had two sons, both affected by neuromuscular disorders, who needed money for their care. With canisters in hand, the Fire Fighters raised $5,000. This grew Boston-wide, and during the International Association of Fire Fighters 22nd convention in 1954, the original fundraisers from Boston campaigned for the cause. The IAFF set up the partnership with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which was also inherited by the Muscular Dystrophy Association of Canada soon after its founding.