In May of 2003, Geocaching was still a relatively new activity the number of caches in Ontario was a mere spattering compared to the numbers that are found today. Central Ontario is loosely defined as the “Southern Area of Ontario, lying between Georgian Bay and the Eastern end of Lake Ontario”. Simply put, the region is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
With Central Ontario being such a beautiful place with exceedingly accessible wilderness, it was no shock that new geocaches were being placed on a weekly basis. It was not that long before Geocachers were beginning to meet up with each other on the trail. One Geocacher in the Central Ontario area (Dan Merrill aka Swifteroo) had been caching for roughly half of a year at this point and was starting to realize something. With each meeting he had on the trails with other like-minded Geocachers, there was an apparent desire to gather and learn more about the sport. Another of those like-minded geocachers was Trent of Team Woods. Geocachers seemed to wonder how their other counterparts were doing with the sport, and what new things they were experiencing. Almost immediately, Swifteroo and Team Woods began to imagine what was possible. How could they bring together those people who shared the same hobby and same passion for Geocaching in the area? Swifteroo would continue to work with landowners, different parks organizations and businesses to help familiarize the public with the sport. Team Woods worked on a web forum discussion platform for the community.
It was not until early 2006 that the “Central Ontario Geocachers” (COG) would begin to take shape. Local gatherings at pubs turned into Geocaching events and grew into a monthly “meet and greet” routine. These events were moved to different locations across the region… and they continue to this day. More importantly, a simple picnic-style gathering that was organized by Swifteroo and Team Woods in 2005 began to take on a life of its own….
The “Spring Fling” event started in April of 2005 as a gathering for all of the local Geocachers to meet up and take part in geocaching activities throughout the day. In these early days, events like this served as more of an educational, friendly gathering to socialize and participate in the sport. That year, the Spring Fling event commanded a group of 80 Geocachers from all parts of Southern Ontario. As of the second year of the event (COG Spring Fling II), many of the ideas still used in the execution of the Spring Fling event were put in place and refined. The Fling event entered its 10th year (and its 6th year as a Groundspeak “Mega” event) in 2014. Even at 900+ people in attendance, with an entire day structured around different things to do, it was still possible to feel that camaraderie and goodwill that existed on that first day in 2005. The Fling event is made possible by the coordinated efforts of the Organizers and dedicated Event Volunteers. This “Fling Team” are recognizable on the day of the event, as they are the ones wearing the Orange Shirts. (In many cases, Event Volunteers who have gone above-and-beyond in making Fling a great success are punished by being invited to become an Organizer….!). That being said, the venue may have changed, the Orange Shirts may have changed… but the goal of Fling remained the same.
What lies ahead for the COG is in the hands of its own members. Rather than a structured organizational environment, COG has always been proud of building on the input and expertise of all of its participants. There are no membership dues, no rules of eligibility or restrictions of residence… if you would like to be a “member” of COG… we just ask that you bring your passion along with you.