Ups and downs at zoo’s yo-yo day

Though the air was chilly, spirits remained high at the Yo-Yo for the Dodo event at the Toronto Zoo on Saturday morning.

The event served a dual purpose: to raise money and awareness for endangered species, and set a Guinness World Record for the largest amount of people simultaneously yo-yoing. Canadian yo-yoer, Edward (Fast Eddy) McDonald was also in attendance, attempting to set his own world record for completing the most “hop the fence” tricks in one minute.

Despite the large crowd at the event — 1,376 people came out — a new record wasn’t set. The previous world record remains at 2,236. McDonald also failed to beat his record, which is currently 144 tricks in one minute, previously set by someone in England.

Though McDonald and participants were disappointed with the results, everyone appeared to enjoy meeting other yo-yoers, and learning about endangered species. Booths set up at the event gave visitors information about polar bears, hornbills, Komodo dragons, and Ngege fish, all endangered species which will benefit from funds raised.

Guinness World Records adjudicator Carey Low was at the event in order to moderate the record attempts, and said that he loves judging events such as this one and seeing how excited people get.

“Every one of these things is totally different, and every time, the people involved are really fun, passionate, and energetic,” Low said.

Many of the event’s participants were avid yo-yoers, coming from clubs such as Yo-Yo Toronto. One of the club’s newest and youngest members, Jeremy Bell, was at the event Saturday. Though he is just 11 years old and has only been yo-yoing for six months, the group allowed him to join because of his passion for the activity.

“I love learning new tricks, and trying new yo-yos,” Bell said.

Another event participant, Donald Cook, drove overnight from Vermont with his daughters Olivia, 11, and Selena, 4, in order to attend. Cook said himself and his daughters are big fans of animals and zoos, and that their favourite zoo to visit is Toronto’s. He has also been an avid yo-yoer since childhood, something he passed on to his daughter Olivia.

“Yo-yoing is a challenge for yourself,” said Olivia. “It’s something you can just pick up and have some fun, and it doesn’t cost all that much.”

McDonald, who holds three Guinness World Records, said that he started off just like Olivia, Bell, and the many other young people at the event. He first started yo-yoing at the age of 12, and hasn’t stopped.

“This is proof that you really can learn how to do almost anything if you’re willing to do all the hard work and practice,” McDonald said.