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Posted: June 19, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Running: Downtown Toronto infested with "rats"

1,200 runners scurry through downtown at Scotiabank Rat Race for United Way

TORONTO, June 18 /CNW/ - The streets of downtown Toronto were crawling with "rats" tonight as over 1,200 runners, many in "cheesy" rat-inspired costume, participated in a 5 km scurry as part of the 9th Annual Scotiabank Rat Race for United Way.

Pledges raised by the racing rodents will support United Way's network of health and social service agencies across Toronto, as well as support special programs and initiatives particularly in Toronto's inner suburban neighbourhoods.

"In a year when people need help the most, the Scotiabank Rat Race for United Way has united a large number of enthusiastic runners and volunteers in support of our community," said Frances Lankin, President and CEO United Way Toronto. "This event is a fun way for people to work up a sweat and build a better city for everyone."

Chris Hodgson, Group Head, Canadian Banking at Scotiabank joined Lankin at tonight's race.

"This is always a fun event in support of a great organization and Scotiabank is proud to be a part of it," said Mr. Hodgson, who will be one of the runners in tonight's event. "It's great to see so many people come out to support an organization that is making a very real difference every day in the lives of people in our city. I would like to express my thanks to the many runners, and to the United Way for again giving us all a chance to be involved."

Pre-race festivities at Scotia Plaza were led by guest emcee Rudy Blair from 680 News. Runners were treated to performances by a balloon artist and two roaming magicians, United Way member agency YMCA led runners in a high-energy warm-up, and United Way member agency Braeburn Neighbourhood Place ran a face-painting station for those who forgot their rat ears and whiskers.

The 2009 Scotiabank Rat Race is made possible thanks to the generous support of title sponsor Scotiabank, and media sponsors the National Post, CHFI, 680News, BNN, Investment Executive and ONE STOP Media Group.

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for its charitable donations and philanthropic activities, in 2008 the Bank provided about $43 million in sponsorships and donations to a variety of projects and initiatives, primarily in the areas of healthcare, education, social services and arts and culture. Visit us at

Established in 1956, United Way Toronto is a charity working to advance the common good and create opportunities for a better life for everyone in our city. Working in partnership with others, we mobilize people and resources to address the root causes of social problems and to change community conditions for the better. United Way supports agencies that provide services to strengthen individuals, families, and communities.

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