Come Skate for Haiti on the Rideau Canal Skateway, February 5 to 7

An event to raise funds and celebrate community - "Giving a little means a lot!"

OTTAWA, Feb. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The first weekend of Winterlude, February 5, 6 and 7, the National Capital Commission (NCC), the Capital Region's Haitian community and the Canadian Red Cross are inviting the public to come out and "Skate for Haiti."

"Skate for Haiti will provide a unique and truly Canadian way for visitors and residents of Ottawa to support continuing relief efforts for earthquake victims," said John Baird, Canada's Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean. "I encourage everyone to lace up their skates this weekend for a very worthy cause."

"The NCC is pleased to help the Haitian community and the Red Cross to reach out to visitors on the Rideau Canal Skateway this weekend," said Marie Lemay, Chief Executive Officer at the NCC. "This is an act of solidarity between our capital and the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince."

Canadians and visitors alike will be able to demonstrate their support for Haiti and the earthquake survivors in a number of ways, as they enjoy the Rideau Canal Skateway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Donation boxes: All money put into the 17 NCC donation boxes along the Skateway on February 5, 6, and 7 will go to the Canadian Red Cross in aid of Haiti.

Creating a sense of shared community: Skateway users will be entertained by performers from the Haitian community at various rest areas along the Skateway, on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm.

What's more, at 3 pm on Saturday, February 6, in a show of solidarity for Haiti, skaters will be assembled in a human chain along the canal.

Skate for Haiti pledges: Visitors who wish to skate for pledges to help Haiti are encouraged to do so by visiting the Canadian Red Cross website at www.redcross.ca/helpnow, or by calling toll-free 1-800-418-1111.

In addition, management and staff of BeaverTails(R) concessions will raise $1,000 per Skateway concession in aid of Haiti.

"The Canadian Red Cross is thrilled to be a part of one of the Capital Region's most popular winter traditions, and I would like to thank the National Capital Commission for giving Winterlude visitors the opportunity to support Haiti earthquake relief," said Conrad Sauvé, Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Red Cross. "Public donations will be used to provide shelter, food, water and other essentials in Haiti. Funds will also be used to support Red Cross recovery efforts, as we rebuild the region in the months and years to come."

The Skate for Haiti weekend is about raising funds and celebrating Ottawa's Haitian community on our own beautiful Rideau Canal Skateway. The theme, "Giving a little means a lot," encourages residents and visitors in Canada's Capital Region to skate and donate to rebuild Haiti today and into the future.

Monies collected during the weekend will be eligible for the federal government matching program.

For more information about Winterlude activities, visit Winterlude.gc.ca.

SOURCE Canadian Red Cross

For further information: For further information: James Kusie, Director of Issues Management Office of Canada's Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, (613) 991-0700; Kathryn Keyes, Director of Communications, NCC, (613) 239-5636; For information about Haitian community events: Gérard Etienne, (613) 238-1628, extension 21; Canadian Red Cross media line: (613) 740-1994


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