The Heart and Stroke Foundation Illuminates Ontario for Heart Month

Nine in ten Canadians are at risk for heart disease and stroke. More funds needed for lifesaving research.

TORONTO, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - Today, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario kicked off Heart Month 2011 by illuminating landmarks across Ontario with its Heart Lights initiative. At 5:30 p.m. major landmarks including the CN Tower, Hockey Hall of Fame, the Art Gallery of Ontario, RBC Dexia Building, Niagara Falls, Science North - Dynamic Earth, Lord Elgin Hotel, Residence Inn by Marriott Ottawa, Thunder Bay City Hall, Ceasars Windsor Hotel & Casino and Yonge-Dundas Square were lit red to celebrate Heart Month and support all of the Foundation's hardworking volunteers.

"Our country as a whole is at serious risk for heart disease and stroke," says David Sculthorpe, CEO, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. "Heart Month helps us raise public awareness of the risk factors and teach Canadians how to make lifestyle modifications that will lead to longer and better lives, while raising funds for lifesaving research and initiatives."

"During Heart Month and all year long, the McGuinty government works closely with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario to provide supportive environments and access to information so people can make informed decisions, change behaviours, and live healthy, more active lives. The quality and length of life depend on a healthy heart. Your heart is for life so invest in it," says Margarett Best, Ontario's Minister of Health Promotion and Sport.

February has been known as Heart Month for more than 50 years. Every February during Heart Month, the Heart and Stroke Foundation's canvassers knock on doors to raise funds for lifesaving research into heart disease and stroke. For 2011 Heart Month, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has set a goal of raising $4.8 million across Ontario with the help of 53,000 volunteers. The funds raised during 2011 Heart Month will allow the Foundation to continue working to achieve the targets set out in the Canadian Heart Health Action Plan, including creating heart-healthy environments, helping Canadians lead healthier lives, continuing health service reform and building knowledge infrastructure to enhance prevention and care.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario launched its 2011 Heart Month initiatives with a red-themed event at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto. David Sculthorpe was joined by Canadian Olympic figure skater Isabelle Brasseur who has been affected by heart disease, former NHL player Todd Warriner and a large crowd of supporters as he turned on a large switch to light the square red, while simultaneously the lights at other Ontario landmarks turned red.

The red lights communicate the message that the Canadian population is at risk for heart disease and stroke and raise awareness for the possible changes Canadians can make to lead heart healthy lives. To further raise public awareness of the Canadian population's risk the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario has coordinated a number of initiatives to reach out to communities across the province including:

  • Door-to-Door Campaign that will reach 800,000 Ontario households
    • 40,000 volunteers going door to door in their communities to raise funds for life-saving research

  • Community Fundraisers
    • Local Foundation offices will host community fundraising events, including curling bonspiels, galas, chili cook-offs, polar bear dips and soup contests, to name a few

  • In malls
    • From January 28 to February 13, Heart&Stroke kiosks will be in participating Cadillac Fairview malls across southern Ontario. At the kiosks, Canadians can have their blood pressure and pulse checked, enjoy the KidZone Activity area, purchase Heart Hero capes, balloons and scarves to support the Foundation, enter contests to win an iPAD and learn how to reduce risks for heart disease

  • Shop & Save a Life
    • The Foundation has partnered with retailers including BCBGMAXAZRIA, Boathouse, Danier and Fitness Depot to Shop & Save A Life, where a portion of the sale of selected products and all proceeds from $2 red paper hearts go to support vital life-saving research

  • It's easy to Text to give
    • Throughout the month of February, Ontario residents can text HEART5 to 20222 to donate $5.00 or HEART10 to 20222 to donate $10 to the Heart and Stroke Foundation on any mobile phone carrier

For additional information or to make a donation, please visit our website at

About the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: Photos accompanying this release are available at Images are free to accredited members of the media/


For further information:

For more information, images or to arrange an interview with a Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson please contact:

Kara Euale
Hill & Knowlton Canada
(416) 413-4695
                Kayla Rochkin
Hill & Knowlton Canada
(416) 413-4767

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Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario

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