Downtown infested with "rats"

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

    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
    "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
    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.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Caitlin Stidwill, United Way
Toronto, Desk - (416) 777-1444 ext. 396, Mobile - (416) 525-5632,; Ann DeRabbie, Scotiabank Public Affairs, Desk - (416)
933-1344, Mobile - (416) 771-4441,

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