"Rats" in runners storm downtown streets

10th Annual Scotiabank Rat Race for United Way draws 1,200 in support of the community

TORONTO, June 10 /CNW/ - Tonight, the Toronto streets were infested with "rats" as 1,200 runners scurried through downtown as part of the 10th Annual Scotiabank Rat Race for United Way. Many of the racing rodents ran the 5km scurry in "cheesy" rat-inspired costumes.

Pledges raised by participants will support United Way's network of 200 health and social service agencies, as well as support long-term programs and initiatives in Toronto's inner suburban neighbourhoods.

"It takes the whole community working together to address the challenges facing Toronto," said Louise Bellingham, Vice President, Marketing. "Year after year at the Scotiabank Rat Race for United Way, we see people from all walks of life come together at this fun event to build a better city."

Bellingham was joined onstage by Chris Hodgson, Group Head, Canadian Banking at Scotiabank.

"This year's Scotiabank Rat Race was another great success, raising money for United Way and supporting the agency's many social and health initiatives," said Chris Hodgson, Group Head, Canadian Banking, Scotiabank. "It was great to see so many Scotiabankers and members of the Bay Street business community joining in the fun. I wish to thank the many runners and the United Way for again giving all of us a chance to be involved."

Runners enjoyed pre-race festivities led by guest emcee Rudy Blair from 680News. A busker and balloon artists entertained the crowd before United Way member agency YMCA led runners in a high-energy warm-up. Braeburn Neighbourhood Place, a United Way member agency, painted whiskers on the faces of those participants who wanted to look extra "cheesy." Triple Threat Trainers offered free massages before and after the race.

The 2010 Scotiabank Rat Race for United Way is made possible thanks to the generous support of title sponsor Scotiabank and media sponsors: The Globe and Mail, 680News, The Fan 590, CHFI, One Stop Media, Business News Network, and Investment Executive.

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 www.scotiabank.com.

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 at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE Scotiabank

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Caitlin Stidwill, United Way Toronto, Desk - 416-777-1444 ext. 396, Mobile - 416-525-5632, cstidwill@uwgt.org; Deborah Clark (pre-event), Scotiabank Public Affairs, Desk 416-933-0646, deborah_clark@scotiacapital.com; Robyn Harper (at event), Scotiabank Public Affairs, Desk - 416-933-1093, Cell 416-427-5648, robyn_harper@scotiacapital.com

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