Toronto agency builds human bridge for the people of Minneapolis

    TORONTO, Aug. 30 /CNW/ - Proximity Canada, a leading relationship, direct
marketing and interactive services agency, is showing its support for
colleagues and the people of Minneapolis affected by the recent bridge
collapse with the launch of the "Human Bridge", it was announced today.
    The initiative includes a website ( where people
can come together virtually to share messages of support and to make
charitable donations. Staff from the company's Toronto office will also gather
on the busy corner of Bloor and Yonge Streets at noon today to join hands in
creating a live Human Bridge to help promote awareness for the website and to
demonstrate that they haven't forgotten about the people of Minneapolis.
    It was less than a month ago on August 1, 2007 that the I-35W Minneapolis
bridge collapsed claiming 13 lives and leaving at least 100 injured. Now that
the recovery effort has officially ended, Proximity is reaching out to those
who have been affected by this tragedy.
    Matt Shirtcliffe, Creative Director, Proximity Canada, is the driving
force behind this initiative. He was in Minneapolis on the day of the collapse
to help open the company's new division and had planned to take a walk down to
the bridge, but circumstances prevented him from doing so.
    "Not only did I come face to face with how fragile life can be, I saw the
immense impact of the tragedy and talking to my colleagues at the time really
brought home the closeness of the disaster. We live in a world of constant
news where we move from one issue to the next and it's important that we don't
forget what has happened in Minneapolis because it's often weeks after a
tragedy that people need the most support," said Shirtcliffe. "Imagine if it
was your family in the car or on the bridge when it collapsed and think about
how a message of support may just do some good," added Shirtcliffe.
    "We had been spending a lot of time with our colleagues in Minneapolis as
we prepared for the opening of the Proximity office in that city this past
June. When we heard about the bridge collapse we wanted to come together in a
show of support for not only our new colleagues, but for all the people of
Minneapolis. I am particularly proud of our staff who have joined this cause
with such tremendous enthusiasm and I hope that our efforts will help those
who are still dealing with the aftermath of this tragedy," said Andrew Bailey,
President, Proximity Canada.
    The Human Bridge website, created and hosted by Proximity Canada,
provides an opportunity for people to lend emotional support by posting
messages to the victims, rescuers and families affected by the bridge
    In addition, site provides a link to the Minnesota
Helps - Bridge Disaster Fund website where people can provide financial
support. Minnesota Helps, a collaboration of local funders, is a charitable
organization that helps facilitate contributions to disaster relief efforts.
    Shirtcliffe added that he hopes the initiative will not only create a
human bridge of moral support from Toronto to Minneapolis, but that it will
extend from coast-to-coast and even from continent-to-continent.

    Based in Toronto, Proximity Canada is a wholly-owned division of BBDO
Canada and is a leading relationship, direct marketing and interactive
services agency. Proximity's four core marketing disciplines include: Direct,
Interactive, Promotions/Event Marketing and Data Analytics. In 2006, Proximity
Interactive was named Digital Agency of the Year. BBDO Canada is part of BBDO
Worldwide, the most awarded agency network in the world according to The Gunn
Report and the first ever Network of the Year at Cannes.

    PHOTO EDITORS: Photos of the live Human Bridge event on Bloor and Yonge
    Streets are available.

For further information:

For further information: Kathy Khamis, BBDO Toronto, (416) 944-7873,; Josh Simpson, BBDO Minneapolis, (612) 371-2315,

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