A few shy people in a chain of nearly 12,000 “bear huggers” may have cost Ottawa a world record, but organizers are consoling themselves with the fact their event far surpassed its fundraising goal.
A review of video from the 2008 Bear Hug — in which students from 10 city high schools lined both sides of the Rideau Canal, from Pretoria Bridge to Rideau Street, for a simultaneous hug — uncovered a small gap in the chain that disqualifies the event from Guinness World Records consideration.
But the 11,783 participants in the April 25 event raised a record $310,000 for cancer research and patient care in the area, exceeding their goal of $130,000, organizers said yesterday.
Monique Amyot, of the Bear Hug Committee, said students got behind the idea and the event is almost sure to be held again next year.
“The kids like the idea of the hug,” said Amyot. “It shows warmth.”
Word of the project “mushroomed” among city schools, said Amyot. “I have schools calling me saying they want to do this next year.”
Amyot said students weren’t too disappointed to learn they fell short of a world record.
“In our hearts, we did achieve it. We just weren’t able to get the picture. But now we know for next time.”
The funds raised will be shared equally among the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation and the Ottawa Senators Foundation.
The hug featured 10,573 students, 810 teachers and 400 bus drivers and volunteers in a human chain.