Sometimes a hug from a friend can make everything better. Other times it takes something bigger — like hugs from all your friends, and more than 10,000 other strangers.
On April 25, more than 11,000 students from city high schools will line both sides of the Rideau Canal, from Pretoria Bridge to Rideau Street, in a bid to set the record for the world’s largest group hug.
The giant “Bear Hug” is the culmination of a fundraising campaign that hopes to raise more than $300,000 for cancer patient care and research through charitable foundations for Ottawa Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and the Ottawa Senators.
The first Bear Hug event was held in 2004 and had more than 5,100 students hug in the schoolyard behind St. Matthew High School.
“It takes a whole year of planning to make this 10-second hug take place,” said Monique Amyot, an organizer. “It happens so fast, but if you come to the event itself, it’s amazing.”
Notre Dame High School student Matthew Corluka said this was a chance for students to do something special for a good cause.
“We’re coming together and putting our names on the map for doing great things. That’s trying to raise money to treat and eradicate cancer,” he said.
Peter Lamothe, a teacher at St. Matthews High School who helped organize the first Bear Hug, called on the general public to augment their numbers. The plan calls for public volunteers to fill a gap around the Government Conference Centre at the north end of the Canal. People can register to take part at the Chateau Laurier between 9:30 and 10:50 a.m. on April 25.

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