Ottawa Sun

Human chain reaches out for Haiti

Doug Hempstead

Mitten-in-mitten they stood for the people of Haiti.

A line of skaters 2-km long formed a “human chain” intended to show Ottawa’s support for the millions affected by the earthquakes in the Caribbean island nation.

Saturday afternoon’s event was the brainchild of Sen. Jim Munson of Ottawa, who refers to the Rideau as “my canal, my playground.”

It was there, on the frozen surface, two days after the Jan. 12 earthquake that the idea came to him.

“What can I do for Haiti, I thought. So I approached the Red Cross, the NCC and the Haitian community and I’ve come very close to personally raising my goal of $10,000,” said Munson, who took part in the human chain — decked out in a Haitian flag and Canada hat.

“It was extremely well done, it was very moving,” he said.

Munson said money raised from the 17 donation boxes along the canal Saturday through Monday will also support the cause.

The $10,000 figure is symbolic. Munson said those involved with the humanitarian effort in Haiti expect it will take 10 years to rebuild.

“This is very much something we should all care about. As a former journalist, I know that a story isn’t over just because it’s no longer making headlines,” Munson said.

He illustrated the point with a story about his seven-year-old neighbour, who after hearing news reports of the 10-year rebuild forecast for Haiti, applied the time to her own age.

“She told me she’d be 17 by the time all the work was done, and I think that really says something,” Munson said.

Another big fundraiser on the skateway is BeaverTails.

Owner and co-founder Grant Hooker said the six BeaverTails huts are competing against each other to see which can raise the most money for Haiti.

“We’ve guaranteed $1,000 each, so that’s at least $6,000,” Hooker said.

Performers from the Haitian community are providing entertainment at various rest areas along the skateway all weekend from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.