Shoppers Launches Nationwide Cancer Fund-Raiser With Impromptu Exercise Classes in Six Cities

An impromptu aeorbics class
An impromptu aeorbics class
Photo: Hugh Li

A crowd of more than 40 people—dressed in leggings, headbands, and leotards—worked out to Olivia Newton-John’s 1980s hit “Physical” during an impromptu aerobics class staged by CauseForce Inc. outside the Shoppers Drug Mart location at the Hudson Bay Centre on Wednesday afternoon.

The stunt, which also took place in Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver, marked the launch of a campaign to raise awareness for the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers (formerly known as the Weekend to End Breast Cancer), which takes place in Toronto on September 11 and 12 and benefits the Princess Margaret Hospital.

"Today's event was emblematic of the brand-new weekend. In one sense, it was light and fun, but in another, it showed the commitment of groups of men and women coming together and making a physical statement with the hope of eradicating all women's cancers,” Paul Alofs, president and C.E.O. of the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, said in a statement.

CauseForce Inc.—which staged a similar stunt to promote the 2010 Ride to Conquer Cancer last fall—recruited participants from the 2009 walk, members of the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, and representatives from Shoppers Drug Mart to stage the workout sessions on Wednesday.

This year, participants will have the opportunity to walk 60 kilometres over two days or 30 kilometres in one day. Walkers will also be able to designate whether the funds they raise will go towards breast or gynecological cancer research and care. "2010 will be a real watershed for this event," Alofs said.

In another example of an exercise-class stunt, TransUnion staged two so-called "Yoga Takeover" events that brought large-scale mat classes to Chicago and New York earlier this month.

More in Alberta: Calgary, Edmonton