About 18,000 students from 380 schools across the province packed MTS Centre on Tuesday for Free the Children’s popular We Day event.
Some rural school buses departed their local areas as early as 5 a.m. to reach the city.
World-renowned speakers and leaders delivered messages of encouragement, including former president of the Soviet Union and Nobel Peace Laureate Mikhail Gorbachev, and Spencer West, Free The Children ambassador and Me to We speaker. Both men received the key to the city on Monday evening during a We Day gala dinner.
The day started off with greetings from local community supporters and dignitaries, including University of Winnipeg chancellor Bob Silver, Winnipeg Jets chairman Mark Chipman and businessman Hartley Richardson. Mayor Sam Katz and Premier Greg Selinger also rallied the crowd with words of inspiration.
“Can we reach out and talk to the kids in the school that might dress a little differently and look a little differently? Yes we can,” Selinger said during a short anti-bullying address.
“Can we reach out to the newcomer who can’t speak English? Yes we can,” Selinger continued with a positive mantra. “Your commitment to your community and to your province will help build an even better Manitoba for everyone.”
The day was broadcast live on WeDay.com with a multi-camera production so those unable to attend still feel part of the experience.
Musical artists Lights, Shawn Desman, Victoria Duffield, Jesse Giddings, Allstar Weekend, Justin Nozuka, and Rob Nash also performed.
We Day was formed by Free the Children founders Marc and Craig Kielburger and will travel to the Waterloo, Ontario region on November 14.
One of the presenting sponsors of We Day is Telus, who is holding a $20,000 contest until November 18 to bring a youth-submitted idea to life. Students can visit TelusForWeDay.com to enter and share what they’re doing to make a difference in their community. Telus will donate $1 from each submission to Free the Children, and each participant will be entered in a draw to become part of the Telus Crew to document and share their experience at a future We Day with youth across Canada.
View the photo gallery below.