News & Articles

National Health and Fitness Day Kicks Off Summer with Swim Day on the Hill

News –

(Ottawa, May 9th, 2018) – Parliamentarians and water safety organizations marked the seventh annual Swim Day on the Hill in Ottawa, an event that promotes health and fitness and water safety. Use of life jackets and increased physical activity were the main messages delivered by an array of speakers – including Anthony Housefather, MP for Mount Royal and Maccabiah Games Medalist, Lesley Anderson of the Canadian Red Cross, and Pierre Lafontaine, CEO of Cycling Canada and former coach of Canada’s Olympic Swim Team.

A companion event to National Health and Fitness Day, which this year is Saturday, June 2nd, Swim Day on the Hill partnered with YMCA/YWCA Canada, Canadian Red Cross, Swimming Canada, and Royal Life Saving Society Canada to promote swimming as an excellent, accessible form of physical activity and to raise awareness about the importance of safety when swimming, boating, or stand up paddle boarding.

The event highlights the need for education surrounding swimming and water safety to decrease the almost five hundred tragic, yet often-avoidable, drowning fatalities that occur in Canada annually. By working together, we hope to eliminate drownings as we make Canada the fittest nation on earth!


“Many Canadians live close to natural lakes, rivers and oceans, or visit them in the summer holidays.  Others take advantage of community swimming pools. I encourage everyone to learn to swim safely and with confidence.”

  • Senator Nancy Greene Raine, Olympic Champion

“In October 2017, the first edition of the Canadian Drowning Prevention Plan was released and highlights what Canadians can do to reduce drownings in their communities.  Keep you and your family safe this summer by taking the Swim to Survive program which teaches how to survive an unexpected fall into the water.”

  • Wendy Schultenkamper, Royal Life Saving Society Canada

“Red Cross Canada is pleased to take the opportunity at Swim Day on the Hill to remind Canadians that before heading out on a boat this summer ensure that all persons on board – even strong swimmers – are outfitted with a correctly sized lifejacket appropriate to the activity.”

  • Lesley Anderson, Red Cross Canada

“As the weather warms up and Canadians turn to cottages, lakes, pools, rivers and beaches, we are reminded how important it is for every Canadian child to learn to swim. We encourage all parents to make their summer safer by enrolling children in lessons.”

  • Ahmed El-Awadi, CEO of Swimming Canada

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For additional information, please contact:

Marilyn McIvor

National Health and Fitness Day Project Coordinator in the offices of

Senator Nancy Greene Raine

Phone: 613-402-5154