The Bell Centre rocked for mental health last night in a special celebration marking Clara Hughes’ passage through Montreal on her Big Ride across Canada for Bell Let’s Talk.

Almost 6,000 people came out to enthusiastically welcome the six-time Olympic medalist on the 13th day of her ride to raise awareness about mental health.

During the evening, Clara was interviewed by actress and radio personality Marina Orsini; she spoke of the openness with which people have responded to her 12,000 kilometer ride. “Everyone I go, I have received such a warm welcome.” This is all the more important since the purpose of her ride is to make more people talk about mental health and to promote the inclusion of individuals suffering from mental health problems in all communities, big and small.

Lynne McVey, CEO and Executive Director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, a proud partner of the event, was present last night. She highlighted the long road that has been taken in the fight against stigma and stated that the presence of so many people at the Bell Centre is tangible proof of the progress that has been made.

In the large crowd, there were a number of artists and sports celebrities, such as hockey player Guy Lafleur. Also on stage, we saw performances from two singers: Cœur de Pirate and Serena Ryder, the latter having been joined by Quebec singer Brigitte Boisjoli.

In total, Clara will ride 12,000 kilometers over 110 days, passing through 95 cities throughout the entire country.