Six-time Olympian Clara Hughes was presented with a key to the city by Mayor Shari Decter Hirst, the second ever handed out by a Brandon mayor.
Hughes arrived in Brandon by bike on Thursday night as part of Clara’s Big Ride. She has cycled across Canada for the past 92 days to help raise awareness of mental health issues.
“Clara’s goal to bring awareness, acceptance and action to create a stigma-free Canada should inspire us all,” Decter Hirst said. “Clara’s work to see mental illness brought out of the shadows and become part of Canada’s conversation is extremely important.”
Key to the city recipients are chosen at the discretion of the mayor.
The first key was given to NFL player and former Vincent Massey High School student Israel Idonije in March 2011.
“It is ironic that the next key is also to another athlete,” Decter Hirst said. “But we are looking for role models and both Mr. Idonije and Clara are.”
The criteria for being awarded the key to city is having “accomplished a great feat in business, volunteerism or by giving back to the community in another exemplary way.”
Brandon residents are ineligible, but former residents can be considered.
“We do not look for one every six months or even every year,” Decter Hirst said. “It just depends on the circumstances and who is visiting.”
The key to the city is purely symbolic and does not unlock any door. It stems from old walled cities and the necessity of needing a key to the gate to enter without questioning.
» Brandon Sun