TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 25, 2013) -

Editors note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

Canadian Astronaut and hero Chris Hadfield joined more than 3,500 students in a celebration of Freedom Day at Toronto's Yonge-Dundas Square today.

Freedom Day is an annual educational event organized and sponsored by the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies (FSWC) to help students celebrate Canadian rights and freedoms, commemorate the life and legacy of Simon Wiesenthal, raise awareness about human rights issues, and empower youth to raise their voices and take action to make the world a better place.

"Freedom Day embodies the values of free will and democracy that I cherish most deeply," noted Hadfield. "I am honoured to join the thousands of Canadians celebrating these precious ideals."

Hadfield also joined Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Tour for Humanity - a state-of-the-art bus that's been turned into a mobile classroom designed to bring FSWC's educational programs to students and communities across the province.

"As a Canadian and as a leader of a human rights organization I value the hard-earned rights and freedoms we have in this country," explained FSWC President and CEO Avi Benlolo. "We need to honour and protect them - and we need to talk about them with our youth, which is what Freedom Day is all about."

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) is a leading Canadian non-profit human rights foundation directly representing over 30,000 members. FSWC is committed to countering racism and antisemitism and to promoting the principles of tolerance, social justice and Canadian democratic values through advocacy and educational programs including workshops, Freedom Day, the Spirit of Hope Benefit, Tools for Tolerance and its widely acclaimed new Tour for Humanity. Visit us at

FSWC is affiliated with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization headquartered in Los Angeles, which has won two Academy Awards, has built two Museums of Tolerance (with a third being built in Jerusalem) and is an NGO at the United Nations, UNESCO, OAS, OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link:

Contact Information:

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies
Stacey Starkman
Communications Manager
416.864 9735 x 32 (office) / 416.524.3287 (cell)