BMO Bank of Montreal Takes the Lead, Becoming the Title Sponsor of the Vancouver Marathon

VANCOUVER, December 20, 2005 – BMO Bank of Montreal has gone the extra mile and made a five-year commitment with the Vancouver International Marathon Society (VIMS) to be the title sponsor for the Vancouver Marathon, beginning with the 2006 Marathon on Sunday, May 7.

“BMO is proud to become the title sponsor of Canada’s largest marathon. We are looking forward to working with the Vancouver Marathon team to build on the incredible success they have already achieved,” said Richard Rudderham, Senior Vice President, BC & Yukon, BMO Bank of Montreal. “My colleagues and I at BMO share, in our own way, the commitment, passion and perseverance of long distance runners and always seek to offer our customers exceptional service and a unique experience,” added Mr. Rudderham.

Now known as the BMO Bank of Montreal Vancouver Marathon, VIMS will continue to operate a world class Marathon offering a fast marathon course in one of the most beautiful urban settings. The BMO Bank of Montreal Vancouver Marathon will attract both elite and recreational runners and walkers for the Full, Half and the Canada Kids MaraFun.

Since its inception in 1972, the Vancouver Marathon has continually grown in both size and scope. The event has evolved from a small community event into not only Canada’s largest marathon, with over 15,000 participants, but into one of Vancouver's most anticipated outdoor sporting and wellness events with 50,000 spectators in 2005.

VIMS Chair, Paul Adams, said, “We are extremely pleased with BMO Bank of Montreal’s long-term commitment to be the title sponsor of the Vancouver Marathon. We see this as a great fit since both organizations are dedicated to promoting health and wellness in our community and to recognizing those individuals who strive to excel in their given sport.” Adams added, “With BMO as title sponsor, adidas as presenting sponsor and the ongoing support of all the other sponsors, the City of Vancouver and Tourism Vancouver, the Marathon’s goal is to double the participation level to 30,000 by 2011.”

“ BMO Bank of Montreal employees are ready to sign up to help the 2,000 plus volunteers required to stage such a large event,” said Rudderham. “We also hope to have some BMO runners and walkers in the race. I plan on participating and I’ll be encouraging BMO’s 3,000 employees in BC to join me!”

The associated events with the BMO Bank of Montreal Vancouver Marathon include a Healthy Nutrition and Wellness Expo at the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre, a Friendship Run and Flag Raising Ceremony, and a Westcoast Salmon BBQ and Pasta Party for Marathon entrants.

The Vancouver International Marathon Society, a non-profit organization, is a member of the Association of International Marathons and Road Races and has been in existence for 35 years.

BMO Financial Group, Canada’s first bank, is a highly diversified financial services organization that includes BMO Bank of Montreal, BMO Nesbitt Burns, one of Canada's largest full-service investment firms, and Chicago-based Harris, a major U.S. mid-west financial services provider. BMO Financial Group has 3,000 employees in British Columbia and operates 140 BMO Bank of Montreal branches as well as six BMO Nesbitt Burns branches and three BMO Harris Private Banking offices.

BMO Financial Group contributed $37.9 million in corporate donations, sponsorships and events in 2005, supporting thousands of communities, charities and not-for-profit organizations in Canada and the USA. Locally, BMO provides major donations to organizations such as the United Way of the Lower Mainland, BC Children’s Hospital, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.

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BMO Financial Group

Laurie Grant,
(604) 665-7596

International Marathon Society
Janet Anderson,
(604) 328-3478