TORONTO - Some hardy CEOs traded in their mattresses and duvets for sleeping bags on the pavement overnight to raise awareness about homeless youth in Toronto.
The group of 53 executives and other notable figures — including police Chief Bill Blair, Toronto Maple Leafs manager Brian Burke and Arlene Dickinson of "Dragon's Den" fame — spent the chilly night in a parking lot outside a downtown youth shelter.
Dickinson says while spending the night on the street was harder than she thought it would be, the campaign is raising attention and sparking conversations about homelessness.
Covenant House Executive Director Bruce Rivers says the campaign raised more than $500,000 to support the estimated 3,500 youth who turn to the shelter for help each year in Toronto.
The second annual Sleep Out was hosted by Covenant House in 12 cities across North America.
Thursday night's sleepover marked the first time Canadian branches participated in the event.