News from Canada's walking movement.
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July 2016

CANADA WALKS NEWS is published by Canada Walks, a department of Green Communities CanadaGot news about walking and walkability? Let us know ... Subscribe, and share with a friend. See our websites: 

Jacky Kennedy puts her feet up

AFTER 20 years of advocating for children’s mobility and walkable communities, Jacky Kennedy retired as Director of Canada Walks 30 June. Jacky oversaw and participated in many exciting and innovative projects, including School Travel Planning (she brought the STP model to Canada), Walkability Master Classes, and the Guinness World Record Walk (still held by Canada!). Jacky truly 'walks the walk'. She is recognized internationally as an expert in her field, and has represented Canada on the world stage, including hosting Walk21 Toronto 2007.

Jacky received the 2016 Green Community Lifetime Achievement Award, given annually to an individual who demonstrates through work and achievements a lifetime contribution to improving the environment.

Green Communities Canada is pleased that Jacky will continue to serve as a mentor to our Canada Walks department and wishes her well in this next exciting chapter of her life.

Introducing Kate Berry

KATE BERRY joins GCC as Active & Safe Routes to School Senior Program Manager. Kate comes to GCC from the Upper Grand DSB (UGDSB) where she oversaw traffic management at school sites across the district and facilitated School Travel Planning at a number of schools. Kate is a civil engineer and brings experience from Sustrans in the United Kingdom where she worked on the design and construction of walking and cycling infrastructure. Welcome Kate! Contact Kate at


STP French Toolkit gets an update

CANADA WALKS is pleased to announce updated French resources are now available.
New and revised 2016 French STP files and community samples are included. See the complete update here.

Some highlights:

National walking strategy grows

SUPPORT FOR the National Action Strategy for Walking continues to build. To date, 37 organizations have endorsed the vision statement and pledged to participate. 
See the statement and growing list of supporters and information about how you can join us. See more information about the Strategy.
Recent additions include: Walk Richmond, REEP Green Solutions, Happy City St. John’s, BC Recreation and Parks, Toronto Environmental Alliance, and the Ottawa Safety Council.

OSTA adopts first active transportation policy

THE OTTAWA Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) is the first transportation consortium in Ontario to adopt an active transportation policy. The policy ensures issues of accessibility, cycling, and school zone management of pedestrian and vehicular traffic will be addressed.

Walking is winning says new report

ACCORDING TO an update report on US metropolitan areas, walkable urban places “are gaining market share over their drivable suburban competition—and showing substantially higher rental premiums.” Download Foot Traffic Ahead: 2016 from Smart Growth America, which finds that metros with the highest levels of walkable urbanism are also the most educated and wealthy (as measured by GDP per capita) and also the most socially equitable. This last finding contradicts concerns that walkability results in gentrification, driving out low-income residents. “The reason for this is that low cost transportation costs and better access to employment offset the higher costs of housing.”

Ontario climate plan short changes walking

IF THE Ontario government is serious about encouraging walking, it needs to fund walking initiatives in its new Climate Change Action Plan. The plan commits between $150 and $225 million for walking and cycling; however, budget lines under Section 3: Support Cycling and Walking refer only to cycling initiatives.

Essex County residents encouraged to walk and ride

by Cathy Copot-Nepszy, Health Promotion Specialist Windsor-Essex County Health Unit 
ESSEX COUNTY, ON holds an annual CWATS (County Wide Active Transportation System) celebration to encourage residents to “Walk. Ride. County Wide”. The celebration highlights County Council’s 25 year commitment to invest more than $71,000 million to support active travel.

Events are held at facilities across the county being built under the initiative. At each event, the CWATS Charter is reafffirmed to remind everyone of the benefits of active transportation: health and well-being, environmental sustainability, personal and community safety, and community cohesion and prosperity.

This year, participants received a CWATS t-shirt or water bottle and had a chance to win a Fitbit® personal activity tracker wrist band.

Rolph Road walks and wheels 

ROLPH ROAD Elementary School, East York, ON held two bike rodeos during Bike to School Week. Students learned about the different parts of a bike and organized activities for students to practice their handling skills.

The following week, Rolph Road held its IWALK Awards Ceremony. As students walked, biked, and scootered to school, they were greeted with stickers and offered passionfruit tea, followed by the awarding of the golden, silver and bronze sneaker awards. Keep it up, Rolph Road!

Inspired students embrace active transportation

LAST FALL, Brooklyn Elementary School, Comox, BC engaged Sustainability Coordinator Angela Holmes to work with parents to promote active school travel in an effort to encourage good health, community integration and environmental sustainability, and alleviate traffic risks and congestion.

A Best Routes Map was created specifically for the school and each family received a pamphlet encouraging new routines for the trip to and from school.

Results have been overwhelming. Students have been inspired to get to school under their own power and have found travelling buddies, resulting in neighbourhood connections and a solidified sense of community. Parking problems and traffic congestion have eased. The participation rate during Bike to Work/School Week was 90+% and talks are underway to start a Parent Participation Biking School Bus.

Pedestrian safety requires more funding

TORONTO SET an ambitious goal of eliminating road fatalities and serious injuries by 2021, but hasn’t provided any new funding to ensure it happens. Walking groups are calling on the city to fund changes to the built environment to increase pedestrian safety. Details on Toronto's Road Safety Plan here.

Walking is good exercise at any age

THESE 80-year olds are an inspiration. Despite arthritis and other physical limitations, they actively enjoy the benefits of pole-walking. New Canadian research shows exercise helps repair seniors’ muscles after injury, adding to the growing body of evidence on the benefits of exercise even into old age.

Candians feel safe walking alone at night

ACCORDING TO an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) survey, about 82% of Canadians feel safe walking alone at night (the OECD average is 68%). In every OECD nation, Canada included, women feel less secure walking alone at night than men:73.5% of women compared to 91.7% of men.

Making sidewalks safer

TRIPS AND falls on the street account for a large number of pedestrian accidents and injuries. An Australian study looks at who is affected and what can be done to make sidewalks safer.

Walkability affects BMI

A NEW study shows the walkability of neighbourhoods affects the body mass index (BMI) of its residents. Researchers tracked 2,943 Canadians between the ages of 18 and 55 years living in urban areas over 12 years and correlated their BMIs with the walkability of their neighbourhoods (based on Walk Score). The study confirmed neighborhood walkability influences BMI trajectories for men, and may curb male age-related weight gain.

Lower speeds = pedestrian safety

SAO PAULO, Brazil is promoting pedestrian safety by lowering speed limits and enhancing walkability. Speeds on streets with high levels of pedestrian and commercial activity are capped at 40 km/h. The measures decreased traffic fatalities by 20% in one year.

Play the Parks is back for its 4th season

TORONTO, ON residents can enjoy free lunchtime concerts downtown throughout the summer. Various artists will perform from noon-1 p.m. at Trinity Square, Mackenzie House, College Park and the McGill-Granby Parkette. Details and schedule here.
profiles actions to help create communities where walking is safe, easy, enjoyable, and inviting. Donate to the Green Communities Foundation to provide vital support for this work. Just click on the DONATE button and indicate in the comments section that you'd like your gift to go to the work of Canada Walks.

Join the IWALK/IWHEEL Club

SIGN UP for the IWALK/IWHEEL Club, a great way to encourage students and families to leave the car at home and walk or cycle to school all year long. Students receive their own “club card” to track their active travel trips throughout the year and classes can engage in friendly competition. Register and receive iwalk-iwheel waterless tattoos to use as student incentives.

Your ideas please

If you have story ideas or walking news you'd like to share, please send to us at Be sure to include your contact details. 

Canada Walks workshops and services

CANADA WALKS offers a variety of customized services, including webinars, half- and full-day on-site workshops, and intensive community visits. School Travel Planning training is also now available. Training is offered in a modular format so that each community can learn about topics relevant to their current level of experience with active school travel. Contact Jacky Kennedy to learn more.

Our partners

Green Communities’ Canada Walks is a member of the International Federation of Pedestrians  | 
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Canada Walks is a department of Green Communities Canada.