News from Canada's walking movement.
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October 2015

WELCOME TO our new monthly format for CANADA WALKS NEWS, featuring updates and resources from our own work and Canada's growing national movement for walking. Includes the latest on walkable communities and active school travel. Got news? Let us know ... Subscribe, and share with a friend. It's free ... Canada Walks is a department of Green Communities Canada. See our websites: 


Schools celebrate IWALK

IN THE September issue of CANADA WALKS NEWS we noted the efforts of St. Kevin’s school in Welland and their preparations for International Walk to School (IWALK). They had an amazing celebration on IWALK Day, 7 October, and a whopping 158 students walked/wheeled to school. Our colleagues from CAA were on hand helping to deliver healthy snacks and walk with community members. See the St. Catharine's Standard story here.

St. Raphael Catholic School really showed their walking spirit on IWALK day. Students and teachers dressed in green to celebrate the event, and the Health Action Team was joined by four Toronto Police officers and the School Travel Planning Facilitator to hand out stickers and congratulate families on choosing an active journey to school. Later in the afternoon, the school held its Terry Fox walk and took the entire student population for a stroll through the neighbourhood.
St. Raphael students celebrate IWALK
The Walkolution returned to Northlea Elementary and Middle school as they celebrated IWALK-IWHEEL Day. The Principal, parent volunteers, and a few students greeted and distributed stickers and bookmarks from Toronto Public Health to students who walked and wheeled to school. A couple of police officers circled the school on their bicycles to ensure that students arrived to school safely. More parents parked away from the perimeter of the school and walked their children to the entrance, making it easier for students to walk and wheel safely. 

Watch for the November issue of the CANADA WALKS NEWS for a complete roundup of IWALK events.

Hamilton supports active school travel

THE TRUSTEES of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) recently voted unanimously to endorse the Active and Sustainable Active Shool Travel Charter, proving their commitment to active school travel. Currently, the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, and the HWDSB have pledged to work together to improve active and sustainable school transportation. Read more.

NWT walks over 400,000 km

IN 2015, Walk to Tuk was the biggest and longest recreational physical activity event in the Northwest Territiories (NWT) with over 2,500 participants. Walk to Tuk encourages everyone to form teams and together conceptually ‘walk the distance’ of the Mackenzie River from Fort Providence to Tuktoyaktuk. Teams collectively attempted to walk a total of 1,658 km from January to March.
This year there were participating teams from 24 NWT communities. Of the 188 registered teams, 131 made it to Tuktoyaktuk, logging a grand total of 453,442 km. Calculated in hours of exercise, Walk to Tuk participants collectively spent over 108,069 hours walking. On average, each participant accumulated 316 minutes of weekly exercise, which is over double the 150 minutes recommended by the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines.
The 2015 Walk to Tuk was also marked by attention on a national level through the Play Exchange. This northern program was selected as one of six finalists in the Play Exchange and was showcased on a CBC television show in January with the opportunity to win a grant worth up to $1 million. The Play Exchange was a national online challenge to find and support creative ideas to get Canadians living healthier lifestyles.

Stay tuned for info on the 2016 Walk to Tuk coming up in the new year.


Walking attitudes, barriers probed

45% OF Canadians reported that it wouldn’t be difficult to commit to walking 30 minutes a day. This is one finding from a survey of 1,000 Canadians. Through our partnership with the Canadian Automobile Association, Canada Walks was able to include some questions specifically about walking in a national Ekos poll conducted in June 2015.

The survey asked people about their behaviours and attitudes toward walking. More than 70% of those surveyed agreed that walking is a form of exercise with real health benefits and also find walking to be a pleasant and relaxing activity. These are great building blocks for a movement to get Canadians walking more.

However, the average number of walks that Canadians take weekly of at least ten minutes is fairly low at five minutes. This does not come close to meeting the physical activity guidelines for adults. And although the duration that people walk for seems high at 42 minutes, 44% of respondents reported walking 20-60 minutes when they walk, so this skewed the results a bit.

We're seeing the most uptake of walking during personal time – for errands (59%), to parks/playgrounds (57%) and visiting (47%), and far less for commuting to work (31%) or school (20%). These are areas we can continue to work on to increase the mode share of walking in the transportation mix.

While 77% of respondents agree that they should walk more often, they identified obstacles such as having a disability or mobility issue (20%); no sidewalks or pathways (16%); or safety concerns in the neighbourhood (13%).

Not surprisingly, the biggest barrier that people identified was time (50%), so the message is still “build it into your daily life” rather than trying to fit it in as a separate activity. Active travel to work and school are great opportunities to do this!

It’s also interesting to note that a clear majority of survey respondents support walkability initiatives such as enforcing lower speed limits (61%); increased spending on walking infrastructure (80%); and better snow and ice removal on sidewalks (88%).

Canada Walks agrees that these are priority areas. We promote the value of walking and walkability, and work with partners to help build Canada’s walking movement. Thanks to CAA for their shared interest in walk friendly communities.

We’re helping to make Canada a great place to walk. Join us! Connect with us through social media and through our newsletter.

Submit your top walking pics

THE CITY of Toronto is in the process of creating a Compete Streets Guideline and is holding a photo contest as part of the initiative. The Complete Streets photo contest is asking people to submit a photo answering the question "What makes a street feel more complete?" While the contest currently features quite a few Toronto shots, there are also photos featuring complete streets from Lisbon and Bordeaux.

Learn more about the contest here.

Walkable community video posted

EARTHCARE THUNDER Bay and the local walkability committee have created Walkable Thunder Bay, a video focusing on making Thunder Bay a more walkable city. The video's content is generic enough to apply to any community looking to increase walking.

Crossing Guard contest now open

PARACHUTE AND FedEx Canada are now accepting nominations for Canada's favourite crossing guard. They welcome students, educators, parents, and community leaders to recognize the contributions of those that play an important role in pedestrian safety by helping children make the safe journey to and from school.

To nominate a crossing guard, register here. Registration is open until 24 November.

Quebec launches walking campaign

VIVRE EN Ville, a Quebec-based public interest organization focusing on the development of sustainable communities, recently launched Tous Piétons, a province-weide campaign to increase walking and promote pedestrian culture.

Tous Piétons aims to transform the urban, regulatory, and cultural environments to improve the safety and comfort of all pedestrians, and will work towards change that promotes walking as a mode of travel. According to their website, Tous Piétons wants to give a specific voice to pedestrians and become a central player in their mobilization and consultation. They note that in promoting an awareness of pedestrians at the policy level that their approach, in part, is based on consultation and collaboratoin, and aim to play a unifying role rather than attempt to replace current initiatives.

The campaign will feature a number of activities throughout the month of October, and will take place in three different communities: Gatineau, Ouatouais, and Montreal. Visit their website for more information.


  • How happy is your city? Join the Urban Reader book club for an accessible, interdisciplinary conversation centred Happy City, a book written by Charles Montgomery. 21 October, Urbanspace Gallery, 401 Richmond. Free. Register here.
  • National Walking Summit, 28-30 October, Washington DC. Learn more.
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.

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.

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Canada Walks is a department of Green Communities Canada.