News from Canada's walking movement.
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April 2016

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

It's time to Spring into Spring

WITH THE arrival of Spring, it’s time to plan a Spring into Spring Challenge to encourage students to walk/bike to school more often. We have print-ready posters you can use to promote your events.

Walk, jog, skip, or bike to school as often as possible between Earth Day (22 April) and Clean Air Day (8 June).

Students who participate in Spring into Spring benefit from daily physical activity, a healthier environment, safer streets, and making friends and having fun.

Below are some terrific activity ideas for Spring into Spring events.

Get rolling during Bike to School Week

JOIN STUDENTS and teachers across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area in celebrating Bike to School Week, 30 May-3 June.

Register your school’s activities to support your EcoSchools and Healthy Schools programming, and to qualify for educational kits and incentives (while supplies last).

Incentives are available for events taking place between Monday 2 May and Saturday 11 June. Check out to register and for resources to help with planning and promoting school events. More ideas can be found in our Tips for Organizing Effective Bike Rodeos and Cycling Resource Manual.

We’d love to hear about your Bike to School Week events. Share your stories on social media using the hashtag #biketoschool or send them to for inclusion in the next edition of CANADA WALKS NEWS.

For inspiration, read about Odense, Denmark, where even five-year-olds bike to school.

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.

Make every day Earth Day

CELEBRATE EARTH Day (22 April) by cleaning your commute. Reducing vehicle use is one of the most important things you can do to mitigate climate change. Pledge to make every day earth day and reduce your carbon footprint by walking, rolling or riding to school.

New walking school buses on the way

OTTAWA'S INNOVATIVE Walking School Bus (WSB) program is set to expand. Thanks to new funding from the Healthy Kids Community Challenge four new WSBs will launch this month at Queen Elizabeth PS, Queen Mary PS, RE Wilson PS and Devonshire PS. This will bring the total number of daily WSBs in operation to 11 with several routes now fully subscribed with 20 registered walkers.

Ottawa is one of 45 communities across Ontario participating in the Challenge, a provincial initiative providing funding, training and social marketing supports to promote healthy eating, physical activity and healthy behaviours for children.

Building better and smarter suburbs and schools

THE CITY of Ottawa’s Building Better and Smarter Suburbs initiative includes some important changes that could help make new suburban schools more walk and wheel friendly for students. These include:
  • traffic calming features in new subdivisions
  • school bus loading zones located in the municipal right-of-way rather than school property
  • school buildings located closer to sidewalks and streets
  • new guidelines on street network design and school location
  • earlier input for  OC Transpo on bus routes and stop locations
For more info:

Have your say: active school travel policy 

THE OTTAWA Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) is seeking feedback on a draft School Active Transportation policy. When adopted, it will formalize OSTA’s commitment to provide services for students who walk, bike and roll to school. This represents a first in Canada for a school transportation consortium and its parent school boards. The brief on-line survey is available here.

Everybody get footloose

FOOTLOOSE FRIDAYS encourage students at St. Kevin’s Elementary School, Welland, ON to use foot power when travelling to school.

The initiative was started last year with the help of Niagara’s Safe Travel Plan Committee. Measures taken to make active transportation safer included speed limit reductions and parking restrictions during school hours, increasing the number of crossing guards, and asking police to monitor local traffic.

How safe are streets for seniors?

THE COUNCIL on Aging Ottawa conducted walkability and pedestrian safety audits in the winter, spring and fall of 2014-15. The result is An Age-Friendly Walkability Report: Safe Streets for Seniors and Other Valuable People in Ottawa.

An age-friendly focused audit checklist was developed and carried out in all seasons to assess the safety, accessibility, connectedness and comfort of pedestrians of all ages and people with disabilities and people who use mobility devices.

The report provides information on:
  • factors that put older adults and other vulnerable pedestrians at risk
  • policies and plans that affect pedestrian safety and walkability
  • ways to improve pedestrian safety

Walking and cycling connections

THE UPPER Grand District School Board (Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph) is working with Township of Centre Wellington staff to improve connections between neighbourhoods for pedestrians and cyclists by means of sidewalks, trails, cycling routes and parks. Schools in Fergus, Elora and Salem are key community features being examined in the review. The Township’s aim is to manage and upgrade infrastructure assets in an environmentally responsible way.

Fresh air and fun

VALLEY PARK Middle School, Toronto, ON, video-taped its celebration of Winter Walk Day 2016. Many classes headed down into the valley for a walking break during the school day.

Walking College fellowships available

THE WALKING College is an on-line, interactive educational program offered by America Walks. Open to Canadians, walkable community advocates are encouraged to apply for one of the 25 fellowships to be awarded this spring. Areas covered by the curriculum include the science behind the benefits of walking, how to evaluate the built environment, fostering a local advocacy movement with diverse stakeholders, and effective engagement with decision-makers.

Online registration is open until 15 April.

WALK 21 - putting people first

IN HIGH density cities like Hong Kong walking is challenging, but essential for moving a large number of people within a limited space. And as the world becomes more urbanized many more cities will face similar challenges.

The 17th annual Walk21 Conference takes place in Hong Kong, October 2016 and will explore four themes:
  • walking between layers: creating a walkable environment in vertical cities
  • walking with multiple benefits: creating an age-friendly, socially inclusive, safe, low-carbon and resilient environment
  • walking smart: using information and technology to enhance walking
  • walking together: nurturing partnerships and dialogue among policy makers, business leaders, local communities and stakeholders.

Annual Ontario Bike Summit

WHAT'S NEXT for Cycling is theme of the 8th annual Ontario Bike Summit, 19-20 April, Toronto, ON. The summit features best practices, workshops, an open space session on growing cycling in rural areas and the north, and awards reception. Full agenda and registration 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.

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.