News from Canada's walking movement.
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November 2015

WELCOME to CANADA WALKS NEWS, featuring updates and resources from our own work and Canada’s growing national movement for walking. Got news? Let us know ... Subscribe, and share with a friend.
Canada Walks is a department of Green Communities Canada. See our websites: 


Jacky Kennedy receives Andante Award

JACKY KENNEDY, director of Canada Walks, was recently recognized with an Andante Award at the WALK21 Vienna conference. Organizers recognised Jacky's extraordinary contributions to the walking movement with a specially commissioned bronze statue based on the original "Walking Man" by Alberto Giacometti. The statue is also known colloquially as Andante, from the Italian "to walk" and used in music to describe tempo and movement. 

“It was such an honour to be recognized by one’s peers in front of so many. It reinforces the lasting friendships that develop amongst people coming together with a common goal—to create great walkable places,” says Jacky.
Three other key individuals were awarded Andante awards: Daniel Sauter, Urban Mobility Research, Switzerland; Ole Thorson,
INTRA Ingeniería de Tráfico SL., Barcelona; and Rodney Tolley, WALK21 Conference Director.
From left to right: Jim Walker, Chair, WALK21; Jacky Kennedy, Canada Walks; Ole Thorson, INTRA Ingeniería de Tráfico SL., Barcelona; Rodney Tolley, Conference Director, WALK21; Daniel Sauter, Urban Mobility Research, Switzerland; and Bronwen Thornton, Development Director, Walk21.

A great month for IWALK

ANOTHER OCTOBER has come and gone, and with it another successful IWALK month. Schools from across the province participated in the annual event, with support spreading to social media where the hashtag #IWALK was trending on Twitter throughout the day on 7 October.

King Edward Public School, in Toronto, celebrated IWALK-IWHEEL Day for the second time this year. Students who arrived by walking and wheeling were greeted by teachers with stickers and Principal Mrs. Moulton standing with a cart full of granola bars and juice boxes.
Students receiving stickers from Principal Moulton.
At the beginning of IWALK Week, Rolph Road Elementary School, also in Toronto, held an assembly where Principal Michael Kennedy announced the start of the school year’s IWALK Wednesdays. IWALK day saw many students walking, scootering, and biking to school where they were greeted with stickers and bookmarks distributed by the IWALK Committee and the Eco Club. Police officers monitored traffic, and reminded parents who drive about the importance of making safer environments for students to walk and wheel to school.

Students from Rolph Road Elementary School participating in IWALK-IWHEEL.
This year's International Walk to School month was marked by several firsts in Ottawa.

Mayor Jim Watson officially proclaimed 5-9 October as IWALK Week in the City of Ottawa, recognizing that "walking to school models healthy lifestyles for children, raising the next generation of pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users."

As part of a new IWALK-IWHEEL Challenge created by Ottawa Public Health and Green Communities Canada, schools across the city were encouraged to host an active transportation event during the month and then enter a draw. Prizes included a class set of pedometers, a bike rack, and family swim passes. Twenty-five schools participated.

On 7 October, Mayor Watson, Ottawa Catholic School Board Chair Elaine McMahon, Councillor Michael Qaqish, and others, joined staff and students at St. Jerome School to mark IWALK Day and celebrate recent School Travel Planning successes in Riverside South, including a new 40 km/h speed zone on Spratt Rd. Watch the video.
Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Michael Qaqish enjoy the walk to school.
(Photo credit: Ottawa Public Health)
Halton District School Board recently passed a Board motion renewing its commitment to Active and Sustainable Transportation. This October, more than 65% of elementary schools participated in IWALK-IWHEEL and more than 20,000 stickers were distributed to students promoting IWALK month. On 7 October, the City of Burlington was on hand at Charles R Beaudoin PS to promote safe ways to walk and wheel to school. Beaudoin was just one of many Halton schools celebrating International Walk to School Day.
Students from the Halton region show off their IWALK gear.

Lisa Brown, Vice-Principal at Charles R. Beaudoin PS, said the school was proud to participate in the 2015 event: "Charles R. Beaudoin has been promoting the use of active transportation and using safe routes to school. Alongside members from the City of Burlington, we celebrated IWALK with students and congratulated those who chose to bike, walk, or wheel to school. Active transportation promotes healthy living and gets the brain activated for learning."

Alejandra, a Grade 7 student at Charles R Beaudoin, rode her bike on IWALK-IWHEEL day, as she said she usually does, and finds it fun, "It's nice not to always use cars."
Students from schools across the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph region celebrated IWALK Day by sharing photos of their walk on Twitter and Instagram for the region’s first ever Walk to School Day Photo Contest.
One of the winning photo entries.
At Glenbrook Elementary School in Shelburne, County Dufferin, students enjoyed IWALK day on a frosty late October morning. The event was organised by the school’s Parent Council and saw 280 students (70% of enrolment) walking to school. All were rewarded with crispy apples on arrival in the school yard. A hands-up travel survey carried out by teachers and students showed that the event encouraged an extra 20% more walkers than usual for the school.

IWALK survey shows interest in AST

CANADA WALKS recently conducted an IWALK Feedback survey where respondents were asked about local participation in IWALK events, usefulness of resources, among other questions. While the survey response rate was lower than expected, the completed surveys offer useful information about active transportation in schools.

The survey shows that a quarter of respondents (25%) participated in IWALK events for the first time this year, showing growth potential. In most of the schools, well over half of the students participated. Encouragingly, more 68.75% of the schools hold regular walk/wheel to school events, such as "Footloose Fridays", Winter Walk Day, Walking Wednesdays, and other
monthly walking events.

About 40% of schools said they would register for the IWALK-IWHEEL club. Half of the respondents said they found the web-based IWALK resources and IWALK stickers useful. Students love those IWALK stickers!

Walk21 conference delivers a wealth of information

CANADA WALKS Director Jacky Kennedy attended the Walk21 conference in Vienna 20-23 October, along with approximately 600 other delegates from around the globe. Jacky reports: "The conference took place at the Rathaus (Vienna City Hall), a stunningly beautiful building that adds to the sense that Vienna is a lovely walking city. Cars drive at 30 km/hour, cyclists pedal along on well-marked bike lanes, and walkers are respected. Public transit is extremely easy to navigate from the airport right to the heart of the city. Vienna has all the right ingredients to be considered the world’s most livable city."
"A half-day pre-conference workshop on active school travel was hosted by the Swiss Association transports et environnement. The workshop included presentations on programs from Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Italy, Canada, and India. We learned that the traffic safety barriers faced by children in western countries are far removed from the experiences of children in India and Africa."
"There was a presentation from HealthBridge’s partners for Livable Cities, and a wealth of information shared from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Niger, Uganda, and Tanzania.

The participants agreed to stay connected. There are plans to share European active school travel projects through an upcoming webinar - watch for this in January. A video by the European Commission has been made available. For those interested in further knowledge sharing, a forum has been created for the active school travel network."

Daniel Sauter, with Urban Mobility Research, Switzerland, launched the Walking Data Standards document. This is the culmination of his work over several years with international partners to create a comprehensive measuring tool that will complement the principles of the International Charter for Walking.

New to Walk21 this year were the Walking Visionary awards created to highlight new and innovative ways to promote walking and walkability.

Walk21 2016 will take place in Hong Kong. Visit for details to come soon.

IFP holds AGM   

THE INTERNATIONAL Federation of Pedestrians (IFP) held its annual general assembly at the WALK21 Vienna conference where Green Communities/Canada Walks is a member of the board. Learn more about IFP work and projects by visiting the IFP website. Like the new IFP Facebook page.

Mood Walks call for expressions now open

MOOD WALKS is an Ontario-wide initiative that promotes physical activity in nature, or “green exercise,” as a way to improve both physical and mental health. The project is moving to the next phase with Mood Walks for Youth in Transition, which supports youth experiencing or at risk of mental health issues.

A call for expressions of interest to participate in Mood Walks for Youth in Transition is open until 30 November. Learn more about the initiative and how to apply.

Mood Walks is led by CMHA Ontario, in partnership with Hike Ontario and Conservation Ontario, and provides training and support for community mental health agencies, social service organizations, and other community partners to launch educational hiking programs, connect with local resources, find volunteers, and explore nearby trails and green spaces.

WHO releases report on global road safety

THE WORLD Health Organization has released the official monitoring tool of the Decade of Action for Road Safety, the Global Status Report on Road Safety 2015.

The report shows that while there has been progress towards improving legislation and in making vehicles safer, the pace of change is too slow. Read more.

NEATwalks get newcomers exploring

NEATWALKS ARE organized to encourage newcomers to Canada to get acquainted with their city, and to meet new people.

NEAT (Newcomers Explore and Appreciate Toronto) is part of a mentorship program at CultureLink, which connects newcomers with long-term Canadians.
The focus of NEAT is to learn about Toronto, explore it by walking, and experience with others in the form of guided tours. In the past few months, NEAT walks all around Toronto have focused on education, history, architecture, and nature.

Visit the NEATwalks website for some "winteraction" walks (exploring the PATH, hiking, tobogganing, skating, ice-fest, etc.) January through March.

CultureLink is a non-profit organization providing services to immigrants and refugees since 1988.

Complete Streets Forum: another successful event

CANADA WALKS was well represented at the recent 8th Annual Complete Streets Forum hosted by the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation on 1 October.

Katie Wittmann of Green Communities Canada and York University student Brandon Quigley, took participants on a speedy (and humorous) journey through Toronto’s warrant system for traffic calming and 30 km/hr limits. The two highlighted the many bureaucratic steps it takes to work through the process to request speed limit reductions or traffic calming treatments.

Kate Hall, WALK Friendly Manager, presented findings from two research projects. Canada Walks partnered with Ryerson University and the Canadian Automobile Association to conduct the surveys. Read more about the results.


  • Vision Zero: the road to safer streets. Canadian Urban Institute. Thursday, 3 December, 8-10:30. Gladstone Hotel, Toronto. Vision Zero, which originated in Sweden can be summarized in one sentence: No loss of life is acceptable. This event, held in partnership with Business Sweden, the Embassy of Sweden, and Vision Zero Initiative, will highlight the success of this approach and its potential in Canadian cities. Register 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.

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Canada Walks is a department of Green Communities Canada.