News from Canada's walking movement.
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October 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: 

It’s finally here –  October is IWALK Month

JOIN STUDENTS and families across Canada to celebrate International Walk to School Month (IWALK) in October. International Walk to School Day is Wednesday 5 October. 

Register your school’s IWALK event and receive a Certificate of Participation from Canada Walks.

We have ideas and resources to help you plan and promote your IWALK events. Click here.

School Travel Planning is more than just walking to school

by Laura Zeglen, School Travel Plan Facilitator
IN EARLY  2016, Canada Walks and Metrolinx began the School Travel Planning in Transit Construction Zones Initiative. This pilot project explores how best to engage school communities in creating solutions to construction-related impacts on school travel.

In addition to facilitating school travel, the project has also resulted in transportation benefits for the wider community. When construction around one school led to bus delays, a student suggested a new bus route that would avoid construction-related traffic and provide a more long-term travel option for students without easy access to public transit. The City is now considering the route as a way to make the community less car-dependent.

The project has also highlighted how poorly-equipped construction sites are for people with mobility devices. This feedback is being used to improve accessibility for pedestrians in construction zones across the city.

Waterloo invests in a permanent School Travel Planner

THE CITIES of Kitchener and Waterloo, the Waterloo Region District School Board, and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board have hired a full-time School Travel Planner to address their combined needs.

“I am thrilled with my appointment to this crucial position after working with Canada Walks on the Mobility, Health and Happiness pilot project” says School Travel Planner Leslie Maxwell. “The project showed that a focused effort with support from many stakeholders is essential to creating an environment where the walk to school is an easy choice. The potential here is extraordinary.”

In addition to supporting and identifying STP schools, Maxwell will review school and municipal policies and procedures to identify any that discourage or impede active transportation, and recommend changes. Maxwell will also create a communications strategy, plan supplemental tools for the implementation of STP, and forge new community connections.

Making history: from busing to transportation

IN APRIL, 2016 the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) made history when it approved an active transportation policy. This is a first not only for OSTA but also for school transportation consortia in Ontario (and quite possibly Canada). The policy broadens OSTA’s definition of transportation to include students who live within a school’s walk zone as well as those eligible for busing. It also commits the organization to support programs and services that foster active transportation, including School Travel Planning and the Walking School Bus. GCC commends OSTA and its parent school boards for its vision and leadership and for setting an example for other school boards and their transportation services. 

Guide to safer streets near schools

A NEW resource helps schools and residents improve traffic safety in their neighbourhoods. The Guide to Safer Streets Near Schools: Understanding Your Policy Options in the City of Toronto complements the recently released Road Safety Plan by the City of Toronto. 
The guide is available as a PDF for download from, along with a web version that includes downloadable templates and samples from the accompanying toolkit.
The guide is the result of a project by Green Communities Canada in partnership with Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, University of Toronto School of the Environment, Toronto Public Health, Toronto District School Board, and CultureLink Settlement & Community Services. It was funded by the Healthier Cities and Communities Hub Seed Grant initiative, a consortium of three funding partners: Toronto Public Health, The Wellesley Institute and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. It was also supported by Mitacs through the Mitacs-Accelerate Program.

Crossovers improve some routes to school

THE CITY of Ottawa launched a three-year effort to install up to 180 new Pedestrian Crossovers (PXOs). PXOs are designated areas where walkers can cross the street and vehicles must yield the right of way. For use on low-speed roads, low-medium volume intersections, mid-block, and at roundabouts, they’re identified by specific signs, pavement markings and, in some cases, pedestrian-activated flashing beacons. See examples here. The first round of PXOs have been installed. Suggestions for additional locations can be made by contacting 

Community-based social marketing for active transportation

KING COUNTY Metro Transit, Seattle, Washington is using community-based social marketing techniques to persuade commuters to drive less. Motivational messages, commitments, rewards, and engaging materials encourage transit use, ridesharing, cycling, and walking.

A 60-minute webinar explains the process. Presented by the International Social Marketing Association (iSMA), the webinar is available free for download to iSMA members. Memberships information here.

Walking and social justice 

AMERICA'S EVERY Body Walk! Collaborative has developed a Social Justice Toolkit giving the walking movement resources and guides to foster equity, fairness, and justice within communities.
The toolkit includes:

  • research linking walking and walkability efforts to the promotion of equity and social justice
  • communications tools and resources broken down by focus areas including safety, health, and community engagement
  • tools to recognize individual biases and ways to effectively assess their impact on work

Sync your fitness tracker to the Walktober challenge

WALK ON, Victoria is hosting Walktober, a region-wide walking challenge that allows walkers to use their fitness tracking devices (including the smartphone app) to face off against local personalities or reach a daily challenge goal for a draw-prize entry.

Walktober aims to raise the profile of walkability issues in the Capital Regional District by celebrating walking as a healthy, sustainable form of transportation.

Participants can go to to sync their device, or for help in logging steps manually.

Walking in the 'burbs

A NEW report explores the benefits of transit-oriented communities as walkable, safe neighbourhoods that can increase mobility choices and improve housing affordability. Suburbs on Track, a project of the Ryerson City Building Institute and Ontario Home Builder’s Association, includes recommendations on how to build better neighbourhoods along transit lines and around stations that will maximize transit investments.
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 Kate Berry to learn more.

Our partners

Green Communities’ Canada Walks is a member of the International Federation of Pedestrians  | 
Copyright © 2016 Green Communities Canada, All rights reserved.

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Canada Walks is a department of Green Communities Canada.