Walkolution News - November 2013  
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WFOWalk Friendly ON
Ontario's first WALK Friendly Community designations awarded at provincial healthy communities conference in Toronto
It is with great pride that we announce the first five Ontario municipalities to be awarded WALK Friendly designations:

Silver designation: City of Ottawa and City of Hamilton

Bronze designation: Town of Richmond Hill, City of London and Town of Wasaga Beach


"We offer our congratulations to all of the communities that have achieved a designation and hope that the recognition they receive will inspire further action, and a little healthy competition, to create a culture of walking in cities and towns across the province," said WALK Friendly Ontario program manager Kate Hall.


The designation application requires communities to report their progress on more than 200 key walkability indicators including sidewalk policies and networks of connected walking infrastructure, progressive design standards, street festivals, public art, staff training, and citizen engagement to name just a few of the criteria. All applications are reviewed and scored by Canada Walks' panel of experts.  


"Walkable communities contribute significantly to healthy and active lifestyles for Ontarians of all ages and abilities," said Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. "What's more, offering welcoming, walkable routes give residents and visitors alike unique ways to explore and experience communities all across the province."


The awards were presented at HC Link's conference, Linking for Healthy Communities: Collaborating for Change, where more than 150 participants from across Ontario gathered to learn new strategies and strengthen networks that support healthy communities.   


We thank the Ontario government and the Metcalf Foundation who generously provided funds for this initiative. Applications will be accepted for the 2014 designations in February-March and in August-September. The Application Guide to help communities prepare is available at www.walkfriendly.ca.



International Walk to School celebrations in Ontario



St. Marguerite d'Youville, Hamilton - 

We LOVE to Move! for IWALK

St. Marguerite d'Youville put their heart in their IWALK event on Oct. 9 with more than 500 students and staff walking or wheeling to promote healthy and strong bodies.





Be part of the conversation - use hashtags #walktoschool and #biketoschool to share your IWALK experiences and post your stories on the Smart Commute and Canada Walks Facebook pages.




Schools and active school travel practitioners can also support ParticipACTION's Park the Car, It's Not That Far campaign, one of the actions resulting from the 2013 Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card where Canadian children and youth were assigned a D for Active 

Use hashtag #parkthecar to participate in the conversation. See ParticipACTION's Facebook page and Twitter to follow the campaign and to participate.
London's Walk to School Program helping to create walkable neighbourhoods
London's Mayor Joe Fontana participated in a Walking School Bus (WSB) on IWALK Day: "This walk is exactly what the city needs," Fontana said. "We want a walkable city, we want walkable neighbourhoods, we want to promote active living and we want parents to feel their children are safe on their walk to school." This WSB is one of three at Lorne Avenue Public School, organized through London Block Parent® Walking School Bus Program and the London Active & Safe Routes to School initiative. Joining Mayor Fontana was School Trustee Matt Reid: "I love being able to support volunteers who are helping make sure our kids get to school safely and on time." Across town the Old South Community Association (OSCO), in partnership with ASRTS and the Middlesex-London Health Unit, organized a special IWALK event for neighbourhood schools in the Wortly neighbourhood GreenSPACE. Three local schools attended the event that featured games, snacks and local athletes to share their commitment to physical activity. The children presented skits on physical activity as a celebration of IWALK, and London's In Motion October challenge team was in attendance. OSCO is a strong supporter of walkable neighbourhoods and are planning a Winter Walk Day event with the local schools in February.       


Toronto French School embraces active school travel

TFS - Canada's International School is a bilingual, coeducational and non-denominational independent school for students from age 2 to university entrance. TFS has a conscientious Eco-Council, comprised of parents, students, teachers and staff. Early 2013, TFS' Toronto campus successfully launched an Active Transportation campaign with a very chilly Winter Walk Day. Interest and awareness quickly increased and in the spring, Walking Wednesdays was introduced; scores of students either walked, cycled or scootered to school. This year, TFS' Eco-Council will include metrics behind their campaign and start to track how many students are using active transportation, which will, in turn, earn them 'house points' for their efforts.                                                                                                                                                        

TFS Mascot Tuff welcoming walkers
October 9, 2013, TFS hosted its first annual
International Walk to School Day.Its success generated high participation and noticeably quieter parking lots and traffic.  The TFS community is very aware of their carbon footprint. Having passed the Ontario EcoSchool certification and receiving Gold standing in the spring of 2013, it's no surprise their level of commitment. Two senior school students undertook a 9km walk; a Grade 2 class met at a local park and walked to school together and many families either biked or walked together for the first time.



Welcome table highlighting international IWALK event
TFS' Junior School principal, Mme Kay Scarlett, led an active transportation themed assembly that highlighted the benefits of personal health and the effects on the environment. She inspired her Grades 2 - 5 audiences, with a powerful message that included fascinating videos that underlined the day's international theme.  Showcasing contrasting habits of North American families, who typically drive to school, with underdeveloped countries where eager school children must endure long and quite often, dangerous journeys - truly struck a chord with students and generated further discussion.

Southwood Park's Walk and Wheel Wall
Southwood Park Public School in Ajax kicked off a year of ASRTS on IWALK Day. The initiative is supported by the Town of Ajax as part of their active transportation 
strategy. Southwood Park students are looking forward to the next challenge in November when they will be creating active travel themed posters.


During IWALK month we encouraged schools to track their active travel kilometres using the ischooltravel calculator. The calculator helps students understand the impact of their family's travel choices and determines how many calories they burned, the cost of fuel saved, as well as greenhouse gas emissions avoided. This tool is a great way to empower students to make a difference in their world.

English calculator 

French calculator



Active School Travel Gets Important Boosts in Ottawa
Last month saw two important boosts for active school travel in the nation's capital:

  • On October 3 the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority (OSTA) along with the Ottawa-Carleton District and Ottawa Catholic school boards, signed a school active travel charter. It represents a first step in the creation of a new School Active Transportation Support Network, created to boost walking and cycling, in collaboration with the two school boards, OSTA, the City of Ottawa and Green Communities Canada (GCC). Great coverage in the Ottawa Citizen.
Students Jamie McWilliam (left) and Sasha Rogers share stories about why they like to walk to school 

during the signing ceremony for Ottawa's active school travel charter

From left to right: Mark Mullan, Chair, Ottawa Catholic school board; Vicky Kyriaco, General Manager, Ottawa Student Transportation Authority; Jennifer McKenzie, Chair, Ottawa-Carleton Distribt school board; Walter Piovesan, Associate Director of Education, Ottawa-Carleton District school board.



Vaughan Active Routes are the Way to Go! Program Engineering Initiatives 

Prior to the opening of the new St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Elementary School in September 2012, staff at the City of Vaughan worked with various partners to develop a school travel planning pilot, called Active Routes are the Way to Go! As part of this pilot, staff developed an action plan consisting of various soft initiatives to encourage walking and cycling, including Walking Wednesdays. Engineering staff contributed to the pilot with funding for hard initiatives, including new road safety signs and pavement markings to encourage motorists to slow down and remind pedestrians to be more aware when crossing the road. Staff organized a colouring contest with the school children to design the sign. Students were asked to use messages such as: "WATCH FOR CHILDREN"; "PLEASE DRIVE SLOWLY"; or "GO SLOW". The winning entry was enlarged to create two 60cm x 75cm reflective signs. No regulatory signs were removed. To complement the new signs, engineering staff installed diagonal pavement markings and the words "SLOW DOWN" in front of the school. Traffic in the kiss and ride has already been reduced by 108 cars before the morning bell due to the soft school travel planning initiatives. Staff will also be monitoring traffic speeds following the installation of pavement markings to determine whether vehicular speeds have been reduced.


New road safety sign (June 2013)
New pavement markings and road safety sign (November 2013)
New diagonal pavement markings (November 2013)



Transportation Association of Canada's (TAC) 
2013 Sustainable Urban Transportation Award 
has been awarded to the Stepping It Up school travel planning project, a collaboration of Metrolinx, Green Communities, City of Hamilton, Region of Peel and the University of Toronto. Project Manager Jennifer Lay of Metrolinx attended the TAC conference to personally receive the award on behalf of the Stepping It Up team. The Stepping It Up school travel planning project, 2009-2011, worked with 30 schools, 3 school boards, and a host of community stakeholders.





Reminder: Canada's Favourite Crossing Guard: Do you know a crossing guard in your area who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help children get to school safely? Enter him or her in "Canada's Favourite Crossing Guard Contest," run by Parachute, a national charity dedicated to preventing injury and saving lives, and FedEx Express Canada. The winning crossing guards will receive $500 and an engraved plaque and the school will receive $500. Applications accepted until November 22, 2013



York Region's ASRTS launches a new campaign: Heading to School? Walk Safe. Drive Safe. Be SafeLearn more by watching their video and visiting their website.   

Ottawa's New Transportation Plan Endorses Complete Streets Ottawa
The City of Ottawa has tabled a new draft Transportation Master Plan that, if approved in December, will see it join a growing list of Canadian municipalities that are adopting a Complete Streets policy for road design, operation and maintenance. It includes a commitment to revise road design guidelines and standards to incorporate Complete Streets principles.



Share the Road Cycling Coalition held Ontario's first Youth Bike Summit in Toronto, October 6-7. Attended by 80 high school students, teachers and transportation professionals from across the province, participants were treated to keynote addresses from Ontario Minister of Transportation Glen Murray, motivational speaker Kelly Lovell, and Toronto

Youth Bike Summit Co-chairs Akehil Johnson and Justice Betty
Councilor Mike Layton. They learned about Toronto's Central Commerce Collegiate's for-credit bike maintenance course, and experienced an interactive advocacy training workshop facilitated by Brown & Cohen Communications and Public Affairs Inc. The 'Youth Agenda for a Bicycle-Friendly Ontario' was released by the youth leaders at a reception held at Queen's Park and attended by 20 MPPs, Minister Murray and members of the Provincial Cycling Causus.



 Share the Road thanks the Heart & Stroke Foundation, the Canadian Automobile Association, the Co-operators, the City of Toronto, the Trillium Foundation, Mountain Equipment Co-op, JoyRide150, Cervelo and Les Domestiques for their generous support of the Youth Bike SummitTwitter @YouthCycleON and @STRCanada.




If you missed our September 25 webinar Bikeability for School Children, you can listen to the archive. You can access the projects presented:


Talking Walking is celebrating its fifth anniversary; 45 interviews related to walking have been recorded and published to date. To celebrate its fifth year Talking Walking is asking walking advocates for their 5-year outlook for walking - listen to the podcasts here. Canada Walks' Jacky Kennedy recently recorded her forecast for walking/walkability in Canada.


Walk Ottawa launches 'ghost pedestrians':
Similar to 'ghost bikes' that memorialize the death of cyclists, the 'walk' symbol is being used to mark locations where pedestrians have been killed.


The Province of Alberta's'Strategic Approach to Wellness' was showcased at the close of the International Wellness for Life Conference held in Lake Louise, AB, Oct. 1-2. Alberta Health Services featured their 'WalkABle Alberta' program, resulting from the 2011 Walkability Roadshow developed in partnership with Canada Walks and Walk21.



 UWALK.ca is an Alberta-wide initiative that aims to increase the physical activity of Albertans. Developed by the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta and funded by the Government of Alberta. UWALK.ca is fun, free and interactive!


Documentary Car Less In Calgary premiered this fall - watch the trailer, rent or own here.


Check out Jeff Speck's Ted Talk; Jeff is the author of The Walkable City, detailing the health, economic, and environmental reasons to make our cities walkable.


Dr. Michael Evans' video on the dangers of 'sitting disease' and how to 'tweak the week' with life enhancing actions like walking. 

International inspiration for walking:
  • Measuring walking is a challenge for municipalities but we must start to do a much better job - after all, if we don't measure something can we say it really exists? Australia's Victoria Walks has recently released a series of super documents as part of an online toolkit Smart Steps for Councils. Measuring Walking: A Guide for Councils provides straightforward advice on when to measure, how to measure, and how to use the measurements to increase walking as a transportation mode share. The document sits aside Developing a Walking Strategy: A Guide for Councils. We encourage Canadian municipal officials to check these out and adapt for your local needs.
  • Walk21 Munich 2013 conference presentations and photos are now online www.walk21munich.com.




Winter Walk Day - February 5, 2014

  Tips for keeping warm and being seen on colder and darker winter days: 
  • Keep hands and head covered to prevent heat loss
  • On really cold days cover your face and mouth with a scarf, neck warmer or balaclava
  • Wear warm, waterproof boots
  • Wear a warm coat that deflects the wind or alternately layer clothes underneath a warm, windproof coat
  • Woolen or synthetic fleece clothing helps to retain the heat
  • Wear clothing or carry knapsacks with reflective material - it's important to be seen
  • If possible, change wet clothes at school - tuck an extra pair of socks and mitts into knapsacks
  • Below -25oC is considered too cold for walking so move your walk in-doors or select another day for outdoor activities or walking to school
Posters and printable images are available here.

Canada Walks can help you meet your walkability goalsWalkabilitygoals
We offer a full range of workshops and consulting services to help you:




You can find out more information about our services here or contact us for details.


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


Incentive items for active school travel initiatives can be ordered through M.P. Russo & Associates www.mprusso.com. 
Let them know you heard of them through us! 




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