Walkolution News - June 2014  
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Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation
Canada's new anti-spam legislation comes into effect at the beginning of July and will require Canada Walks to collect express consent from everyone who receives our newsletters  (WALK Friendly Ontario, Walkolution News) and other e-communication. We'd hate to lose you as a subscriber! Please watch for an email coming from us requesting your consent to continue to receive the Walkolution News.
  • Community Profiles for each of our award recipients are now accessible on our website. Each profile highlights some of the progressive things that these municipal and community partners are doing to create safe and enjoyable places to walk.
  • Join Canada Walks for an informative presentation from three WALK Friendly Community award recipients about their Pedestrian Plans:  
June 26th, 2014

1:00-2:30 ET

Click  here to register.

Contact Tanya Stuart for more information.

  • WALK Friendly Community applications are being invited until September 30th. It takes a community to be walk friendly. Get your team together and start your application today! Download the Application Guide to help you prepare your community's submission.

Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card - Another Low Grade for Active TransportationAHKC 

Canadian children are sitting more and doing less. So says the recently released Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card, which looks at the physical activity of Canadian children and youth -- and for the first time -- compared it with 14 other countries. The 2014 Active Healthy Kids CanadaReport Card: Is Canada in the Running? shows that Canada's Overall Physical Activity levels are at a D-.


And when it comes to Active Transportation, Canadian kids aren't faring much better. The grade, which is measured by how many children and youth are walking to/from school, remains a D (and is also informed by the decline in active transportation to/from school over the last decade).  

  • 62% of Canadian parents say their kids aged 5-17 years are always driven to and from school (by car, bus, transit, etc.).42
  • Between 2000 and 2010, the percentage of children and youth using only inactive modes of transportation to/from school increased from 51% to 62% (2010 PAM, CFLRI). 42
  • In another survey, 58% of parents reported that they walked to school when they were children, compared with only 28% of their children today. Conversely, 13% of parents reported being driven to school as children, compared with 41% of their children. 43 


For most Canadians, the socially acceptable walking distance to school is less than 1.6 km, and distance between home and school is the single-most reported reason why kids do not walk or bike to get there.69,82 In Finland, however, 74% of children who live between 1-3 km from school use active transport, and nearly all children living 1 km or less from their school commute actively. Finland is a world leader with a B in Active Transportation, in part because its social norms differ dramatically.


As a country, Canadians value efficiency -- doing more in less time -- which may be at direct odds with promoting children's health. We have engineered opportunities for spontaneous movement out of our kids' daily lives (such as getting to places on foot and playing outdoors), and have tried to compensate with organized activities such as dance recitals, soccer leagues, and PE classes.  


To increase daily physical activity levels for all kids, we must encourage the accumulation of physical activity throughout a child's day, and consider a mix of opportunities -- including active transportation, active play, and sport. In some cases, we may need to step back and do less. Developed societies such as Canada must acknowledge that children need room to move.


Full references can be found in the long form of the Report Card.
For details on the 14 participating countries and results from the Global Summit on Physical Activity for Children: http://journals.humankinetics.com/jpah-supplements-special-issues/jpah-volume-11-2014-global-summit-on-the-physical-activity-of-children.
Spring into Spring InspirationSpringintoSpring

In our March issue we reported on an exciting School Travel Planning project at
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School
and King Edward Junior and Senior Public School in Toronto. The two schools have continued to implement many of the actions identified through the school travel planning process and things have wrapped up with inspiring spring active travel events. This project is made possible with funds provided through the Heart and Stroke Foundation and RioCan.


Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School: A unique neighbourhood walkabout was conducted in May with four Grade 5 students acting as 'walk leaders' to the school's STP committee. Along the way, the students identified what they perceive as active transportation barriers and supports, including the impact litter has on their experience with the neighbourhood, and their fears of people who loiter on park benches, resulting in the need to choose a longer route to school.  One student, Samson, noted: "We have an awesome community but people are using what we have wrongly. I want a fresh community." The adult committee members have definitely seen the advantages of empowering the students in this way, as evidenced by the issues identified. The students also provided great ideas on how they would improve their neighbourhood: acting as walking buddies to help younger students walk to school, displaying posters/signs to discourage littering, and advertising upcoming walk to school days using sidewalk chalk. As student Ralph stated, "I would be happy if things were cleaner. It would have good vibes!" Plans are underway to provide support for the students to take action and it is hoped this will continue next school year.   




King Edward Junior and Senior Public School: A fabulous bike rodeo was held at the school in partnership with students and staff from the Central Commerce Collegiate Bike Program.  An impressive 85 students biked to school that day and participated in bike skills and safety workshops, while high school students from Central Commerce tuned up every bike, and students without a bike learned about bike safety and rules of the road.  Police officers from 14 Division stopped by to promote safety and the Toronto Police Bike Registry program.  All students who rode to school that day received a reflector/light, and Helmets on Kids Campaign and McLeish Orlando LLP donated twenty helmets to be raffled off. It was a day of firsts, as student Sophie learned to ride her bike during the rodeo! "The school hopes this is the beginning of an annual event that will, in the long run, encourage our students to ride to school more frequently," noted King Edward Principal Moulton.  


School Travel Planning in CalgarySchoolTravel

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, with funds from RioCan, is working with SHAPE Alberta to implement School Travel Planning at two Calgary schools. The schools, Colonel J. Scott School and Scenic Acres School, are well on their way to creating their travel action plans.


The contributions of Heart and Stroke Foundation and RioCan are helping to increase active and safe travel to school for children in these urban environments and we greatly appreciate their commitment to children's health and mobility.



100+ students, parents, and staff at Ecole John English Junior Middle School celebrated Bike to School Day on May 26.   

The bike racks were filled beyond capacity for Bike to School Day! Safe biking to school continues to be a wonderful form of exercise and healthy activity that is encouraged for all students. During the week leading up to the Bike to School Day, students had an opportunity to learn about safe biking techniques and how to ensure their bikes were safe for the road. Students without a bike also had the chance to win a bike by submitting an essay stating why they need a bike and the benefits of biking. Thanks to the wonderful support of an anonymous donor and the Queensway Canadian Tire location, three lucky students were given a bike to enjoy during the warm weather of the summer months to come.


On a very sad note, one of the most ardent supporters of cycling to school, parent and cycling advocate Jim Carr, passed away at age 53. As a tribute to him, local cyclists are raising funds and donating a bike rack to the school. Jim would have appreciated it. Trustee Pamela Gough noted that Jim first introduced her to Safe Routes to School in Etobicoke Lakeshore and facilitated her understanding of active transportation issues. Her involvement in developing the TDSB's Charter for Active Transportation and Bike to School Day was a direct result of that early gesture on Jim's part. Pamela has dedicated her latest e-newsletter, which contains a report on operationalizing Safe and Sustainable Active Transportation to 586 TDSB schools, to Jim's memory. He has shown us the power of one to change an entire city. 


Reproduced from the John English Public School newsletter, and Trustee Pamela Gough's newsletter, with permission.


Region of Waterloo ASRTS Sign & Sidewalk Paint Pilot Project asrtswaterloo

With the financial assistance of the Cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, the Region of Waterloo's Active & Safe Routes to School (ASRTS) committee is piloting a project that aims to encourage elementary school students to walk and bike to school -- and have fun doing so.


The project involves the installation of signs indicating the school name and the estimated time it takes to walk or bike there. Signs will be placed at strategic locations, approximately 400 meters from the schools. This will help parents and students realize that the school is accessible by walking or biking in a matter of minutes.                                                  



Let's bring back play! For the 8 pilot schools in the City of Waterloo, the project also includes sidewalk and pathway markings that encourage play on the way to school. Games, like hopscotch, and challenges, like "walk, skip, run," guide students to their schools. These markings can also be used after school and on weekends. For 2014, a total of 12 schools are involved - 8 in Waterloo and 4 in Kitchener. Sidewalks were painted in May and June and signs will be installed in Waterloo before the end of June and for September in Kitchener. Excitement is building -- the kids (even some Grade 8 boys) could hardly wait for the paint to dry!


A full communication strategy to support this project will be launched in September. Pre- and post-installation survey results will be used to gauge the level of success and interest in expanding to additional schools in 2015. More information to come!  


Kingston area schools encouraged to Walk, Run, Bike, Bus to School Kingston   
KFL&A Public Health is promoting a series of special event days for all Kingston schools to support students actively travelling to school while connecting active transportation with positive effects on the environment. The goal of Walk, Cycle, Take the Bus to School...Leave the Car Behind is to increase the number of students walking, cycling, or bussing to school while connecting to principles about supporting the environment. 


Children and staff who live within the walking boundaries were encouraged to either walk or cycle; children within the bussing boundaries were encouraged to walk to their bus stops; children getting dropped off by car were encouraged to walk a block, by being dropped off and picked up a block or two away from the school. These actions help keep cars away from schools to clear the way for students and improve air quality for all.


These whole-school events encourage elementary school children, staff, and families to take their designated route to school and leave the car behind! To link the events to the environment, KFL&A offered polar bear adoption certificates to classes - teachers were encouraged to record results and the completed sheets were entered into a draw. In all, 16 polar bear adoptions were awarded to winning classes.


KFL&A health unit staff created action packages for every elementary school that included school announcements; a parent promotional flyer; sheets for teachers to record class participation; paper to make an environmentally themed banner with markers; and a registration for the "Polar Bear Experiment", designed for Grade 4 and conducted by Public Health Nurses. Twenty-six classes signed up for the presentations.


The next special event day will be held in the fall, where the theme will be "no idling."  A poster competition will be held with winners' posters permanently placed on signs outside schools.



Active School Travel Social Media Campaign encourages families to stay active over the summer and for short local trips throughout the year! SocialMedia 


This is the final month in a social media campaign that ran from September 2013 through June 2014. A big thanks to all who helped spread the word throughout the school year - it's been a great success with over 700,000 views on Twitter and Facebook, and lots of great tips, stories, and ideas shared by parents and educators over the school year!  Please feel free to use the campaign resources 

anytime, and keep up the conversation this month and beyond with #walktoschool and #biketoschool.  

Ways you can support the campaign:

Ottawa's Wellington Village paints the streets! Ottawa 

The pavement in front of Elmdale Public School, an Ottawa School Travel Planning participant, now has a colourful image designed by local artist Jennifer Nicol and painted b

y participants of all ages. It is the first of four street painting projects happening in Ottawa this summer, made possible with the support of the City's Neighbourhood Connection Office. Green Communities' Ottawa Project Manager Wallace Beaton took some time out of his busy schedule to help with the street painting!  Check out a fantastic time-lapse video of the project: http://www.blueberryhoney.com/blueberry-pie-productions


photos courtesy of Eric Darwin  

International Walk to School, October 2014!  IWALK   

iwalk logoIWALK Day: Wednesday, Oct. 8
IWALK Week: October 6-10
For posters to display at your school, download them here.

Stickers can be purchased directly from J. Sutton Communications, contact paul@jsuttoncom.com for purchasing details.


Save money, live better, walk morewalk 

Why I Walk: Taking a Step in the Right Direction, written by Urban Designer Kevin Klinkenberg, explores the positive impact of walking on various aspects of Klinkenberg's life including finances, a sense of freedom, health, and social life. By focusing directly on the real, measurable advantages of choosing to be a pedestrian, Why I Walk makes a convincing case for ending our love affair with the automobile. This highly readable, first-person narrative handily provides the answer to the pressing question, "Why do I walk"?


An expert in the field, Kevin Klinkenberg is the Principal Designer at K2 Urban Design. For more than two decades he has been working to create sustainable, sociable environments and walkable communities in cooperation with developers, cities and nonprofits. Kevin blogs at www.kevinklinkenberg.com.  


Brisbane backs Active School TravelAUS  
Australia is working hard to encourage more children to actively travel with Brisbane City Council's Active School Travel program achieving strong results over the last ten years.Since 2004, Brisbane City Council has been educating and motivating primary (elementary) school students, parents, and teachers to leave the car at home and actively travel, reducing traffic in and around school areas.


The Active School Travel program supports Council's vision for Brisbane to be an active, healthy city.  Brisbane's Lord Mayor Councillor Graham Quirk said Council's Active School Travel Program helps Brisbane school students learn about the benefits of walking, cycling, scooting, carpooling, and catching public transport to and from school. "The program is about reducing the amount of traffic around schools, encouraging a cleaner environment, and creating a more social school community, by having students and teachers actively travel to school," Councillor Quirk said. "The smallest of changes in behaviour can have a big effect, with every car off the road helping to reduce traffic congestion on local streets, create a safer school environment, and provide students and their families with options to be more active and healthy."


Schools who participated in last year's program achieved an overall average of a 17% reduction in car trips and an 11% increase in walking trips. The program received similarly good results in 2012, with an 18% reduction in car trips and a 14% increase in walking trips. Since the program started in 2004, 157 Brisbane schools and more than 87,000 students have participated in the Active School Travel program.


Schools partner with Brisbane City Council for three years, with Council offering hands-on support for the first 12 months, then assisting when required for the remaining two years to encourage sustainability. There are 50 schools across Brisbane participating in the program in 2014, which includes new schools as well as schools in their second and third years.


For more information about Council's Active School Travel program visit www.brisbane.qld.gov.au and search for 'Active School Travel'.


ring U.S. Congressman James Oberstar   JOBERSTAR 

Deb Hubsmith, the Chair of the U.S. Safe Routes to School National Partnership has written a very poignant tribute to U.S. Congressman James Oberstar, known across the country as the Father of Safe Routes to School.
Seventy-nine-year old Oberstar served the U.S. Congress for 36 years and was bi-partisan in his approach. Says Hubsmith, "I have never met anyone more vibrant, alive, visionary, and dedicated to helping America and Americans lead better lives.  That's what Mr. Oberstar was all about - helping people."  


"Childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States. In 1980, six percent of children were obese; today, it's 17 percent. This is leading to serious health problems like diabetes and heart disease. The Safe Routes to School program is giving us the opportunity to change the habits of an entire generation to ensure that healthy children grow to be healthy adults."

-Rep. James Oberstar in a January 7, 2010, press release congratulating Minnesota for forming a new state Safe Routes to School network.


How One Suburb Made School Buses Obsolete Schoolbus

Sarah Goodyear - The Atlantic Cities

This inspiring article, How One Suburb Made School Buses Obsolete, references the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, Ohio, and notes that when it comes to planning, the key is density and locating schools in the town's core. The city doesn't have a bus system for its 5,800 students, because it doesn't need one. Its seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school are all within walking or biking distance of the children they serve.  


30 km/hr for Paris Streets Paris 

The just-elected new Mayor of Paris, Madame Anne Hidalgo, has prepared a revolutionary sustainable mobility project whereby virtually all of the streets of the city will be subject to a maximum speed limit of 30 km/hr.


Walking = Power gokin 

Go Kin is an innovative, small, lightweight, and portable device that generates power through walking. A five-minute walk creates enough power for 10-25 minutes of talk time on a cell phone, and batteries and electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, and handheld global positioning systems (GPS), are easily recharged from two USB ports embedded in the device, which also contains a battery to store energy. The product has been through an intense year of development and testing and the co-creators, Bill Ostrom and a team of researchers at Queen's University, are ready to bring the product to market. A crowd funding campaign has been started for Go Kin Packs on Kickstarter and runs from June 17 to July 17. You can find out more about Go Kin Packs on the Kickstarter page here, or visit the website: www.gokinpacks.com.



 Upcoming conferences:Conferences 

  • Canada Walks' Kate Hall will be leading a presentation and walkability audit on August 20 with a group of professionals attending the American Public Works Association's International Congress, taking place in Toronto.
  • The Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) is holding its 7th annual active transportation policy conference - the Complete Streets Forum - on October 6, 2014 in Toronto.



Canada Walks can help you meet your walkability goals! Walkability 

We offer a full range of workshops and consulting services to help you:

Training flow chart

School Travel planning is now available - contact us to learn more.

The training is offered in a modular format so that each community can learn about topics that are relevant to their current level of experience with active school travel. Content is customized for each community.
If you have story ideas or walking news you'd like to share please send to us at asrts@sympatico.ca. Be sure to include your contact details.IdeasStories
Donate Now  donate   
Canada Walks Walkolution News profiles actions across Canada undertaken by Green Communities Canada and our many local partners to help create communities where walking is safe, easy, enjoyable, and inviting. By making a donation to the Green Communities Foundation you can provide vital support for this work.  Just click on the Donate Now button and indicate in the comments section that you'd like your gift to go to the work of Canada Walks. 
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Tel: 705-745-7479  
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Fax: 705-745-7294