Ottawa Update - Winter 2017

Get your Winter Walk on! 

Winter Walk Day is Wednesday, February 1st across Ottawa (and Ontario). It’s our annual celebration of the pleasure and benefits of the season’s easiest way to keep active and stay warm outside. 

Schools can participate in many fun ways on that day or anytime in the month. From greeting winter walkers with music & hot chocolate and neighbourhood walkabouts to “Drive to 5” campaigns, there are lots of ways to celebrate, not hibernate.

Visit our Winter Walk Day webpage for more ideas and resources including:

  • A link to register your event and receive a Certificate of Participation. 
  • Downloadable stickers & posters in English & French
  • Sample announcements for school newsletters, assemblies and websites.

Or contact your School Travel Planning Facilitator or school health nurse for help. And follow us on Twitter (@walk2schoolyow, @CanadaWalks, #winterwalkday) or Facebook.

New : Winter Walk Photo Contest
Share the magic of your winter walk by entering our Winter Walk Photo Contest. Just submit your photo by posting it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (#winterwalkphoto) any time before the end of March. Or email it to us. The most inspiring photos will be shared in our national newsletter. 

A different take on outdoor education

Inspired by a similar program in New York City and with the help of GCC’s School Travel Planning Facilitator, Jessica Sheridan, the students in teacher Amy Charlton’s Grade 7 class at Queen Elizabeth PS have been giving new meaning to the term "outdoor education".

With clipboards, pencils and hand-held speed detector at the ready, the students set out last fall to study traffic on St. Laurent Boulevard, a busy four-lane arterial road in front of their school that is a major barrier for walking to school. They collected and analysed data including traffic speeds, vehicle occupancy rates, driver behaviour and the surrounding built environment. This month the students will turn what they learned into a report and letters that they plan to share with decision-makers.

"This activity provided a great opportunity for my students to collect some ‘real-world’ data in their community, says Charlton. "They found it meaningful and engaging to practice curriculum-linked skills like analyzing and representing data and making persuasive arguments in the context of issues that affect them."

That car was going HOW fast? GCC's Jessica Sheridan helps Queen Elizabeth PS students measure traffic speeds in front of their school.

iWALK Month continues to grow

Participation in International Walk to School (iWALK) Month reached new heights last October with 28 Ottawa schools marking the event. Ottawa Public Health offered prizes including tickets to a Sens game and all schools received a special certificate from Green Communities. 

Left: Councillor Jean Cloutier greets iWALK Day walkers at Alta Vista PS.  Right: iWALK celebrations at Our Lady of Wisdom CS included music, healthy snacks and high 5's from Ottawa Public Health mascot “Phyz”.  
Both Glen Ogilvie PS & Good Shepherd CS celebrated iWALK with community walks through their Blackburn Hamlet neighbourhood. 

Slowing traffic near schools

In response to requests from the City of Ottawa and other municipalities, the Ontario government has introduced legislation that, once adopted, will permit photo radar in school zones. The Safer School Zones Act 2016 will also allow the technology to be deployed around parks, hospitals and seniors centres and give municipalities the power to communities to lower default speed limits from 50 to 40 or 30 km/h on local roads. 

In a recent poll, 75% of Canadian parents cited speeding cars and traffic as one of the main reasons they don’t allow their child to walk to school.

A big “Merci!” goes to Councillor Bob Monette for his decision to deploy speed display boards in every school zone in Orléans Ward. The boards not only provide drivers with real-time reminders about how fast they’re travelling but also collect data that can strengthen requests for police enforcement.

The future of active school travel in Ontario

On December 1st more than 40 active school travel (AST) stakeholders from across Ontario gathered in Toronto for a first-ever provincial summit. The event, which was hosted by the Heart & Stroke Foundation and Green Communities Canada (GCC), brought together municipal, school board, school transportation, public health and NGO representatives to determine priority actions for strengthening AST work province-wide. Ottawa’s delegation included Councillor Catherine McKenney, OCSB Trustee Joanne McEwan and OSTA GM Vicky Kyriaco as well as GCC and City staff. Eleanor McMahon, Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport (and founder of the Share The Road cycling coalition) delivered the keynote address. A report outlining priorities and next steps will be issued later this month.

National coalition calls for AT investment

Green Communities Canada has joined with other members of the Federal Active Transportation Coalition to request that the federal government invest in a robust and dedicated active transportation infrastructure fund to support walking and cycling. The detailed proposal, which was submitted to Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi in November, linked the investment to improved air quality, strengthened economic performance, and healthy living. The Coalition includes the Canadian Automobile Association, Canadian Cancer Society, Lung Association of Canada, Canada Bikes, Canadian Institute of Planners, Public Health Ontario and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Worth reading & watching

Active school travel on the rise in US:

Toronto Guide to Safer Streets Near Schools:

ParticipAction - Ditch the excuses about not walking to school:

UK dad says “It’s time to let go” (and let his daughter walk to school):

A school drop-off you have to see to believe:     

Thank you to our generous funders
Copyright © Green Communities Canada

Our mailing address is:
440 Albert Street, Room C106
Ottawa ON K1R 5B5
Phone: 613-724-2727

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list


This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Green Communities Canada · 440 Albert St. Rm C-106 · Ottawa, Ontario K1R 5B5 · Canada

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp