Congratulations! Ottawa and Hamilton took home silver in the first round of WALK Friendly Communities (WFC) designations. Richmond Hill, London, and Wasaga won bronze designations. Another four municipalities – Ajax, Aurora, Kingston and Markham – received honourable mentions.
The WALK Friendly Communities designations, handed out at the HC Link conference last week in Toronto, recognize excellence in municipal action to make communities safer and more enjoyable places to walk.
Improved walkability is fast becoming a key goal in urban development around the world. Our designation promotes walk friendly policies and investments in pedestrian infrastructure, creating jobs, building community, stimulating local economies, boosting health and fitness, and improving air quality.
WFC is a program of Canada Walks, a division of Green Communities Canada. After a successful pilot, WFC was launched in Ontario last spring. We’re very pleased by the initial response: nine municipalities made to effort to complete the detailed assessment, and others are lining up to apply for the next round.
WALK Friendly Ontario applications are scored by a panel of experts based on on over 200 key walkability indicators, including sidewalk policies and networks of connected walking infrastructure, progressive design standards and street festivals.
With the success of the pilot program in Ontario, the WALK Friendly Communities designation program is set to be rolled out across Canada. Stay tuned for the exciting developments of this program and stay connected by visiting our website and following us on Twitter and Facebook.
“This award is testament to how Londoners are choosing to get around – on their two feet – and to how the city meets the needs of its residents. Londoners are being lauded for taking the rights steps and we will continue along this path. It’s not the road less traveled anymore. Walking is an excellent choice and providing the sure footed infrastructure for our citizens is our only option.”
– Joe Fontana, Mayor of the City of London.