CANADA WALKS is a department of Green Communities Canada dedicated to getting more people walking – for transportation and recreation – by creating communities in which walking is safe, convenient, and inviting.
Walking is healthy, sociable, and good for the environment. It also contributes to vibrant neighbourhoods and shopping districts.
A national leader
Canada Walks is a national leader on this important issue, working at all levels – from local to international – with all sectors: politicians, planners, engineers, health units, residents, and others.
Our approach is practical and positive, focusing on the real-world changes that encourage walking – like connectivity of sidewalks and trails, walkable destinations, safe crossings for streets and other barriers, public transit connections, and amenities like shade, seating, good lighting, parks, public art, street festivals and vendors.
We provide inspiration, resources, and tools for change.
Children and youth
In 1996 we initiated Active and Safe Routes to School, which has grown into a national movement to get kids back on their feet (and bikes) for the journey to and from school. More recently, we have been working with provincial and territorial partners to advance the cause of children’s mobility, health, and happiness through School Travel Planning, which engages schools and all community stakeholders in systematically addressing barriers to active school travel.
Spreading the word
Over the years Canada Walks has worked tirelessly to spread the word. We brought the international Walk21 conference to Toronto in 2007, and have since organized hands-on workshops in communities from coast to coast to coast, bringing international expertise to coach, advise and identify Canadian best practice in walkability.
We now have an exciting new initiative: the Walk Friendly community designation. Municipalities will be eligible for a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum awards recognizing the steps they take to become more walkable. The designation is being launched in Ontario but will soon go Canada-wide.
Recognition and achievements
- International Charter: With our encouragement, over 40 Canadian municipalities have signed the International Charter for Walking.
- Endorsement: Ministers responsible for sport and recreation from across Canada endorsed School Travel Planning as a model framework to increase active transportation opportunities for children.
- Guinness World Record: We organized the 2007 World Record Walk for the most number of people walking one kilometer at the same time (231,635!). Canada’s record remains undefeated.
- Award: We received a $10,000 Excellence in Sustainable Transportation Award from the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association.
Our websites include: