Canada Walks – a leader in Canada’s walking movement.

Imagine … a Canada where we can easily and safely walk to school, work, play and transit.

Canada Walks, a department of Green Communities Canada, is a leader in Canada’s walking movement. Canada Walks has a history that reaches back two decades and a powerful vision of a walkable future for Canada.

Promoting active school travel

The Active & Safe Routes to School movement began in the mid-90s with parents concerned for their children. As a mom who noticed chaotic traffic in front of schools — a hazard for children on foot — Jacky Kennedy couldn’t rest until she did something about it.

When Jacky found unsatisfactory answers to her questions, she researched best practices in other countries and discovered the Safe Routes to School program, developed and delivered by SUSTRANS in the UK. She set about to pilot a program in Toronto.

Since then, working with many partners, Active & Safe Routes to School has grown into a pan-Canadian project that promotes action and research on active school travel interventions in all kinds of communities. In more recent years, we have introduced School Travel Planning, a comprehensive process that engages community stakeholders to address real-world barriers and incentives. Results to date show sustained support from school board and  municipal stakeholders indicating a shift to active school travel over time.

Jacky Kennedy, Director, Canada Walks

Creating walkable communities

The idea for Canada Walks was born out of growing recognition of the need to improve the conditions for walking in our communities, and the demand from across Canada for knowledge, expertise, and networking. Canada Walks activities have included:

  • a new Guinness World Record for the largest number of people walking one kilometre at the same time
  • the 2007 Toronto Walk21 Conference, co-hosted with City of Toronto
  • dozens of community workshops, such as the Walk21 Walkability Roadshow, that demonstrate our ability to reach out and engage multi-sectoral partners who share a common goal to create a culture of walking in Canada
  • the WALK Friendly Community designation program, which recognizes municipalities that make serious progress toward walkability at the bronze, silver, gold, and platinum levels.

Canada Walks seeks to create communities in which active transportation is safe, practical, and inviting. All our activities involve many players, including municipalities, public health, recreation and fitness organizations, environment and citizen groups, schools, transportation and land-use planners, police, developers, parents, and senior governments.

Building Canada’s walking movement

Today, the world is changing: the case for walking, and the base of support for action, is burgeoning. Walking has legs. The time is right to leverage that momentum for accelerated action. Inspired by the successful Every Body Walk! campaign in the US, Canada Walks is helping to build a national walking movement in this country, and create a strong and unified voice for walking. Our goal: to make Canada a great place to walk. We want you to join us. Keep in touch through the CANADA WALKS NEWS, and take action for walking in your community and beyond.

World Record Walk logoWorld Record Walk

On 3 October 2007, at 12:30 EDT, Canada set a new Guinness World Record for the largest number of people walking one kilometre at the same time.

The World Record Walk, organized by Canada Walks, smashed the existing record of 100,915, set by Western Australia in September 2006. Our tally, as painstakingly verified by Guinness World Records: 231,635 simultaneous walkers.

Our record is unbeaten.

Thanks to the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and more than a dozen partners.

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