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New York walking tours

  Last June, Bill Di Paola, one of the director’s of the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, gave me a walking tour of the neighbourhood’s public gardens and squats. Di Paola is a pioneering cycling activist and community organizer, and the small but fascinating museum is a great stop in and…

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Prairie pilgrimage

  “It could be a frequency illusion, a manifestation of my own obsessions with walking and environmental armageddon, but pilgrimage lit seems to be trending. When the going gets tough, the lost go looking.” My review of Saskatchewan writer and naturalist Trevor Herriot‘s wonderful new book, The Road is How: A Prairie Pilgrimage through Nature, Desire and…

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A Philosophy of Walking

There’s a new book on my nightstand: A Philosophy of Walking, by French philosophy professor Frédéric Gros (that’s him in the photo, looking like what you’d expect a French philosophy professor to look like). The book explores why so many writers and philosophers, from Nietzsche and Kant to Kerouac, relied on walking as a pathway toward…

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The Wales Coast Path

Last summer, I spent a few days walking along the Wales Coast Path. I was following an ancient pilgrimage route, in the only country in the world with a footpath showcasing all of its seafront terrain — a country where walking also happens to play a significant role in the economy. My feature about the…

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The Longest Walk, 1978

  An early indigenous protest march in America, from California to Washington, D.C. Listen to one of its leaders, professor Lehman Brightman, speaking in the capital at the walk’s conclusion (below, with photos). Or read my piece from the Globe and Mail last year on the evolution of aboriginal walks in Canada.

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To the dogs

Andrew Markle is living the dream. He and Brecken Hancock, his partner in life and business, run a dog walking company in Ottawa called Walk It Off. Both are writers at heart: she’s a poet, he’s into science fiction and fantasy. But five days a week, he makes the rounds in mid-town, picking up six…

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Walking Man, the documentary

In April 2013, in the wake of a series of suicides at Missouri high schools, Mark Norwine, a bullying prevention coordinator at a non-profit called CHADS Coalition for Mental Health, walked across the state on the Katy Trail. Norwine, who has bipolar disorder, was accompanied by his son Eric, who has also been diagnosed with…

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Going postal

Back in November, I spent a day on the job with Canada Post letter carrier (sorry, delivery agent) Christine Murray in the west end of Ottawa. Just over a month later, Canada Post announced its plan to phase out home delivery, and eliminate 8,000 jobs. This has been a controversial decision. There is debate over…