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Two days, two walks, one with fire

I had an interesting weekend…. On Saturday, Innu surgeon Dr. Stanley Vollant (that’s him on the left with Justin Trudeau and Liberal aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett) came to Ottawa on the latest leg of his Innu Meshkenu walking project, a five-year 6,000-kilometre series of walks between every First Nations community in eastern and central…

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Walking with robots

Last week, I went to Carleton University’s Human Computer Interaction building to interview Richard Beranek, the CEO and co-founder of Ottawa-based rehabilitation robotics company GaitTronics, a two-year-old spin-off from the university’s Advanced Biomechatronics and Locomotion Laboratory. With industrial design support from local consultancy The Federal, Beranek and his colleagues have created SoloWalk, which is essentially a robot that can…

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Boots on the street

In light of what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri, this week, here’s a look at an American police department that’s taking positive steps to improve relations with citizens in an impoverished neighbourhood — an article I wrote last year for The Economist about Philadelphia’s innovative foot patrol program.

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Chi walking — and me walking

On a rainy August day in Ottawa, I attended a free noon-hour presentation at City Hall, part of a series of monthly walking events programmed by the city. Led by Dr. Barry Bruce, the subject was “chi walking” — a form of walking inspired by the ancient Chinese martial art tai chi. Bruce, whose medical practice is…

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Tar Sands Healing Walk

From June 27th to 29th, for the fifth time in as many years, there will be a walk in northeastern Alberta…. “This year we gather for the final Athabasca region Healing Walk. We do this not because the problem has been solved, or because justice has been served, or practices of honour and integrity have…

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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…