Hiking in the Highlands

“It’ll be a pretty severe consequence if you fall off here. A wee bit more than a headache.” So says Keith Melton, the proprietor of Go Glencoe Guiding, who led me up a couple of Munros — a summit above 3,000 feet — during my time on assignment in Scotland last week. The two peaks we did…

walk dan

Born to Walk: advance copies!

Advance copies of my book have landed. The publishing date is April 1, 2015. (It should be called “Born to Wait,” one friend said.) Here’s what my publisher, ECW Press, has to say: “The humble act of putting one foot in front of the other transcends age, geography, culture, and class, and is one of…


Indigenous capital

A few steps away from the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, there’s a statue of Mohawk chief Joseph Brant. I have walked, run and cycled past the statue dozens of times without noticing it. Which is one of the things that Metis educator and artist Jaime Koebel — the woman to Grant’s right in the above…


Back on the beat

I just can’t seem to get away from the police. After spending a couple days with foot patrol officers in Philadelphia last year, I decided to investigate how a cross-section of Canadian cities are handling walking beats. Constables Jen Biondi and Craig Barlow of the Ottawa Police Service were generous with their time and answers on…


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…


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…


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.


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…