Safe schools

Two years ago, while doing research and reporting for my book, I joined an Active & Safe Routes to School walkabout at an elementary school in Ottawa. The intervention, part of a program led by a national non-profit called Green Communities Canada, is part of a process that involves collecting travel behaviour data, traffic observation…

Spring walk

“Tired of winter and can’t wait to get out and smell the fresh earth and hear the first sounds of spring? There couldn’t be a better way to experience spring’s emergence than a walk in the woods.” So say the good folks at the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, who have invited me to do a walk…

Treadmill residency wrap-up

Now that February’s snow is turning into March puddles, it’s time to start booking walking meetings outside on the Rideau Canal pathways and end the official portion of my treadmill desk writer-in-residence post in the Discovery Centre at Carleton University. Throughout February, I met with students and staff — including Samantha Munro, the university’s Healthy Workplace Coordinator, pictured…

DIY treadmill desk

Carleton University cognitive science professor Jim Davies, director of the Science of Imagination Laboratory and the author of Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe, had never used a treadmill desk before he built one about two years ago. “I decided I wanted one,” he says, “and just made it.” Davies,…

Treadmill writer-in-residence

Next month, I’m taking another step in my campaign to fuse the worlds of walking and writing. I am becoming the world’s first treadmill desk writer-in-residence! How does one become a treadmill desk writer-in-residence, you might ask? And: what on earth does it mean? Well, read on and I’ll attempt to answer those questions. But the…

Walk talks

Although the fall is a lovely season for hitting the trail, or wandering around a city, it’s also a time when we begin to retreat indoors. Autumn in Canada brings an array of conferences and festivals — and thankfully, for an obsessive walker, some of these events are a great showcase for my favourite subject. I’ll…

Summer hikes

When you spend a lot of your time writing about walking, people often ask about your favourite places to walk. Typically, they’re thinking about hiking trails — rugged multi-day treks such as British Columbia’s West Coast Trail or Ontario’s Bruce Trail. Page-turner books like Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods have done a…

Walking meetings

Walking is increasingly part of the program at urbanist conferences and wellness conferences, and it shares the stage with cycling and mass transit at active transportation and sustainability gatherings, but we obsessive walkers get really excited when there’s an event where walking, as Henry David Thoreau wrote in his 1862 essay “Walking,” is “itself the enterprise and adventure…