I would walk 500 miles …

… although, with all due respect to the Proclaimers and the catchy 1988 hit from one of Scotland’s favourite bands, not to mention my obsesson with all things ambulatory, driving 500 miles is a lot easier. Especially if the route in question is the North Coast 500 — a circuit at the top of Scotland…

Running the Rideau

It was Race Weekend in Ottawa this past Saturday, an annual running extravaganza built around a marathon and several shorter distance races, but even though I love running, I opted for a solo — and longer — adventure. On Saturday morning, I took a VIA train to Smiths Falls, about 50 minutes south of the…

Walking on water

When I got my first stand up paddle board last August — an inflatable from Ottawa-based Level Six via MEC — the water in the city’s Rideau River was already fairly low. It would have been impossible to paddle from the put-in spot near my house to the terminus, where it tumbles into the Ottawa River, without scraping along…

The joy of rambling (in the UK)

My dream day begins like this: wake up early, but not too early, in a small hotel beside the sea. My body is sore (but not too sore) from walking from dawn until dusk the day before to get here. I pack my bag and take it to the lobby, where the luggage fairies will…

Awards and anthology

It’s a thrill to announce that Born to Walk is a finalist in the non-fiction category at this year’s Ottawa Book Awards. The other titles on the shortlist are Children of the Broken Treaty, by NDP Member of Parliament Charlie Angus, a pair of historical works by Carleton professors Tim Cook and Norman Hillmer, and Roy MacGregor’s…

A walk and a smile

In the second chapter of Born to Walk, which focuses on how walking can address mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety, research conducted by University of Glasgow epidemiologist Richard Mitchell provides the scientific basis for many of my arguments. I spent some time walking around Glasgow with Rich, whose work explores the roles urban environments can…

Trespassing Across America

Back in my magazine editing days, we received a story pitch from a photographer who planned to fly atop the entire route of the proposed Gateway pipeline, from Alberta to the British Columbia coast. The photographer, a Canadian member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, wanted to document the landscape that would have been impacted by…

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…