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…

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…