More Walkin' and Wheelin'

By Miriam King, Bradford Times

Last week's Walk 'N Wheel Wednesday was a success, said Active Transportation Committee Chair, Councillor Gary Baynes. On May 10, eight Bradford West Gwillimbury elementary schools participated, asking students  to walk, cycle, or use any other human-powered transportation to get to school – instead of being driven by parents.

The Town partnered with South Simcoe Police in the one-day awareness campaign, that focused not only on healthy living but traffic safety. Bradford's Canadian Tire Store was also a partner, donating  2 bicycle helmets per school, with every student who participated in the Walk 'N Wheel Wednesday receiving a ballot for a draw.

At St. Jean de Brebeuf Catholic School, participating for the first time, there was an extra prize. Councillor Peter Dykie Jr., with a discount from Canadian Tire, purchased a child's side walk bike and donated it to the school.

“It's the least I could do for the great students that participated,” said Dykie, who handed out  “I Walk To School” ribbons at the school on Wednesday morning. “More students should walk. It's healthy, plus it makes less traffic around the school. With all the cars, it can be too busy. Students walking will help reduce the parking and the chaos.”

Hon. Earl Rowe Public School, on Line 12, also participated. A rural school, all of its students are bused to class – but the school still found a way to take part, by incorporating Walk 'N Wheel Wednesday into its ongoing active living program.

Students usually walk around the track – or when the ground is too soggy in spring, around the school – for 15 minutes on “any fair-weather day,” said Principal Eric Milligan.

On Wednesday, students picked up their participant ribbons from Councillor Baynes and Town employee Karen Gill, before walking around the school – but also played mini hockey, soccer, tetherball, skipped rope and played on the playground equipment, before the bell rang.

Milligan said that the school is building a new fitness trail, with students working on the design in collaboration with the local high school. “The kids have been designing the fitness stations since March,” he said, also working with maintenance, health and safety, and fitness staff to come up with the  project that will be built later this year.

Councillor Baynes reassured students that they could still wear the “I Walk to School” ribbons even though they took the bus – and suggested that the school's program was “even better,” because it takes place every week during the school year. 

The next Walk 'N Wheel Wednesday  doesn't take place until the fall.