Walkin' and wheelin'

By Bradford Times Staff

BWG - The Town of BWG and its Active Transportation & Recreation Advisory Committee organized a Walk 'n Wheel Wednesday on October 4 – coinciding with International Walk to School Day.

It was the fourth time the committee has approached local elementary schools, asking parents, teachers and students to choose  an alternative mode of transportation, and walk, run, bike, scooter, skateboard or rollerblade to school – instead of driving.

This time, a total of eight schools, in both the Simcoe County District and Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Boards, initially signed up.

There were walkers and wheelers at St. Angela Merici, Chris Hadfield Public School, St. Marie of the Incarnation, St. Teresa of Calcutta, Fieldcrest Elementary, Fred C. Cook Public School, St. Jean de Brebeuf and Hon. Earl Rowe P.S. As students  arrived, they were greeted by volunteers from the Town of BWG, South Simcoe Police Service, BWG Fire & Emergency Services, school staff and parent Council members, Active Transportation committee members and local politicians, handing out “I Walk to School” ribbons.

Even kids who were driven or rode the bus to school could earn a ribbon, by running or walking a lap around the school.

Students were also invited to enter a draw,for a chance to win one of two new bike helmets at each school, donated by  Mark Sheeler, owner/operator of the Canadian Tire Store in Bradford.

The goal of Walk 'n Wheel Wednesday remains the same at each event, said Councillor Gary Baynes, Chair of the committee: “We want to encourage students of all ages to be active, and walking to school is a great starting point that we hope becomes a regular activity, not just something that is done on a special event day.” Walking not only contributes to fitness, but  reduces traffic congestion around the schools – and with fewer cars and less idling, improves air quality.

Baynes was at St. Angela Merici at the start of the day, a school that has participated in all four Walk 'n Wheel Wednesdays held to date, and actually had their own walking program even before the committee launched their event.

“We do it once a month at our school,” said Principal Joe Almeida. “We've been doing it since we opened.”

It's something that Baynes and his committee hope will be embraced by all BWG schools –  especially for the 5th Walk 'n Wheel Wednesday, in May of next year.