Parks, parks, parks

Today is good news for fans of parks in Canada. More specifically this good news is brought to you by two amazing people I personally know.

parkrun Canada

While living in Basingstoke, England, my brother, Aneez would rave about this community initiative that was all the rage called parkrun. He described it as a weekly 5km fun run that takes place in local parks. It’s not a race but more of a community gathering centered around running.

After weeks (probably months) of work Aneez announced that parkrun was now coming to Whitby (where Aneez now lives).

parkrun whitby

Park People

Today the little independent Toronto-based charity that my wife, Minaz, works for officially goes national. In Calgary, Park People is currently hosting the Heart Of The City Conference (Shaping The Future Of City Parks In Canada). I describe Park People as an organization that works with local neighbourhoods and helps the people there to animate and use their parks in an inclusive way.

Why are these two events important? Well, to me it’s obvious. Parks are public spaces. Like libraries and community centres. They are places for friends and family to gather and enjoy. For parents and kids to enjoy a summer afternoon in. For kids to hangout and play tag in. For picnics and parties. For independent arts and bazaar sales. For Scout meetings and community-built outdoor ice rinks. For running and parkour. Parks are the places where we can find the heartbeat of a community and neighbourhood. They are worth building, cleaning, animating, using and growing. Neighbourhoods without parks are not neighbourhoods.

Congrats to Minaz, Aneez, parkrun Canada and Park People!

Vita Parcours

cedar brook park

Vita Parcours started in Switzerland in the late 1960s. These usually consist of exercise stations along a path or trail.

The first parcourse came into existence when a men’s gymnastics team in the commune of Wollishofen decided a great way to train and get some fresh air at the same time was by heading to a nearby wood and running and jumping over natural obstacles such as tree stumps.

In Toronto, one can be found in the Scarborough park, Cedar Brook Park.

Cedar Brook Park

The idea was well received, and a sponsor was found: the insurance company VITA (now Zurich Financial Services Group) which gave the unique trails their name, Vita Parcours, which they are still known by in Switzerland.

“The insurance company VITA showed an interest from the very beginning to develop a series of trails of this kind and not only for the gym club of Wollishofen,” Josef Bächler, head of the Vita Parcours foundation, told swissinfo.ch.

vita parcours

vita parcours

 

The Vita Parcours in Cedar Brook is in disrepair and really needs some work. However, next time you’re visiting the city’s east end, drop by and run the course. This just might be the type of exercise you need to reach your 2016 health goals.

McCowan and Hague Parks

McCowan + Hague Park | Scarborough + Toronto | karim kanji

Last week we hiked through the McCowan and Hague Park corridor in Scarborough. I think the ravine is the Pringdale Ravine. The Pringdale become buried and re-emerges further south in Gates Gully before emptying into Lake Ontario.

Pringdale Ravine | Scarborough - Toronto | karim kanji

To the north and east is the popular Cedarbrook Park.

The walk featured the ravine and a dense forest. It’s very accessible even during the winter.  I hope you enjoy the photos below.