Category Archives: Walk

I Went Walking, by Sue Williams, illustrated by Julie Vivas

I Went Walking is a rhythmic read that shows children the fun of discovery on a farmyard walk.

I Went Walking Cover

I suspect that nearly everyone who reads this book will compare it to Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? but a children’s librarian friend points out that I Went Walking offers the thrill of a guessing game by giving hints of what’s to come.

I Went Walking Cat

Good for you if you guessed that the next animal we’ll find on our walk is a black cat! On the walk we also meet a brown horse, red cow, pink pig and other animals you might find on a farm. The line “I went walking. What did you see?” repeats throughout the story. Eventually, all the farm animals follow our little red-headed friend and there is some mischief that occurs on the last page.

Reading this book will help little ones learn about animals, colours and sequence. You can also insert animal sounds when you read it aloud. After reading this book often, you might even find yourself (as I do) saying, “We are walking. What do you see?” when you go on walks with your child.

We really like the size of the board book version of this title as N can handle it well and turn the pages easily.

Baby- and Child-friendly Vancouver

I highly recommend two posts that recently appeared on Spacing: Jillian Glover’s 13 ways to create baby-friendly cities and Chris Bruntlett’s 12 ways to make cities more child-friendly.

The baby-friendly cities post reflects my own experience of navigating and living in Vancouver with a young baby.

Shannon and N

The only point I would add to Jillian’s list is the need for more washroom facilities, particularly at public transit stations, and more changing facilities in men’s washrooms. Kevin gets out of quite a few diaper changes because his washrooms often aren’t equipped with change tables or large countertops (or, that’s what he tells me). The lack of washroom facilities at major public transit stations and stops is a growing concern for me as I look ahead to toilet training. How do families with young children out of diapers go on longer journeys on public transit?

Jillian’s post suggests a map of services for new parents, and a commenter on the post points out that there is one for Vancouver: the Kid-Friendly Map. I just signed up to contribute to this map, and I hope other parents of young children will consider doing the same. Even though we have very little spare time in our lives, we’re the ones who know our neighbourhoods well and all the useful amenities (like clean and free changing facilities) and fun places they include.

Kid-Friendly Map

I wonder if a toddler-friendly cities article is up next in the Spacing series as there are some unique concerns between the baby and older child stages. Now that I’m a parent of a one-year-old, I’m always searching for wide open outdoor areas where N can safely crawl and practice walking.

N Crawling on Grass

The community centre play gyms (like Mount Pleasant’s) are terrific indoor spaces for this, but some of our outdoor spaces are lacking for older babies and young toddlers. I suspect that there is a growing need for appropriate outdoor toddling spaces given Frances Bula’s recent article about Vancouver families who are choosing to live in small spaces with children. I hope to discover some of the best outdoor spaces in Vancouver, as recommended by other parents, on the Kid-Friendly Map.

On My Walk, by Kari-Lynn Winters, illustrated by Christina Leist

This post is the first in a new series of reviews of children’s books about car-free transportation. Whenever I browse children’s books on transportation, I’m usually disappointed to find that books about active transportation and taking public transit are missing in the transportation section. Train books are prominent, but so are many books about cars and trucks. In an effort to improve the visibility of great books about car-free transportation, I plan to write short reviews of some older and newer children’s books about walking, cycling, public transit, trains and other ways of getting around.

The first children’s book that I want to recommend is On My Walk by Kari-Lynn Winters with illustrations by Christina Leist.

On My Walk Cover

This fun book with onomatopoeic words like clippity-clop, hippity-hop and drippity-drop, is set in Vancouver. The child in the book enjoys a pleasant summer walk with mom (presumably) and pet dog. Along the way, he observes many things, including horses, frogs, fish and freighters. And, of course, the Vancouver rain makes an appearance, turning the summer walk into a summer run. This simple and short book is a celebration of walking in our city.

On My Walk

On My Walk was a finalist for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize (BC Book Prizes) and the Chocolate Lily Award (BC Readers’ Choice) in 2010.

Look for it at your local and independent bookstores and the library.

Last Weekend for Eastside Stride

This is the last weekend to do the Eastside Stride, a two-hour walking tour developed for Homelessness Action Week by Union Gospel Mission in partnership with Mission Possible and support from the City of Vancouver and local service providers. The tour began October 12 and runs to October 20.

Eastside Stride

There are still spaces available for the guided walking tour (sign up here), or you can choose to do an audio tour on your own time if you have a cell phone with a data plan.

The guided tour is for ages 18 and older. Youth ages 14-17 may join if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian who will be able to provide guidance on the tour content and what may be seen on the walk.

The first FAQ on the Union Gospel Mission’s website about this tour is: Isn’t doing a tour of the Downtown Eastside (DTES) poverty tourism? Here is the response:

No. The Eastside Stride is about showing that the Hasting corridor is just a small part of the ‘downtown eastside.’ It’s actually a rich and vibrant community comprising neighbourhoods like Gastown, Chinatown, Oppenheimer, Strathcona, Victory Square and Thorton Park. This tour isn’t about exploiting, condemning or romanticizing the downtown eastside. It’s not about pushing or polarizing any issue. It’s simply presenting what ‘is’ and what ‘was.’ As you learn more about this neighbourhood, it’s our hope that solutions to systemic issues can be discovered, and that you’ll never hear the words downtown eastside again, without thinking about the context learned today.

Sam Javanrouh and the City

Toronto photographer Sam Javanrouh announced this week that he will no longer post daily images on his Daily Dose of Imagery blog. Javanrouh had been sharing photographs, mostly of Toronto, on his site for 10 years.

I moved to Toronto when Javanrouh began posting photos in 2003, and I viewed the daily images during the time I lived in that city (2003-2005). Today, I looked over the archives for these early years and it amazes me how well I remember some of these photographs (see here, here, here, here and here for example).

A blogTO post about Javanrouh asks what advice he would give to someone thinking of starting a daily photo blog and two of his suggestions are to walk everywhere and look around everywhere you go. I’m not a photoblogger, but I still learned to do both of these things because of Javanrouh’s photographs. He made me fall in love with Toronto and urban life. When I was introduced to Javanrouh’s blog and photographs, I started paying more attention to my surroundings and the activity in the city. He showed me the joys of exploring my city on foot and by transit. Simple things, like the red seats of the TTC, the changing of the seasons, a common act in a public space and a place I passed by often but never thought much of, became worthy of careful observation.

Javanrouh also posted photographs of places in Toronto where I had never been. After he shared a photograph of one of the city’s Discovery Walk signs, I began going on some of these self-guided walks in the city. It’s because of Javanrouh that I discovered the Humber River Valley and Belt Line Linear Park. I also ventured over to the Distillery District for the first time because of a Javanrouh photograph.

What I learned from Javanrouh, I brought with me to Vancouver, and to this day I continue to enjoy experiencing my city in the details and without a car.

Thank you Sam Javanrouh for your photographs and I wish you all the best for your future projects. Non-daily photographs will appear on Javanrouh’s topleftpixel tumblr and topleftpixel blog.