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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
John Pucher, Professor, Urban Planning and Policy Development Program and Research Associat, Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center, Rutgers University, and author of the recently published City Cycling (MIT Press, 2012), will be giving a talk at SFU’s Vancouver campus at Harbour Centre on Friday, June 14 at 7:00 p.m.
From the program description:
John Pucher will document the boom in cycling in both European and North American cities. Adding to his previous talks, John will discuss how cycling can thrive even in cities with no history or culture of daily, utilitarian cycling, but only if government policies provide safe, convenient, and pleasant cycling conditions. He’ll also address the fact that similarly, government policies are key to encouraging walking and making it safer. Safe infrastructure is a prerequisite, but it must be complemented by many other supportive measures…
Full details and registration (free, but reservations are required).
Here are some interesting reads from today:
Don’t let the headline get you down. Meghan Winters, Health Sciences Professor at SFU, states in the article: “On the whole, consistently studies show the health benefits of walking and cycling far outweigh the health risks of injury. So on the whole, from an individual and public health perspective, cycling and walking should be promoted and encouraged.” The abstract
for the study referred to in the article is available on the publisher’s website. If you have a library card, you should be able to access the full text of the article very soon from the Canadian Business and Current Affairs
I’m not a fan of fare zones so I was pleased to learn from this blog post that true distance-based pricing will be explored as an option when TransLink conducts a comprehensive fare policy review in the next few years. Also, the picture of the 1958 fare zones is fascinating!