Today I was out walking the paths in our neighbourhood and noticed some kids skating down on one of the frozen ponds. Then to my right I heard a motor, and a man - whom I can only assume to be their father - came strutting out of their backyard with a snowblower, powered on, blowing snow everywhere. I really wish I had taken a video or at least a photo. He walked straight out of their yard, across the pathway and down the little hill to the pond - obviously headed to clear the frozen waters of the fresh snowfall. Not only did I LOVE his tenacity for the snowblower but even more so, I loved seeing this whole family outside, being active and enjoying the community together.
Where we live and how our communities are designed is something that I feel is essential to leading an active lifestyle. Trust, there will be more posts covering my passion for how we need to strategically and intentionally design our communities with healthier generations in mind - but I digress.
I can say, that as a lover of local walking, I am blessed to live where I do. We moved in to this community as it was growing, with our two month old and I can't even begin to express my gratitude to whomever it was that decided the parks and pathways of the neighbourhood were of the utmost importance. While the houses on our street remained to be completed there were already a series of pathways, preserved green and environmental spaces and play-structure parks ready for use.
It's obvious, and easy, to see how this lends to an active lifestyle - and in the warm weather these amenities suffer no neglect. Come winter and cold weather however, the crowds can dwindle. Communities must remain vigilant in their efforts to promote active lifestyles for all. In my recent walks I have been thrilled to find the pathways ploughed! As much as I appreciate the extra calorie burn of an off-road walk, I can't complain about the cleared pathways granting easy access to the pathways, parks and ice surfaces. I have also been so thrilled to find several frozen ponds, some man-made and some naturally occurring, being used for skating. For those that don't live as close to the ponds as Mr. Snowblower, our community has put in the effort of pouring additional ponds.
My oldest son has just started skating and has been the fortunate recipient of this effort. We are a stones throw from several ice surfaces but have taken a preference to one small, man-made pond. The location is ideal for a community plagued by cold winds. Surrounded by single and multiple family homes, this pond offers some refuge from the winds while still receiving sunlight. In addition to the weather protection it is also surrounded by a series of pathways - meaning my younger son, who is not yet skating, can run, walk and explore the area on the pathways. It's always a relief to find a spot that will entertain the masses, or in my case, both of my sons, haha. We have spent several afternoons out at the pond, skating, walking and enjoying time together.
We are all in this together - explore your community - I hope you'll find intentional design encouraging an active lifestyle. You may not share my passion, beliefs and vision for strategic planning of where we live but I hope that you'll at least be mindful of the opportunities that await you in your communities.