Category Archives: Canada

Valentine’s Day Walk for a Good Cause

Valentine’s Day walk to raise money for BC food bank.

NordicWalk-TsawassenWhile others are dipping into the heart-shaped box of chocolates or planning a lovely Valentine’s Day dinner, Carol Benson-Hitch (left), owner of CFS-Carol’s Fitness Solutions, has organized a Valentine’s Day walk in support of the South Delta Food Bank in British Columbia. Benson-Hitch, a certified urban poling rehabilitation and wellness instructor, and personal trainer, shared the idea of offering a walking clinic to benefit the Ladner-based food bank with participants during a session last fall. Initially, she wanted to organize it for the Christmas season but the walkers in her group suggested Valentine’s Day. Benson-Hitch thought it was a great idea.

Cupid’s Walk for Health takes place on Saturday, February 14 at 10 a.m., meeting at Petra’s Arts Kafe on 12th Avenue in Tsawwassen. Walkers are asked to arrive between 9:30 and 9:50 a.m., bringing non-perishable food items and/or monetary donations well ahead of the walk. The hour-long session consists of a warm-up, walking on flat roads, possibly the dike and a low-grade hill and then ending with stretches. “You don’t have to use walking poles but they’re welcome, along with leashed dogs and all two-legged creatures,” says Benson-Hitch.

Participants are encouraged to wear a bit of red to celebrate the day. The walk happens rain or shine and registration is not required. FoMoInfo about Cupid’s Walk for Health, email, visit or call 604-339-5985.

Nordic Walking Intro in Ottawa

Anne Hutchinson, Nordic Walking/Urgan Poling instructor
Anne Hutchinson, Nordic Walking/Urgan Poling instructor

You know it’s spring when the Canadians begin to think about outdoor activities that don’t involve ice or snow. Registration is now open for the spring session of classes with Nepean Nordic Walk, which offers a “gentle” class on Wednesday evenings that is specifically designed for people with limitations such as knee pain which has previously prevented them from enjoying walking.  Physiotherapists are now recommending urban poling for the rehabilitation of knee injuries.

There will be a free Nordic walking demonstration on Saturday April 12 in the east parking lot of the Walter Baker Centre in Barrhaven beginning at 10 a.m.  Poles will be available to try and to purchase and instruction will be given by Anne Hutchinson, certified Nordic Walking/Urban Poling instructor. The eight-week session runs from April 28 through June 16. Check the calendar for dates and locations of the intro session as well as an intermediate-level class and one designed for individuals with limitation such as knee or back pain, arthritis, etc.

Go to her website to see YouTube videos of local television appearances she has made to discuss the benefits of Nordic Walking/Urban Poling.

Canada’s Sun Peaks Adds Nordic Walking

Sun Peaks-logoCanada’s Sun Peaks Resort, a year-round, destination north of Kamloops in interior British Columbia, is adding Nordic Walking, or as they call it Nordic Pole Walking, to its summer program. Discover Sun Peaks Adventures, which handles the resort’s activities program, will be offering introductory and intermediate clinics throughout the summer with experienced instructors and interpretive guides to teach the technique while exploring the walking and hiking trails at Sun Peaks.

The two-hour introductory program begins at 10 a.m. on the following Saturdays: June 22, June 29, July 13, August 3, August 18, August 31 and September 14. Those who have completed the Discover Nordic Walking program can “graduate” to the  Discover Alpine Nordic Walking program, a 2½-hour program, still described as “novice” but on upper-mountain trails. It takes place at 1 p.m. on the following Saturdays: July 13,  August 3,   August 31, plus Sunday, August 18. If you’ve had a bit of Nordic Walking experience, you might ask whether you can participate without the intro session.

Each session costs CDN$39 for  instruction and interpretive guided program, plus use of Keenfit Nordic Walking poles and, for the Alpine option, one uphill ride on the Sunburst chairlift.

Book through the Sun Peaks Adventure Centre located in the Village Day Lodge or call 250-578-5542.

Canadian Outdoor Company Closing Out NW Poles

DayTripping, a New Brunswick-based outdoor recreation company that sells and gear and runs programs, is closing out its inventory of Gymstick Nordic Walking poles. If you’re interested, call 506-657-8747 or E-mail for more information. Like Exel, the first Europen brand-name pole, Gymstick is a Finnish company, with fitness products that include walking poles and more. Their products include poles that incorporate bands that make it easy to add resistance training intervals to a walk.

Nordic Walking Part of New Brunswick Wellness Series

Hat’s off to the New Brunswick village of New Maryland for including Nordic Walking in its Wellness Series, according to The Daily Gleaner, which reported that “The village started the four-part series in late October to encourage participants to try physical activities to stay healthy. This final session, called Try Something New, will introduce Nordic walking techniques to citizens, said recreation co-ordinator Natalie Reid.”

The paper’s report continued, “If you can’t participate in the Tuesday evening session, the City of Fredericton will offer the Nordic walking session Nov. 10 from 10-11:30 a.m. at Willie O’Ree Place on Cliffe Street. Oromocto will host a Nordic walking session Nov. 10 from 1:30-3 p.m. at Hazen Park Centre in the town.”

New Maryland, a parish in York County, New Brunswick, with roughly 4,300 residents manages to put on a wellness program at the local elementary school,to  introduce Nordic Walking and to offer two back-up sessions. New Maryland does this in  some sort of partnership with a couple of nearby hamlets and the city of Fredericton to the north. And did I mention that the series is free? Or that New Maryland boasts several miles of marked walking/recreation trails accessible directly from the village center?

No mention of which technique is being introduced or which poles are being used in the Nordic Walking portion of this program. Just as it should be.

Armed With Poles Team to Participate in Ottawa 10K

Canadian group takes up arms against cancer

After Cleo Thompson, the studio director of an Ottawa graphic design firm called Character Creative, lost her grandmother to cancer, her colleagues and friends enlisted Nordic Walking instructor, Anna Ekstandh of Outstride Nordic Walking Ottawa to form “a team of keen nordic walkers and motivated fundraisers” to join the battle against the disease that took yet another treasured. life. In 2009, the 30-member team, called Armed With Poles, raised what they call “an astonishing amount of money for the Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s campaign for the new cancer centre in Ottawa.”

Ekstrandh is a national North American Nordic Walking Association / International Nordic Walking Association national coach. She is currently training/coaching/sponsoring the group of 55 walkers who will tackle a 10km race that is part of Ottawa Race Weekend, May 29-30. Thanks to two Annas — Anna Ekstrandh and photographer Anna Epp — here are some photos of the team in its spiffy orange “uniforms” (i.e., T-shirts):

This year, the group has set a fundraising goal of at least $10,000 for the OHF, particularly cancer research. Ekstandh notes, “Last year, we were a force (of 30) to be reckoned with in our bright orange team shirts and armed with our nordic walking poles. We certainly got noticed. So, please join us this year to be part of this unique and motivated team!”

In my book, every one of them is a winner.

Nordic Walking Classes in Montreal’s West End Area

Twice-weekly group walks set to begin

On Saturday, April 10, a two-hour Nordic Walking workshop launches a six-week season of instruction and group walks. The firest session on Saturday begins at 11:00 to 1:00 the beautiful Morgan Arboretum on the McGill University Macdonald Campus in Ste. Anne de Bellevue. Thereafter, groups walk on Wednesdays from 2:00 to 3:00 in the Morgan Arboretum and Fridays from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. in Baie d’Urfe, rue Churchill. I’m not clear on whether the $30 fee listed on the Montreal Gazette’s West End calendar listing is is just for the Saturday workshop or for a series of Nordic Walking outings. For details, contact Christina 514-425-8814 or Email

Stirrings in the Nordic Walking Pot

Outreach in North America and a new magazine in England

It seems as if the loose Nordic Walking community is seeking new connections and new communication. If Nordic Walking is ever to take off on this continent, more such initiatives are needed.

Nordic Walking Expo Planned for Minnesota in June

Great Lakes Nordic Walkers, a new group started by Twin Cities instructors that I wrote about recently, has already announced its first event: the Great Lakes Nordic Walkers Expo on June 12, 2010, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at Hyland Park in suburban Bloomington in conjunction with “National Get Outdoors Day” at Hyland Park in suburban Bloomington. No details yet, but if if follows the format of last year’s initial Nordic Walking Expo organized by Nordic Walking North America, an umbrella organization, it will be free to the public and include seminars or panels, an opportunity to try different brands and types of poles and best of all, the chance to take those first steps with some of the top trainers and instructors in the land.

The Santa Monica Expo was such an encouraging groundbreaker that I wrote three posts about it. Click here for scenes from the event. Click here for my take on the collegiality that brought key players in the North American Nordic Walking game to work together toward common goals. Click here for further reflections and a list of participants including contact information. I am looking forward to learning about plans for the Minnesota event.

NWers Seeking NWers

Meanwhile, Marek Zalewski of Nordic Walking US put out the word on his own website and also on Britain’s Nordic Walking eCommunity that he wants to facilitate an informal group in the Washington area and vicinity. He was looking ahead toward spring, because these last few weeks, his part of the country has been slammed by back-to-back blizzards. He wrote: “I was wondering if anyone in Northern Virginia, Maryland and in the Washington, DC area in general would be interested in starting some group walks. I would be willing to lead them, even provide a few initial pairs of loaner poles, some basic training for beginners, etc, at no charge. You would have to provide your own transportation, of course. We could meet in different places in the area, let’s say, once a week, twice, or even once per month. Let me know what you think, before we get too specific.” Links are on his website, or contact him at I hope he gets enough takers to make this worthwhile, and I hope he lets us know when things begin to gel.

NWNA Initiatives

Additional ideas for possible Nordic Walking Expos include one in Ottawa on May 29 concurrent with the Ottawa Marathon, a weekend that includes 10K, 5K and family 2K distances, as well as a Health and Fitness Expo. Another possibility is something in October in conjunction with World Walking Day, an international event supported by TAFISA (don’t ask me what the initials stand for). TAFISA’s goal is “to bring joy, health, social interaction, integration and development to communities and citizens around the globe through the promotion of physical activity.” Nordic Walking certainly fits there, and a look at the WWD page on the TAFISA site shows the breadth of its ambitious goals. And stay tuned for

Free Trial Subscription to New Nordic Walking Magazine

David Downer, who wears more Nordic Walking hats than I can list (I’m sure I’d forget something), established a Nordic Walking eCommunity in January 2006 and with editor Malcolm Jarvis has been putting out a weekly newsletter/blog. The next step is the new Nordic Walking Magazine, set to launch soon. Until February 21, you can sign up for a free trial subscription at least for the the first two issues. Billed as the “the world’s first English Language Nordic Walking Magazine periodical,” it will presumably cover gear, events, technique and other news. To register for the trial subscription, click here and from the home page,   the click on the “Register” tab (left beneath the header banner at the top of the page). You must register there even if you have previously registered at our pre-launch information site. After the free trial period, paid subscriptions will be kicking in at US$4.95 per month, $10.95 for three months or $29.70 a year  ($2.48 per month). A new Nordic Walking forum will also be launched.

Stay tuned for progress on all.

Snowshoeing in Banff National Park

My feature story on snowshoeing options appears in the new

Earlier this winter, I visited Banff and Lake Louise to research snowshoeing possibilities in Banff National Park. They are leggion. Snowshoers cross the pancake-flat surface of Lake Louise or circumnavigate it on the fringe of the forest. They follow unplowed summer roads and hiking paths. They snowshoe on their own or with informative guides. The highlights of the these offerings appear as a photo-filled feature called “Exploring the Vastness of Banff National Park” in the new issue of

INWA Course Scheduled for Montreal in January

INWA National Coaches, France Paquin and Patrice Duclos of Marche Nordïk FP inc (Nordïk Walking FP inc) are hosting a two-day INWA instructor certification course, January 16-17 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They promise lots of video review and analysis of individual NW technique. The cost is CDN$320 plus tax, which today is US$301.40. The course will be conducted in French, so keep that in mind is your French is feeble. For more info, call 514-773-7103.

Patrice tells me that it will take place at the Parc du Domaine Vert (10423 Montée Ste-Marianne, Mirabel, Québec J7J 2B1) and will be outdoors unless there’s an ice storm. Les Québecois don’t let a little cold or a little snow get between them and their outdoor activities.
Accommodations arrangements have been made with the Impéria Hôtel Et Suites,70 Rue Dubois,
St-Eustache, QC J7P 4W9; 450-472-3336.