School Champions of the iCanwalk to School…can you? Campaign celebrated by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and Green Communities Canada

TORONTO, June 8, 2011 /CNW/ - Today, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and Green Communities Canada, celebrate the success of school champions from 10 regional elementary schools for their participation in the iCANwalk to school… can you? campaign with students, parents, staff and community members at Wismer and Donald Cousens Public Schools in Markham, Ontario. Also joining us will be Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti.

Students at 10 schools across Ontario will be receiving awards for their outstanding efforts. More than 100 Ontario schools registered their pledges to increase walking - to school and in school - and log their progress. The students logged in a total of 63,000 kilometers walked over the course of this school year, avoiding 5,505 vehicle trips to school. That's the equivalent of walking across Canada nine times! During the campaign, schools were asked to make a pledge to increase walking - to school and in school - and to register online to log their progress throughout the year.

"Walking to school is an important and easy way for Ontario's children and young people to be active. With partners like the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario and Green Communities Canada, The McGuinty government is committed to getting as many students walking to school as possible and together, building a stronger and healthier province," says Margarett Best, Minister of Health Promotion and Sport.

"Whether it's walking, pedalling a bike, skateboarding or jumping rope, increasing physical activity is a powerful means of putting kids on the fast track to a heart-healthy lifestyle. We believe investments in programs like iCANwalk to school…can you? will help us make Ontario the healthiest province in Canada," says Sharon Brodovsky of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.

Students agree. "I think walking to school Wednesdays has helped me get more exercise throughout the day! It is so much fun walking with friends and talking," says Vishva, a grade 6 student at Wismer Public School in Markham, Ont. "It feels like a lot more people are walking and we are all together!"

The award ceremony took place on Clean Air Day. "Today provides the perfect opportunity to wrap-up and celebrate the achievements of Ontario schools who have held year-long campaigns to encourage families to walk to school," says Jacky Kennedy, Green Communities Canada. "Walking regularly with school chums is a great way to keep fit, get to know your neighbourhood and help reduce pollution."

Wismer Public School and Donald Cousens Public School are two of 24 schools who have participated in iCANwalk to school…can you? across York Region. Partners include the Town of Markham, The Regional Municipality of York and York Regional Police who have worked collaboratively to create comprehensive travel plans for both of these schools. This work ties directly to the Town of Markham's sustainability plan and the Markham Transportation Strategic Plan, currently in progress, as well as York Region's Healthy Schools program and the upcoming "Going to school - go active!" public health campaign.

For more information about active school travel initiatives visit: www.saferoutestoschool.ca

To learn more about the Heart and Stroke Foundation's healthy kids' initiatives, visit www.heartandstroke.ca/spark.

Project partners for iCANwalk to school…can you? are Green Communities Canada, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, The Regional Municipality of York, Town of Markham, York Region District School Board, and York Catholic District School Board.

Green Communities Canada is a national association of non-profit organizations that deliver innovative, practical environmental solutions to Canadian households and communities. For more information, visit www.saferoutestoschool.ca/schooltravel.asp.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy.

SOURCE Green Communities Canada

For further information:

Green Communities Canada
Jacky Kennedy
Tel: 416-488-7263
Cell: 416-922-5496
info@saferoutestoschool.ca
www.saferoutestoschool.ca

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario
Teresa Roncon, External Media Relations
Tel: 416-489-7111, ext. 482
Email: troncon@hsf.on.ca

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Green Communities Canada

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