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Street conversion encourages outdoor activity


June 29, 2016
By Mike Jiggens

Three Ontario communities—Picton, Woodstock and Huntsville—are converting normally busy streets into park-like settings this summer to educate people about the health benefits of being active outdoors.

The participating communities will encourage local residents to get outside and play as part of this summer’s inaugural Green Street Challenge. The program is being organized by Landscape Ontario and Come Alive Outside, a non-profit organization in the United Stated that works with partners in the landscaping profession to encourage healthy, active lifestyles.

In partnership with Come Alive Outside, Landscape Ontario members will lay sod on sections of streets in Picton, Woodstock and Huntsville in conjunction with Canada Day celebrations and other community events this summer.

“Outdoor play is essential for our health and happiness,” said Denis Flanagan of Landscape Ontario. “But we’re all so busy and preoccupied with everything else going on in our daily lives that many of us don’t get outside to play and have fun nearly enough. We wanted to do something that raises awareness about this issue in a fun and memorable way.”

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The Green Street Challenge follows on the success of a similar event Wentworth Landscapes has hosted in Picton for the past five years in partnership with the municipality’s Business Improvement Association.

The Green Street Challenge will take place in Picton on July 1, in Woodstock on Aug. 6 and in Huntsville on Aug. 16.

Scott Wentworth, who sits on the board of directors for Come Alive Outside, commended the three communities for getting involved in the initiative and helping raise awareness about the benefits of getting off the couch and going outdoors.

“The average Canadian today spends about half as much time outdoors than they did 30 years ago,” said Mr. Wentworth. “On top of that, only about 9 per cent of Canadian youths get 60 minutes of recommended daily activity. Providing opportunities for people to have fun outside — even in temporary green spaces — will ultimately help create healthier, more outdoor friendly places to live.”

For more information on the Green Street Challenge, visit http://comealiveoutside.com .