We are closed.
Parkdale Walking Group (PWG) was as a social initiative located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, facilitated by Althea Knight and Robert Huff.
The Parkdale Walking Group (PWG ) was founded in March of 2015 by Althea Knight and Ashley Gryzbowski in order to provide engaging and relaxed walking experiences; with the desire to increase community well-being, reduce social isolation, and foster relationships not only within the group but also to the local environment.
As a resident led volunteer initiative promoting: agency, inclusiveness and communal decision making, the PWG would meet weekly and decide as a group where they would explore on that particular day. This ensured every voice was given a chance to be heard and considered. Once the group had reached a consensus, off we would go, allowing for authentic conversations, and knowledge to be exchanged and shared by all members of the group which led to a rich diversity of topics and information being discussed and shared. Parkdale happenings, planting tips, social justice issues, cultural happenings, good deals, etc.
Always on your walks, nature’s bounty and man-made creations were pointed out and discussed, not only by the facilitators, but also by group members. And kindness, the only requisite to joining was always practiced.
Ashley left in November of 2015 and we were sad to see her go, although happy for her and her new life to come. Althea continued to lead weekly walks up till May of 2016 when she then stepped away for a much needed break.
After completing a Nature Ambassador Training course with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) at Tommy Thompson Park in the summer of 2016, Althea’s enthusiasm to share the gifts of the natural environment one more time, were renewed and she brought in the element of mindfulness meditation to round out the walking experience, with a walk down to the Lake in October 2016.
One month later, Robert Huff, who also trained with the Nature Ambassador program, came on board, and the PWG was off and running, or should we say “walking” again with a new website, posters, and social media presence spearheaded by Robert and a new walking program created by Althea. The walks are now co-led by both.
We would be remiss not to thank our wonderful community for the support it has shown us from the very start. And I would like to mention some names specifically. Thank you to: Danny the knitter, who listened to my ideas when I first talked of wanting to start a walking group a year or 2 before it got up and running/walking. Moses, who so beautifully described our walks and was the creator of our first website. The Parkdale Library, the librarians, and particularly Nancy, who promoted the walks with vim and vigour. St John’s mission who provided PWG with snacks and water for the first few months. To the SHRC – the Self Help Resource Centre, who encouraged me to lead groups after attending their walks as a participant. The SHRC also facilitated “a start your own group” where Ashley and I first met. In addition, I would like to thank all those who have spread the word about the PWG and the walks.
And now with this reincarnation of the PWG we give thanks to: the TRCA, and Raja at Tommy Thompson Park for their support and encouragement; all the community group connections that have been made and the support and learning that comes with partnerships. And the biggest thanks of all, to each and every individual who has joined us on our walks, from our neighbourhood and beyond, making the PWG a place for positive walking experiences in and around our neighbourhood.
Here’s to many more walks together. And to those who have yet to walk with us, you are most welcome. Until then, “Walk Good” as they say in Jamaica.
Co-founder and Director of the PWG,