The day of the walk was gorgeous. Sunny and cool - perfect weather for walking. Boo was suggesting 5km was plenty, but I wanted him to challenge himself a bit more than that. I really wanted to finish the full 20km, but thought that might be unrealistic. We met up with my dear friend Diana, of Toronto Teacher Mom fame, and her two kids. They were aiming for a minimum 10km, I believe. We headed off together to explore the city for as long as we could.
There were about 2800 walkers on the route. It was truly impressive as we headed out from Fort York. Can you see all the blue t-shirts waaaaay back in the distance?
A number of decorated vans, blasting fun music, were driving back and forth along the route, ready to help the walkers in case any problems arose, and costumed safety volunteers were on every corner, making sure we crossed safely. Helpful arrows kept us on our route, and neighbourhood signs welcomed us to the different areas we explored.
The walk is structured as a challenge by choice. You can walk as little as 5km, or as much as 20km. There are themed campsites spread out along the route, and shuttle buses provide transportation back to Main Camp from each one. At the first campsite (2.5km), Camp Messy Hands, we added our handprints to a large sign that was then displayed at the end of the day back at main site.
The campsites had snacks and refreshments, activities, and washroom facilities. We were also served breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so they kept us well provisioned!
Aside from the campsite fun, we really just enjoyed the chance to walk through different neighbourhoods and see the sights. The route isn't advertised in advance, so it's all a bit of a surprise. We started trying to guess were the next stop would be, based on the direction we were heading, and we were right a few times. I found this statue of Al Waxman, the King of Kensington, and simply had to get my picture with him.
And we saw tons of these Little Free Libraries. Diana's daughter even found a new read in one!
So, how did we do? At 10km, Boo was DONE. But we convinced him to do one more stop. At 12.5km, we admitted it was time to go. My hips were really starting to feel the strain (arthritis). We agreed to hop on the shuttle bus, but then learned we had to walk another couple of blocks to the 15km campsite to get it, where they were jumping rope. It was a short-cut, so we didn't actually walk 15km, but we did get to enjoy an extra set of activities before the bus came. We all took a turn at the skipping, which I immediately regretted when the inevitable middle aged lady LBL occured. But c'est la vie. It was fun, and I was impressed I could still do it.
|We received special badges at each campsite, and for completing specific distances. |
Wonderful souvenirs of the day!
Back at Main Camp there was tons more going on, including tie-dye t-shirts, kangaroo boots, rock climbing, soft-tip archery, tons of food, and more. Canaccord Genuity sponsored an amazing Fun Zone, with so much for the kids. And all for free! Bubble wands, helium balloons, ice cream treats, and so on.
It was an incredible day. Boo and I are already gearing up to walk again in 2017. We registered for next year's walk before we left Main Camp :) Do you think you'd like to join us next year? 2017 registration is open, and registration fees are greatly reduced if you sign up by October 15. Right now it's only $20 per adult and $10 per youth! This is a great deal, and you'll be doing a great thing by joining the Walk and fundraising drive.
Disclosure: I will receive financial compensation for my work as an ambassador for the Walk for SickKids. However, all opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own. We are long-time SickKids supporters, and I am delighted to work with them on this event!