Bike Host matches up newcomers who are open to cycling with mentors who ride regularly. In large and small group activities, Bike Host participants practice their communication skills and learn about civic engagement, all while exploring Toronto by bike. It is a great opportunity for the newcomers to gain some Canadian Experience while enjoying fun and healthy outdoor activities.
In 2015 we were pleased to partner with the South Riverdale Community Health Centre to offer Bike Host specifically in the Blake-Jones, Pape-Cosburn, Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park neighbourhoods. Our main location (at Dundas West and Bloor) continued to serve newcomers from all over Toronto.
BECOME A MENTOR
Mentors are interesting and outgoing Toronto residents from all walks of life. They have strong communication skills and a genuine desire to create a more welcoming community. They must ride regularly and be reasonably confident on city streets. Mentors are required to be at least 18 years of age. Expected volunteer commitment is approximately 30 hours between June and October. Responsibilities include regular communication with newcomer participants and CultureLink staff, planning activities with 2-4 newcomer participants at mutually agreeable times, participating in monthly large group activities, and supporting development of cycling skills and confidence.
Mentor recruitment for 2016 will begin in April – please check back then for more details. In the meantime, you may review this information about CultureLink’s mentorship programs, and click on the “Become a Mentor” button to sign up.
WHO ARE THE NEWCOMER PARTICIPANTS?
Bike Host newcomer participants are from around the world, who have typically lived in Canada anywhere from a few months to 3 years. They know how to ride a bicycle, and they are able to borrow a Bike Host bike for the summer if they don’t have a bicycle of their own.
To register, visit CultureLink Mentorship Programs, click on “Newcomers Sign Up Here!”, and complete the intake form. Thank you!
HIGHLIGHTS AND MEDIA COVERAGE
March 25, 2015, Metro News: Bike Host program helps newcomers get in gear in Toronto
March 19, 2015, Spacing blog: Bikes, Community and New Lives
March 12, 2015, Spacing blog: Green settlement: living sustainable lives in Canada
June 3, 2014, Canadian Immigrant: A Toronto program uses two wheels to connect newcomers to the city
October 23, 2013, Spacing Magazine: Cycling Think & Do Tank: Bikes and Barriers — Is it only the physical ones that matter to New Canadians?
Spring 2012, Rogers TV: Introducing Toronto
April 23, 2012, Toronto Star and Metro: Newcomers to Toronto connect to the city on two wheels
April 20, 2012, CBC’s “Here and Now”: Discovering the city – with a little help from some friends
April 17, 2012, Sing Tao (biggest Chinese newspaper in Canada)
Bike Host is affiliated both with CultureLink’s Community Connections Mentorship Program and the Bike to School Project offered by CultureLink in collaboration with Cycle Toronto, the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank, and Evergreen. It is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and (in 2014) the Metcalf Foundation.