The trip to and from school is an important part of the day for children and youth. It can be a chance to be outside, to spend time with parents or caregivers and friends, and eventually to develop a sense of independence. Active modes of transportation – walking, biking, scootering and more – confer the most benefits. But since 1985, in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, the number of students being driven to school has doubled to over 30%, while the number traveling by active modes has fallen to under 40%.
CultureLink has become involved in the growing movement to reverse this worrying trend, through our award-winning cycling program developed with Cycle Toronto. We work directly with students, teachers and parents to nurture a bike culture in schools across our city.
What we do
- Provide cycling education programs to students during the school day
- Support teachers and students to establish bike clubs and campaigns at secondary schools
- Engage and support School Councils in making their communities safer and better for biking to school
- Coordinate Bike to School Week, which has involved over 90,000 students since 2016
- Successfully advocating with the Toronto District School Board to adopt the TDSB Charter for Active, Safe and Sustainable Transportation, to declare their first-ever Bike to School Day in May 2014, and to establish a standard for bicycle parking on school property
- Involving over 100 teachers in leading bike clubs and programs at secondary schools
- Reaching over 37,000 Toronto students with cycling education programs since April 2016!
Getting in touch
Any TDSB teacher may request a free cycling education program provided by our staff at their school, via the TDSB EcoSchools program. Visit the Cycling Supports page and click on “Cycling Education Programs” for more information and the application form.
Parents and administrators may request a free Safe Family Cycling presentation to the School Council, by Samuel Perry of our Families and Educators for Safe Cycling Project. Multiple free cycling resources will be provided. Contact Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-588-6288. The Families and Educators for Safe Cycling Project is funded by the Metcalf Foundation.
Toronto teachers or students in secondary school, who are interested in starting a school bike club or other bike-related program, may contact Chantelle Campbell-Sholzberg at email@example.com or 416-588-6288 x203.
For other inquiries or new partnership ideas, please contact Kristin Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-588-6288 x229.
Project history and recognition
Since 2008, CultureLink has been involved in a partnership with Cycle Toronto, to encourage newcomers to cycle in and around Toronto because cycling is affordable, healthy, and convenient. More and more people are choosing to travel/commute by bicycle every year. Many newcomers are coming from countries where cycling is even more established as a mode of transportation, and we have encouraged newcomers to retain and share that habit in Toronto. Our innovative partnership has been recognized with five awards: including the 2010 Excellence in Sustainable Transportation award from the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association, the Alliance for Biking and Walking 2010 Advocacy Innovation of the Year Award and the 2016 Wheels of Change Advocacy Award from Share the Road Cycling Coalition.
The Bike to School Project – a collaboration between CultureLink, Cycle Toronto and the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank – acknowledges the support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Toronto District School Board and Smart Commute, a program of Metrolinx. Past funders have included the Toronto Foundation, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation Cycling Training Fund, and the Toronto Bicycling Network.