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Click on each of the icons below to find out how to activate your neighbourhood for everyone

Rural / Remote

Underutilized spaces in your community can be a gathering place for fun activity. Stage a pickup game of shinny on a frozen pond, an obstacle course in a fallow farm field, or ball hockey on an empty city lot. Think about organizing a neighbourhood scavenger hunt in your local park or through each other’s backyards, away from city traffic.

Residences (Dwellings)

You can use the stairs in apartment buildings or condos instead of the elevator or plan a fun stair-climbing challenge for family members and neighbours. Use nearby schools, parks, and playgrounds to play as a family or with a group of neighbours if you don’t have a front yard.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

Include sports and other recreational activities from a variety of cultures such as cricket and badminton. Programs aimed at specific groups such as Indigenous women helps to motivate participation and provides a sense of belonging. Community parks with swings, slides and other equipment are free for everyone to use. Many activities can be played with homemade equipment.


When hosting a large event, ensure that people of all abilities can access the spaces. Are there curb cuts where you plan to host an event or activity? Are signs written on a white background in large, dark letters? Are there opportunities to adapt a game or sport, such as sledge hockey, to everyone regardless of ability? Work with your local community organizations who serve people with a disability, or parks and recreation to borrow adapted equipment for people of all abilities to use (e.g., hand cycle bikes, sledges, balls that make sounds).


Choose activities that are easily adaptable and popular for people of all ages such as yoga or walking. Provide benches in front of your house or apartment for rest, and to sit and chat with someone who may also be walking/wheeling by. Provide opportunities for young and older to play together. Use balls and other equipment that is bigger, softer and easier to hold (e.g., beach balls, fuzzy balls).


As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing. Arrange a neighbourhood clothing swap or donation program to ensure that you and your neighbours have the right attire to be active in any type of weather. For really cold days, online yoga or fitness classes are a good alternative.

Work Out Using Park Space

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Turn any park, playground or open space into a workout space! Search some activity ideas and workout plans to get started, all without equipment and through any season. An urban exercise trail using what exists in nature and the built environment can create equitable access to play and fitness. Do step-ups on fallen logs or the curb, push-ups using a park bench, skip down the sidewalk and jump over the cracks. The possibilities are endless!

Create a Fitness Space for Your Neighbours

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Many outdoor activity kits can be purchased online for low to medium cost. Do it yourself, or work with your neighbours to create different activities at different houses.


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Practice your balance outdoors where all you need is a slackline and a few trees. Check out this YouTube video to learn how to slackline for beginners.

Pickup Skateboarding

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Try something new like skateboarding and invite others to join you. Learn about how to get a skatepark built in your own town and the Public Skatepark Development Guide.

Park(ing) Day for Fitness!

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Just like Park(ing) Day in the Naturalize Strategy, that transforms parking spaces into parks, this same concept turns parking spaces into fitness spaces. Organize a Park(ing) day for Fitness any time or join the international event during the third week of September.

Walk and Roll

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Organize a community walk and roll outing for social connection and exploration that ensures people of all abilities can participate.

Unleash the Winter Activities

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“If you choose not to find joy in the snow, you will have less joy. But still the same amount of snow!” So, use the snow and cold to have fun in ways you may have never thought of before. Consider winter weather activity ideas or stick to the tried-and-true activities such as ice skating, ice and sledge hockey, team snowball fights and tobogganing. Try these winter weather tips to ensure you are equipped in the great outdoors when it gets cold. Find resources online for kid-friendly activities and action planning worksheets, best practices in helping newcomers adapt to winter, fire pit policies, snow management, and winter life surveys.

For more information on activating winter:

Create a Fit Path

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With some coordination and low-cost equipment, you can create an urban exercise trail featuring simple, equipment-free activity stations to create equitable access to play and fitness.

You can use what exists in nature and the built environment to create your own fitness path. Do step-ups on fallen logs or the curb, push-ups using a park bench, skip down the sidewalk and jump over the cracks. The possibilities are endless!

Mall Walking

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Try out a climate-friendly walking/wheeling group if you live nearby a mall. Some organized groups meet before the stores officially open while others arrange to walk/wheel with friends on their own. Walking in the mall can be great for all ages and a source of physical activity and friendship!

Pumpkin Walk

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Enjoy your decorated pumpkins just a little bit longer. Following Halloween, neighbours can take their carved pumpkins to a local golf course or park and host a lighted path for everyone to view their artistry. Once the display is over, the pumpkins find a new use as feed for farm animals (so no waste)!

Tai Chi

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Public spaces are perfect locations for fitness classes. Consider Tai Chi, a mix of yoga and meditation. Check your local municipality website or consider starting your own at your local park!

Solo Active Play

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If you feel like getting out on your own or can’t find anyone to play with, try these activities that you can perform solo:

  1. Hit a tennis ball against the wall of a local school (or other building).
  2. Dribble a basketball on and around your street in search of a basketball net. Take some shots or layups as you pass by. Most schools have basketball nets you can use as well
  3. Play “7-Up” against the wall (watch the video).
  4. Put on some music and dance.
  5. Go to the park and (safely) hit practice golf balls.
  6. Twirl a Hula Hoop around your waist.
  7. Walk, jog, or skip on the spot or do a walking fitness class.
  8. Set up a net and take shots to score — with a hockey stick and puck or a soccer ball.
  9. Create a “dartboard” with chalk on a fence or wall. Use small balls, bean bags or other small objects as the darts.

Sports You Can Do With a Neighbour or With the Neighbourhood

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You can also brush up on your skills by inviting other neighbours to a friendly game of:

  1. Basketball – Use existing nets on the street and create your own game by changing locations. At the very least, invite the neighbours to use your net.
  2. Pickleball – Draw the lines of a pickleball court on the street and play.
  3. Street hockey in the summer or ice/sledge hockey in the winter is a great activity that only requires some portable equipment and a little time. You can meet your neighbours by asking if they’d like to play, or build your own rink and invite your neighbours to use it.
  4. Host a clinic or workshop at your local park or community centre – Are you passionate about a sport or activity? Teach your neighbours anything from soccer to knitting! Book space in your local community centre, library, or park, invite participants with flyers and through social media and get started! Check for grants available through your municipality/town or consider hosting for free or at minimal cost to provide access to everyone, including newcomers to Canada, lower-income neighbours, or older adults living on a tight budget.

Add Bike Parking to Your Driveway, Street, or Building Parking Lot

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Encourage friends and neighbours to visit you using active transportation. Ask your building owner, municipality, and/or local businesses to provide and/or install bike racks at business locations or in residential neighbourhoods! Use your imagination and create your own bike rack for your driveway.

Traditional Indigenous Games

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Introduce your youngest neighbours to Indigenous Games.

Create a Points of Interest map

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Do you have a special walking/wheeling route or places you like to visit in your neighbourhood? Create a Points of Interest map and guide your neighbours on a virtual tour by simply sending them a link!

Be Up Front About Play!

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Brighten your neighbours’ day with a little activity. Set up some equipment in your front yard and a sign inviting people to use your lawn games whenever they want!

You can also set up badminton nets and leave out a bocci ball or croquet set. Heck, consider building your backyard ice rink in the front yard, instead!

Fix Up Your Local Park

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Connect with others to create creative programming in your local park, like pop-up adventure playgrounds, or think about making a proposal for some permanent, accessible equipment in your park! Some equipment appeals across generations — take a look at some age-friendly equipment designs and the WHO checklist of essential features of age-friendly spaces.

Coordinate a “Play Street,” or “Open Street”

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Open a local street to everything but car traffic and play and enjoy the space safely. Play Streets and Open Streets have been a huge success in many areas. Be sure to coordinate with your municipal/town council.

Make it more active – Though already active, there are ways to encourage ongoing movement as a result of these events. For example, ask local walking leaders or local gardening group representative to set up a booth to meet people and invite others to join the groups; launch an activity challenge; provide maps of local playgrounds and walking pathways; offer bicycle repair and/or maintenance advice onsite; provide a demonstration of active games to play with kids; promote local equipment loan programs; connect the events with other sustainable placemaking ideas, such as the launch of new sensory pathways or new community based walking groups.

Dog-gone It … Create a Park!

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Socializing with your dog is a great way to meet your neighbours and get active. Consider starting a neighbourhood dog park with this AKC GuideTruitt Bark Park is an example of a dog park that went from a pop-up gathering space to a permanent fixture in the area. Plan a daily time and location where dog owners can meet in a local park (that allows dogs). You will probably know the names of the dogs before the owners … but it’s a great way to socialize for both people and dogs. More information is available here.

If creating a whole dog park makes you … paws … organize dog walking events in your neighbourhood instead.

For more information: Designing a destination dog park


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Encourage community members to walk/wheel to their destinations and interact with the city space along the way. In the City of Mount Hope, West Virginia, neighbours have created a wayfinding program, “Walk (Your City).” Meet up with others and show them how easy it is to walk/wheel to meaningful places! The City of Vancouver has a wayfinding initiative to encourage walking and exploration, as well as transit integration. You can also show off your neighbourhood like the City of Ottawa does by inviting people to participate in Jane’s Walk.


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You may remember seeing this on the news. Draw a “racetrack” on your driveway for bikes, strollers, walkers, scooters, or anyone!

Story Trail

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Create an interactive and interpretive trail to tell your area’s history in an innovative way and encourage getting active outdoors. The Tsútswecw Provincial Park is an example of a story trail with signs offering up a wealth of knowledge about the trail. Follow the Tsútswecw Provincial Park example on the BC Parks website.

Mountain Biking

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Biking, hand cycling (or use of another adapted bike), or mountain biking can be a great way to challenge yourself while enjoying nature. If your area does not have any trails, think about starting a group to build some with wood, including jumps. This can also be done in an open field with more equipment if you don’t live in an area featuring trails or forests that can accommodate mountain biking.

Sprinkler Symphony

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Organize with your neighbours to set up sprinklers on your front lawns at the same time during a hot summer’s day and coordinate a sprinkler run (or wheel) through the neighbourhood.

Sports Equipment Lending

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Work with your local library or community centre to establish a sport equipment lending program or create a neighbourhood sport equipment swap program using a cabinet like the “little free library” boxes.

Quick Tips and Ideas

  • Set-up hockey nets on a lake or leave a hockey net and sticks out on your driveway or in an apartment common space and put a sign out encouraging their use.
  • Create a neighbourhood walking tour. Pick a theme such as local history, a garden tour or creative/painted door. Ensure neighbours requiring mobile assistance can join.
  • Work with the municipality to create safe, connected, and paved bike paths and walking/wheeling trails.
  • Start a bike-lending and bike-fixing program. Extend this to winter activities and lend snowshoes, skates, toboggans, sledges, and cross-country skis.
  • Be creative with how you can use sidewalks beyond just for walking or wheeling.
  • Project recorded physical activity classes on buildings at different times of the day for people to participate.
  • Host birthday parties outdoors or at a local playground.
  • Light up the night — string up lights along a trail to illuminate it at night.
  • Invite people to use your rural property to explore, play on, or toboggan.
  • Start neighbourhood exercise classes — on your lawn, in your driveway, in the common spaces of apartment buildings, care residences or shelters.
  • Paint steps to look like a piano or in many colours to draw people to them and make them safer. Different colours on steps and a painted white line at the edge of steps is recommended for increased accessibility for those with vision problems.
  • Enjoy an afternoon of Birdwatching.
  • Participate in a Bioblitz — an event that focuses on finding and identifying as many species as possible in a specific area, over a short period of time.