Participants symbolically reach PEI at Essroc Arena
Some 27 Prince Edward County residents walked over 1,530 km this year without leaving the comforts of the Wellington and District Community Centre.
The municipality challenged residents to walk that distance as part of an effort to symbolically walk to Charlottetown, PEI to mark 150 years of Confederation. Local walker Ralph Hall offered the idea, manager of community centres Lisa Lindsay explained at a celebration event Monday.
“This was the community centre’s third walking challenge. We first started off with walking a marathon during the Olympics. We then moved on to walk around the county — which ended up being a very interesting piece. Some people were concerned we were really going to be walking on their properties,” Lindsay said.
This year, there were fewer calls from people confused about where walkers were going and a larger number ready to participate. Some 100 people started out on the challenge, including many seniors. Lindsay said, ultimately, the goal was to get people using the walking track above the Essroc Arena ice.
“The purpose of this event and these activities and challenges are for people to know that there’s a very safe, temperature-controlled area with support services and washrooms for people to use in this beautiful facility we have,” she said. “You are all advocates for this track. We’re very happy to share in your success.”
Mayor Robert Quaiff decided to make handing out certificates of achievements for those who met the goal his last official duty before taking a leave of absence to run in the provincial election.
Quaiff offered congratulations for the many involved.
“We walked 1,530 km. That’s quite an accomplishment. It’s great to see so many people in the room who participated in this,” he said. “It’s quite an accomplishment to commit to that and to do it every day.”
The mayor said he was pleased to have a great facility and noted that council has been so impressed, it is considering adding another track around the Picton rink — though that one would be outdoors and seasonal.
“More of our focus seems to be around exercise and better health benefits and things like that. It’s probably pretty important and key for us now,” he said, adding the county now has one of the largest senior populations in all of Ontario, if not the largest.