by Darryl Kielec

We enjoyed many outdoor activities in Peterborough and one of the key features we were looking for in a new town was a small, active community with access to trails to walk, run or cycle on.

We looked around the surrounding Ottawa area and were able to find a nice home in Kemptville, with many trails within walking distance. I shortly found that River Road was a great spot to ride my road bike, Settlers Trail was a nice spot to run, and Ferguson Forest had more trails where we could trail ride.

I was unsure where I would ski in the wintertime, and was excited when I saw a North Grenville Times article in December 2020 about a dedicated group of volunteers that were planning to develop the Kemptville Winter Trail with groomed trails. I was impressed by the support from the Community, Council and the Mayor for the great local initiative.

The Kemptville Winter Trail was very successful and the number of people skiing on it grew over the winter.

With all the active engagement and participation in the community, I wanted to contribute to North Grenville and applied to be on the committee in February.

I was excited to be selected as a member and quickly learned that the HWFAC was an active group leading awareness of health, wellness and fitness. With so many people still being isolated from friends, family, and co-workers during COVID-19, I believe that physical activity is an important means to elevate your mood and maintain mental health.

Prior to COVID restrictions, I would compete in races or fun runs (in-person) to motivate myself to move. In the winter I signed up for a Cronk’d Virtual Fitness Challenge which motivated me to keep active.

At my first North Grenville HWFAC meeting in May, I learned of the ParticipACTION Community Challenge and quickly saw that North Grenville was ready to compete. The members of the committee have done amazing work to reach out to the community, and the response from North Grenville has been nothing less than impressive.

The list of North Grenville community participants is long, and it is great to see local neighborhoods, schools, daycares, fitness centres, clubs and organizations all contributing to our move minutes.

In fact, Mayor Peckford and Tanya Deans (Vice Chair of the Health, Wellness and Fitness Committee) were so excited about our #1 standing, that they were doing cartwheels in downtown Kemptville!

To support the challenge, I have been running on a regular basis. I have also joined the Navy Bike Ride to push me to get more Participation minutes and support a fundraising initiative. Our subdivision has a Facebook page where we have been able to promote the Participaction challenge, create some teams, and continue to grow the friendly competition.

The engagement from North Grenville has been awesome as we continue to maintain our #1 position in Ontario and Canada. Being number 1 does not automatically mean we will win Canada’s most active community.

When the contest is over (July 1), fifty finalists from across Canada will be invited to submit a bid to be named Canada’s Most Active Community. The winning communities will be announced the last week in July. We want to win the TOP PRIZE of $100,000 and be crowned Canada’s Most Active Community!

I can’t wait to see the results! Of course we want to win – and I believe we have a very good chance. But let’s not lose sight of why we started in the first place – to bring the community together and be active.

When the dust settles after this challenge, let’s continue to Stay Active NG!



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