Unanimous support for safer streets for Active Transportation during COVID 19!


A victory for active transportation supporters! (and for everyone else who wants safe, vibrant cities)

On Monday May 16, Guelph City Council unanimously adopted two safer streets motions,  Behind the scenes, GCAT was hard at work helping to move these initiatives forward

Before the council meeting, we wrote to Wellington-Dufferin Guelph Public Health to get clarity on its position on physical distancing, and how distancing relates to public spaces.

Public Health wrote back. Its letter (at the bottom of this GCAT blog post) supported our request. This letter moved the needle for many councillors, and we are grateful for the support.


Many of you also contacted your councillors to encourage them to support the motion. Nothing happens without community involvement, so to everyone who acted – thank you!

Thanks, too, to Mayor Cam Guthrie who after the vote produced this excellent video to give people a “heads up” of the upcoming changes!

If you are happy about this, please pass on your thanks…to the mayor and your councillors. Supportive emails or social media posts of encouragement are appreciated and go a long way!

Next Up!

Learn more about the ever growing Quiet Street movement, a low-cost initiative in which barriers are used to slow cars and give notice that pedestrians and cyclists have priority.  Here’s what is happening in Toronto.

Please write us at info@gcat.ca with your thoughts on what you would like to see happen in the city of Guelph. What should happen to our public spaces that would encourage people to get physical activity and to support people to get out of their cars? We are compiling a list over the next few weeks, and we want to know what you think.

And remember, we are loudest when we speak collectively! Consider becoming a GCAT member today (only $10!) and help make Guelph a great life-sized city that works for everyone!

Two cycling events coming your way in June!

and there will be more!
June 9, and June 28-July 26 
Read below about both of them!  

(Virtual) 2Rivers on 2Wheels and a Cold Brew Too 

June 9, at 6:45pm

RSVP to get the link to join the event. If you can not make the live event, your will be sent a recording afterwards

Join Dr. Laura Brown from Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation for this online adventure as we explore Guelph’s river systems under pedal power. Floodplains, underground streams, ancient riverbanks, waterfalls, the confluence of Guelph’s two Rivers, a bit of history and a lot of geographic insight. We are creating a virtual tour with video clips and photos. We will also share a route map that can be uploaded to your phone with the stops of the virtual tour marked so that you could take your own tour at social distance.


Tour de Guelph
June 26-July 28

Register today and complete a ride or walk any time starting June 28th until July 26th!
Register today and have it your way!You choose when to ride, any time starting Sunday, June 28th to Sunday, July 26th, 2020.You can choose any route you’d like, choose any route from our website, or make up your own route!You can even choose to walk or do your ride on your indoor bike trainer.
And thanks to Harvey’s Restaurants of Guelph, when you register to participate in this year’s Tour de Guelph, you’ll receive a coupon for a FREE Harvey’s burger to enjoy the way you like it, and any time you want following the event period!

There is no registration fee to participate this year!
We only ask for a minimum $25 fundraising commitment. When you register, an online fundraising page will be automatically created for you to safely collect donations online.

While the minimum fundraising commitment is $25, you can choose to raise as much as you like and qualify for our milestone and top fundraiser prizes!
Raise $300 and receive a FREE Tour de Guelph JerseyRaise $500 and also receive a FREE Tour de Guelph sweat towelRaise $1000 and also receive a FREE Tour de Guelph cycling jacketPlus, when you raise $1000 or more, you’ll be entered to win one of our top fundraiser prizes. Youth fundraisers will also be entered to win top youth fundraiser prizes when they raise $300 or more.
Last year was our biggest year with over 750 riders, but let’s make 2020 our best and biggest ride yet!

The Tour de Guelph Planning Committee,
The Foundation of Guelph General Hospital,
The Rotary Clubs of Guelph South and Guelph Trillium

Walk or bike to enjoy the Magnificent Magnolia tour May 15-now extended to Sunday May 24

*changed from  May 11 start date due to weather conditions

Spring is bringing welcome relief from indoor confinement and social isolation during the COVID-19 crisis. From May 15-May 23, there is an opportunity get out for a (socially distanced) bike ride or walk in your neighbourhood to check out the beautiful magnolia trees!

 For the past five years, Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation has sponsored a “Magnificent Magnolia” bicycle ride to enjoy trees in bloom in several Guelph neighbourhoods. This year, due to COVID 19, they are still offering an opportunity to visit the trees while socially distancing.

 GCAT is partnering with Michael House Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services, (MHPPSS) a local charity that is struggling to make ends meet due to having to cancel regular fundraising events.  Participants in the tour will be invited to walk or bike to magnolia tree locations, invited to take a photo and then hashtag #guelphmagnolia on social media, and to make online donations to MHPPSS.  www.michaelhouse.ca 

The Magnificent Magnolia Tour will be spread out over the period of May 15 to 23, rather than being on one day, in order to permit as many people as possible to view the wonderful trees. People are reminded, that when walking or biking, to not travel in groups, and to maintain social distance from other participants as they stop on the sidewalk to take pictures. 

Please join in! A list of magnolia tree locations will be made available for participants.

 For more information, contact Karen Kamphuis at  Karen@michaelhouse.ca or call 519-766-7675, #105 or, visit www.michaelhouse.ca

Also, a special thank you to Ned Coates, who began the Magnificent Magnolia Ride 5 years ago!

Endorsement from WDG Public Health to reallocate road space for active transportation


Hello all,

As you may or may not know, at this Monday May 11 Guelph City Council meeting, the issue of reallocation of public space, including street space, to make more room for active transportation is coming up in two motions. One motion is by councillor Cathy Downer, and another by councillor James Gordon.

 In a previous email to members and supporters, as well as on our GCAT blog, we have asked for people to support James Gordon’s motion in this regard.  (Councillor Downer had not yet made her motion at that time.) 

In the meantime,  GCAT reached out WDG public health for clarity on their position regarding reallocating street  space for active transportation, and the need to physically distance in areas where sidewalk space is constrained.

WDG Public Health responded. At the bottom of the page, you will see their response.

Since then, councillor Cathy Downer made a motion.

Motion from Councillor Downer 

“That staff be directed to prepare a plan and associated funding sources for physical distancing in outdoor public spaces, where possible, that is informed by public health safety guidelines and advice in order to ready the community for a phased return to pre-COVID-19 activities and that staff report back to Council via the monthly COVID-19 update meetings.”

And Councillor Gordon amended his motion to read:

“That staff be directed to examine methods to adhere to physical distancing guidelines and public health advice through the implementation of active transportation options to support the health and wellbeing of our citizens during our collective fight against COVID-19. And that the identified funding source be reallocated as one-time use from the 2020 approved Mayor and Council training and conference budget – account 702-0000-24 and account 701-0000-34 up to $45,000. And that staff prioritize existing owned city infrastructure or materials to accomplish the separation of vehicular and pedestrian/cyclists. And that any changes to areas be clearly communicated in advance to the public. And that Council acknowledge that these actions will be temporary and on a trial basis where staff will monitor and make adjustments as necessary. And that such initiatives will be implemented as soon as possible.”

Please let your ward councillors know that you support both motions, and want to get out and walk and bike, for essentials and for physical and mental health. And that you want the space to be safe while doing so! 

Feel free to contact info@gcat.ca for more information. 

Reallocating Public Space during Covid 19-call to action


Hello active transportation supporters,

Our community, as well as the rest of the world, has undergone many changes due to the emergence of a new coronavirus. The only weapon we have to slow the spread of this virus is physical distancing.  Health officials say that it’s crucial to maintain physical distancing likely for many months, if not longer, until a vaccine is developed and then administered.

I’m sure you’ve been getting outside for some fresh spring air and going for a walk or for a bike ride. However, even though there are fewer cars on the road, maintaining the recommended two-meter distance from your neighbours is difficult without stepping onto the road and essentially into traffic. Public transport isn’t much of an option with reduced runs and reduced capacity.

Some municipalities are adopting measures to expand cycling and walking spaces into roadways by reducing car capacity https://www.tcat.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Example-street-re-balancing-in-Canada.pdf

Don’t you want Guelph to be one of those municipalities? We are in a unique position to make this happen because this motion will be presented at the May 11th City Council meeting:

Recommendation: That staff be directed to prioritize work to close traffic lanes during the COVID-19 public health emergency to support social distancing by creating special separated active transportation routes in strategic locations with funding of up to $50,000 reallocated from capital project New Sidewalk Construction (RD0283). 

By contacting our City Councillors (their email addresses are provided below) or clerks@guelph.ca you can let them know that you support this motion.  If you want to write a letter to appear as part of public record or you want to delegate, please sign up before 10 am on Friday May 8.

Here is what we would like to see:

Increase road share given to active transportation users. Public health directs us to give at least 2 metres of space between strangers to support “social distancing” (more for joggers and cyclists) but without more public road space allocated to walkers and bikers the city as configured does not allow residents to follow this directive.

 In many parts of the city, people are walking on the road or the city-owned boulevards to give each other the required space. This is not possible in certain places, namely at bridges  with busy streets, narrow sidewalks, and an absence of green space. 

Some such places have high active transportation traffic volumes and we are asking the city to temporarily repurpose vehicle lanes to give other road users the space they need.

 We have specifically identified the following:

(a) Wyndham Street through the downtown core, 

(b) Several bridge pinch points that are badly in need of more space for social distancing and which have multiple traffic lanes, such as

  1. Speedvale Avenue Bridge over the Speed River, and 
  2. Eramosa Road Bridge, and Macdonell Street Bridge over the Speed River as being areas that are badly in need of more space for social distancing and which have multiple traffic lanes. 

It is our opinion that these suggestions could be implemented quickly and with a minimum of staffing requirements, and constitute an “easy win” in the initial fight against the spread of COVID-19. This is not a time for business-as-usual thinking, and we hope these proposals are well received. 

Please let your councillors know that you would like to see these changes, and add others that are important to you. Thank you.For more information, contact activeguelph@gmail.com or info@gcat.ca

Free Virtual “Know Your Rights” workshop with The Biking Lawyer, Dave Shellnutt

We miss you all! 

Hello GCAT members and supporters,

We wish we could connect with you by having a community ride, but that is impossible these days due to Covid 19. However,  we are still planning to engage with you over the coming months. We are starting with this community workshop to get things rolling, so to speak!


The bicycle is a healthy and safe mode of transportation during the pandemic. As more and more people turn to the bike to fulfill their daily exercise and transportation needs, it is good to have an understanding of your rights, and to know what to do if a crash occurs.

Join GCAT and cycling law/rights specialist and lawyer Dave Shellnutt for a free Virtual “Know Your Rights” workshop on Thursday May 7, at 7pm. Dave will discuss bike advocacy and safety strategies, as well as how to be prepared in case you are involved in a crash. Dave represents dozens of cyclists across Ontario and is himself a bike crash survivor. There will be an opportunity for Dave to answer questions afterwards.

If you would like to participate, please send an email to info@gcat.ca . The day of the event, we’ll contact you with how to join our workshop. Space is limited to 100 guests.

Looking forward to this informative event!

2019 Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation Year in Review

GCAT 2019 Year in Review

2019 was a great year for Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation!  We worked hard to support and encourage citizens who want to bike and walk in Guelph. Here are some highlights of the work that we have done this year.  Please support our membership drive for 2020 so that we can continue to work hard for Guelph citizens to make Guelph a leading city for Active Transportation! And come out to our Annual General Meeting on Feb. 20 to learn more about what will be happening in 2020!


  • Continued “behind the scenes” advocacy for Speedvale Underpass by being actively involved in public participation of  the Zoning Bylaw Amendments
  • Organized “Bike Ride with Federal  Candidates where federal Guelph candidates (all of them!) participated in the ride and/or discussion afterwards of active transportation. 
  • Share the Road’s Chief Executive Officer, Jamie Stuckless, spoke about cycling advocacy at our third Annual General meeting 
  • Helped City of Guelph with Bike to Work Day by leading 1 of the rides to City Hall to celebrate the importance of cycling in Guelph
  • Partnered with advocates at University of Guelph to look toward getting separated bike lanes at and near the University
  • Partnered with the Guelph Police promote “Share the Road” campaign last March during the Ride program to remind drivers of the one metre rule.
  • Raised awareness of the City of Guelph’s pilot 2 week pilot for a  2 way protected bike lane on Woolwich, by offering a group ride and further discussion with Jennifer Juste, Manager, Transportation Planning  and Green Drinks.
  • Hosted  a GCAT discussion at the E-Bar, after the City of Guelph sponsored the movie “ Why We cycle”, and gave people opportunities to let us know how to get involved in GCAT 
  • 3 GCAT directors attended the Ontario Bike Summit last April, where we learned best practices in cycling infrastructure and in advocacy. GCAT was also a presenter 🙂
  • Successfully advocated for bike lanes at the intersection of Arthur, Elizabeth and MacDonnell streets, where new road construction was not going to include bike lanes!
  • Did a ribbon cutting  with the Mayor and City staff at new secure bike parking facility at the Market Parkade
  • Advocated for separated bike infrastructure on Gordon St between Lowe and Edinborough roads when they make changes to the road
  • had booths at several community events, such as the EcoMarket, Tour de Guelph, Hillside Festival

Fun Events to encourage a culture of cycling in Guelph

  • Magnolia Ride-ride through the Magnolia trees in Guelph, followed by a tea party
  • Partnered with Open Doors Guelph to get people out visiting important sites on their bikes
  • Partnered with Emerge for a group cycle tour to “Ride your Bike to the Energy Efficient Home Tour to view two amazing Energy efficient homes
  • 2 Rivers on 2 Wheels and a Cold Brew Too -explored the river systems with geomorphologist Dr. Laura Brown
  • Love Your Bike Festival– celebrated with 2Rivers and St Andrews Church, and led families on a bike ride through Exhibition Park, and finished at Wooly’s pub for free hotdogs.
  • First annual Royal City Bike Rodeo!  GCAT partnered with Guelph Police, the City of Guelph and GORBA to host a bike skills event for children in grades 4 and 5. There are currently no in-school programs for cycling skills, and this rodeo is our attempt to fill in the gap, just a little bit.
  • Partnered with Speed River Bicycle for a 20km ride to Thatcher farms for 2019 Country Rumble!
  • Worked with Trillium Rotary Club to have GCAT’s first free bike valet parking for Ribfest!
  • Winter cycling workshop
  • Pub night with Transit Action Alliance of Guelph

 Please join us in 2020 on our journey to get more people to enjoy healthy transportation!  For a minimum of $10, your membership in GCAT will allow us to give a voice to more and more people who want to be healthy, fit, and contribute to the well being of the city.





GCAT Annual General Meeting and so much more! Feb. 20, 2020

Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation invites the public to attend GCAT’s  Annual General Meeting and After Party on Feb. 20!

GCAT continues to advocate for safer and enjoyable infrastructure to make Guelph one of the best places to walk and cycle in Ontario. 2020 will be no exception!

We are thrilled to have Jason Thorne, head of Planning and Economic Development in the City of Hamilton as our keynote speaker for our AGM on Feb. 20.

Jason Thorne, whose city building efforts have attracted national and iinternational attention, has garnered Hamilton the label of “Canada’s Comeback City.” How did this happen? Jason will be presenting on Hamilton’s comeback story, and more specifically, how the City and the community have effectively delivered on many “little things” … things that any city can do: live music, street festivals, helping cyclists get around … to drive its renaissance.

Come out and get inspired!

Free apps and great door prizes, including a heavy duty flatbed cargo trailer for your bike from Wike! (Thank you Wike,  as well as  Guelph Solar, Royal Distributing,  and other amazing sponsors!)

Location: La Reina, 10 Wyndham St.
If you would like dinner beforehand, please feel free to enjoy a meal downstairs before the event.

Time: Registration begins at 6:30pm ;
AGM : 7-8:30pm

8:30-10 pm for After Party!

*We are actively taking memberships, online,  as well as at the AGM. Please see gcat.ca for more details. All members of the public are invited to the AGM but only GCAT members can vote.

If interested in running for the GCAT board of directors, please contact activeguelph@gmail.com for more information.

Call for nominations for GCAT Board of Directors

GCAT Board of Directors: call for Nominees

Term: Up to 3 years.

Commitment: 4-8 hours a month


GCAT is a not for profit corporation. Its purpose is to increase the quantity, quality and safety of 

Active Transportation in Guelph. The group achieves its goals through partnerships with residents, organizations and businesses to support this work. GCAT also works with local governments to achieve active transportation targets, and works to create a culture of active transportation in Guelph.

In advocacy work, the GCAT board works to maintain a positive working relationship with local and regional governments, a well as businesses and other organizational partners.

The Board of Directors provides governance, leadership and financial oversight. GCAT is a working board and much of the Board work involves running programs, events and advocacy.

We will be voting for our new directors at our AGM on Feb. 20, 2020.

Desired qualifications:

  • Team player, including the ability to work collaboratively with others in a context of trust and mutual respect
  • Interest in and awareness of active transportation issues in all wards in the city
  • Willingness to serve either as an Officer of the board, and/or the Board’s Working Groups: (ie advocacy committee, bikes for newcomers committee, special events committee, board effectiveness committee, volunteer coordinator committee, etc.)
  • Skills including but not limited to one or more of the following areas: marketing and branding, communications, legal, finance, fundraising and grant writing, urban planning, government relations, strategy and policy development, leadership of volunteer organizations, GIS, organizing and/or managing group rides.
  • Free of conflict of interest issues

What directors are expected to do:

  • Prepare for and attend monthly meetings of the Board, including any special meetings
  • Prepare for and attend the GCAT annual Annual General meeting
  • Support and participate in GCAT activities and events
  • Be a member of GCAT in good standing

Benefits of serving on the board of Directors:

  • Being a positive force for increasing modal share for cycling and walking in Guelph
  • Creating a positive culture around active transportation in Guelph
  • Being part of a worldwide change in culture around more sustainable modes of transportation including AT integrated with transit.  
  • Contribute to big picture planning and strategic development

If interested, please contact activeguelph@gmail..com by Feb. 7 with a letter detailing you interest and skills in becoming a board member. After this date and up to the AGM, you can still apply, but will not have your candidate profile on the ballot.

Thank you!



Sign up for a 2020 GCAT membership and enter to win $50!

Why should you support Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation?

  • Collective Voice to ensure that members know their voice is going to be heard
  • Focused Campaigns to improve infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians
  • Community Building. We offer lots of community rides!
  • Perks!****  See poster above!

Get your membership early to win one of three $50 dollar gift certificates from three of our local bike shops: Speed River Bicycle, and  Paramount Sports! and Royal Distributing!

Please click here to get your 2020 membership!
And, you can contribute more if you want to offer more support!