if the shoe doesn’t fit, scare it


In Silicon Valley, wool shoes are the craze but here in Aurora a 3 year $750,000 provincial grant has only afforded comically large cardboard cut-outs.

The latest attempt by Activate Aurora to shoehorn people into their unachievable goal of being the most active community in all of Canada is to get people to sign pledges complete with a cheesy 1990s Participaction style video showing members of council going through the motions of tossing a large shoe between them.

Oh my god it’s bad.


The only thing being activated here are the egos of the members of council featured in this abomination.

Where the shoe hits the road for me is where this group rationalizes that Aurorans, as a whole, are insufficiently active without providing any empirical evidence.

Remarks in the article are made to the effect that “people” are living more sedentary lives binge-watching Netflix or playing video games. Another quote in the article suggests inactivity leads to a number of health issues including obesity, chronic illness and has a negative physical impact.

Well Duh.

Now tell me, how does that apply specifically to Aurora?

You can’t.

Instead, we get boilerplate:  “We have an aging population and a young population who could both benefit from increased physical activity,”

If you have identified aging any young populations as target markets, wouldn’t your promotional materials be aimed at them?  I mean if town council needs to toss back and forth a cardboard shoe to motivate themselves to be more active, as pathetic as it is, so be it. But does anyone involved honestly believe an 11-year-old or an 80-year-old is going to watch this and suddenly say to themselves: “wow I haven’t been that active, and the only thing stopping me was municipal politicians taking a pledge.  Sign me up!”

Because Activate Aurora is either incapable or unwilling to provide any relevant data to back up the claim that Aurorans are not sufficiently active, I dug up the only local survey I could find which is the 2016 Windfall Ecology Community Needs Assessment Summary

On page 13 we read

The average amount spent on Town of Aurora recreation programs is $34 per person . This does not include monies spent on private sports clubs or other private fitness organizations.

On average, with a 3 person household in Aurora, $102 is spent per month on fitness/organized sports.

Approximately 17,000 individuals have been or are currently registered for Town of Aurora Recreation programs.

Additionally, there are 1000 registered members frequenting town fitness centers, indicating that 30% of the Town of Aurora has participated in or participate currently in some form of recreation.

So 17,0000 individuals are currently registered for Town of Aurora Recreation program not even counting those using private sports clubs or other private fitness organizations, of which there are many operating at capacity.

If Aurorans were  living more sedentary lives binge-watching Netflix or playing video games you would expect that heart disease, cancer, stroke, COPD and Diabetes would be on the rise, but in lieu of Aurora number the York Region numbers suggest otherwise:



What about obesity?



The only numbers here are from 4 years ago, showing a slight bump, from data that is “self-reported”.

When we get to page 26 we see York Region beating the national average:



On the next page we find that Aurora is ahead of the region and the province:


Note the disclaimer : that this data is self-reported and may be somewhat exaggerated.

You mean like the exaggerations by Activate Aurora that Aurorans aren’t active, and thus need to sign some stupid pledge?

I can understand parents without kids possibly buying into all this packaged fear that kids are not being active enough, but as a parent of two kids in the public school system there is nothing further from the truth.

Daily Physical Activity (DPA) was mandated by the Ontario Ministry of Education in 2005 (P/PM 138) and requires all elementary students to have a minimum of twenty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day during instructional time.

At the YRDSB, the days kids do not have a physical education period they have a period of “DPA”.  This is in addition to the activities students get into at recesses and lunch breaks.

The health and physical education curriculum at the YRDSB has been designed to provide learning experiences that will help students realize their potential in life and even goes on to specifically state that students develop a personal commitment to daily vigorous physical activity and positive health behaviors.

So, basically, a pledge, rendering Activate Aurora’s bozo the clown shoe completely redundant.

What seems to be missing form Activate Aurora’s efforts is a clearly defined sense of purpose as it applies to Aurora and setting priorities.

It is obvious from reading page 31 of the 2016 Windfall Ecology Community Needs Assessment Summary that the priority they recognized dealing with was the relationship between marginalization and personal health.  Despite the majority of Aurora being very stable and high income, there are pockets with some of the most severe instability identified:


I don’t believe Aurorans, as a whole need to pledge to become more Active, in fact the very suggestion is completely patronizing and suggests Aurorans are incapable of making personal health choices which it appears they aren’t.

I also don’t believe what is needed to get the Aurorans identified as a priority active is a video that doesn’t not speak to their needs and challenges.  A pledge is not the answer.

If there is inactivity in Aurora real solutions will require considerable outside the cardboard shoebox type thinking, not a Partipaction mash-up.

Watts on your mind?

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