Parkdale Liberty Villager
by Erin Hatfield
For the past few years, tenants at Edmond Place have stood on the sidelines of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon cheering as part of the annual Neighbourhood Challenge.
But this year, 10 tenants have joined together to form team EP Walks and will lace up their sneakers and step up to participate in the five-kilometre walk portion of the marathon with the goal of getting healthy and raising money.
“I think the cheering will give me the energy to do it,” said 54-year-old Robbie Mitchell, who has called Edmond Place home for the past year.
Mitchell is one of the members of team EP Walks. He said he joined the team largely for the exercise and social aspect of the walk.
Mitchell has been training for the event by taking regular walks in the neighbourhood.
“It’s good to be out in the fresh air and get the exercise,” Mitchell said, adding he has attended the waterfront marathon to cheer runners on in the past, and is looking forward to himself participating.
Edmond Place, at 194 Dowling Ave., is a unique model of supportive housing, one where people who live with mental health and addiction issues live safely and with the supports in place for when they need them.
Donna Atkinson has lived in Edmond Place since it opened in January 2011. Atkinson is also on team EP Walks and said she likes the idea of fundraising to increase programming and activities at Edmond Place.
Bernadette Timson is a staff person at Edmond Place and the team leader of the EP Walks team.
She explained during the summer, a number of tenants began to talk about trying to develop some healthy lifestyle habits. Some wanted to loose weight, some had been told to exercise by their doctors for health reasons such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Others were bored and wanted an activity.
As a group, Timson and some tenants began to go for walks a couple of times a week and tenants began to look forward to these outings.
“They would be upset if I wasn’t able to go out and our walks got longer and longer,” Timson said.
The idea of walking in the marathon came up and Timson said tenants really grabbed hold of the idea.
“They came up with the EP Walks Team slogan and have been looking forward to the event for weeks,” she said.
Some tenants who are not able to participate in the walk will be out cheering their housemates on, and the group will hold a celebratory barbecue when they return to Edmond Place Sunday afternoon.
Their goal is to raise $5,000, which will support ongoing programming including outings, tenant support and capacity building at Edmond Place. So far they have raised about 25 per cent of their goal.
The 5km portion of the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon begins at Ontario Place (in Parking Lot 2) on Remembrance Drive then heads east on Lake Shore Boulevard to Bay Street and north on Bay Street to the finish line.
To support the EP Walks team in their fundraising efforts, visit tinyurl.com/epwalks
This article was taken from Inside Toronto