Being Black in Canada·New

'Colour the Trails' founder wanted to see more diversity in outdoor activities

Judy Kasiama noticed a disconnect when she started taking advantage of nature in British Columbia in 2016, spending her weekends driving out to trails for hikes. There was a diversity of people enjoying the outdoors, but this wasn't reflected in media and advertising.

Love for the outdoors and wanting to create accessibility for racialized communities inspired Judy Kasiama

Judy Kasiama started Colour the Trails in Vancouver in 2017, to make outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking more accessible to people of colour. (CBC News)

CBC is highlighting stories of Black Canadian immigrants to share the joys and obstacles on their paths to Black excellence. From their first steps in Canada to the moments that shaped their lives. These are their journeys here.

Judy Kasiama noticed a disconnect when she started taking advantage of nature in British Columbia in 2016, spending her weekends driving out to trails for hikes. 

"When I was going hiking and doing these activities, I was seeing such a diverse group of people. But then when I would go into these stores and brands and buy gear, I wasn't seeing that being represented, in terms of how media was showcasing the outdoors," Kasiama said in an interview.

"It also showed very white and very male, and it just wasn't really showing the diverse group of people that I was coming across."

WATCH: Judy Kasiama describes her journey to Canada and to launching Colour the Trails: 

Why a former refugee founded a group to bring diversity to Canada's trails and slopes

8 months ago
Duration 5:10
Judy Kasiama founded Colour the Trails in 2017. The group provides lessons for Black, Indigenous and other people of colour to learn how to hike, mountain bike, ski and snowboard.

The former refugee had lived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Australia and various U.S. states before coming to Canada in 2010 and settling in Vancouver.

Kasiama said she organized an evening hike through a Facebook group for Black Vancouverites, and a "bunch of people showed up."

The hikers told her they were definitely interested in doing outdoor activities, but that the settings felt inaccessible. 

So in 2017, Kasiama created Colour the Trails, a group that provides lessons for Black, Indigenous and people of colour to learn hiking, mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding.

She started a film festival, too, Black Like Me — Outdoor Edition, and is on the board of the Vancouver International Film Festival. Kasiama also sits on the board of the Trans Canada Trail.

"I think we should pause and recognize that a lot of us have never been invited into certain spaces," Kasiama said. "So if we put away our pride and our standoffishness, and invite people to come, learn, and do things that we love and create a safe space for them, I think it's amazing to see what can come out of it."

Being Black in Canada: My Journey Here is a special series where Black Canadian immigrants share the joys and obstacles on their paths to Black excellence. From their first steps in Canada to the moments that shaped their lives.

Being Back in Canada highlights stories about Black Canadians. (CBC)

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