Ready, set, go: 2017 Commuter Challenge passes starting line Sunday
Winnipeg has had highest participation in national challenge for 12 of past 13 years
The 2017 Commuter Challenge kicked off on Sunday, encouraging people everywhere to lace up their sneakers, tune up their bikes and leave their car keys at home.
The annual event, which runs June 4 to 10 this year, challenges participants across Canada to clean up their commutes by swapping their drive to work for greener options.
That includes active transportation like walking, cycling or roller-skating, as well as less sweaty choices like carpooling, public transit or working from home.
"The challenge is for everyone," said Elizabeth Shearer of the Green Action Centre in Winnipeg. The non-profit group organizes the challenge and its wintertime equivalent.
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Around 8,000 people participate in Winnipeg's event each year, Shearer said, logging the kilometres they cover online. She's hoping participation will increase this year — and not just because the city has a reputation to protect.
"This is the 14th year, and in Winnipeg, we've won for participation nationally 12 out of the past 13 years," Shearer said.
"So we've really kicked butt, and we really celebrate sustainable community options, and I think that has sent a message to different elected officials and through our community that sustainable transportation matters to Manitobans.
"We want to celebrate it."
There are also prizes available, including a $500 voucher for Via Rail, a free stay at the Fairmont Hotel, free doughnuts for a year from Winnipeg's Oh Doughnuts and full passes to Folklorama and the Winnipeg Folk Festival.
If you want to get involved, you can still sign up online.
With files from CBC's Bruce Ladan and Nadia Kidwai