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Rewarding Fitness and Exercise in Waterfront Toronto Parks

Aug 6, 2014

Cycling in Corktown Common

GOODcoins, the new socially and environmentally conscious rewards program earns you benefits for taking a bike ride through Corktown Common and many other Waterfront Toronto parks.

By Jonathan Laski

Research and media reports across the country suggest that Canadians are exercising less than in the past and enjoying less outdoor recreational time than ever before. As an organization mandated to revitalize Toronto’s waterfront and create a series of sustainable urban communities, we asked ourselves how we could encourage residents and visitors alike to enjoy physical activity and fresh air in these new neighbourhoods.

First and foremost we do this by building parks and open spaces first, so that they act as the community hubs of our waterfront precincts. We’ve already opened several award-winning parks such as Canada’s Sugar Beach, Corktown Common, and Underpass Park.

Now we are going one step further. We have recently launched a campaign with Zerofootprint to see if we could harness the power of incentives to help change people’s behaviour and encourage increased physical activity and use of our parks and public spaces.

Zerofootprint is the cleantech software company behind GOODcoins – the world’s first social currency which rewards socially and environmentally “good” actions with “good” rewards. Imagine a loyalty program, but instead of being rewarded for buying something, you are rewarded for exercising, volunteering, or reducing your energy consumption. And instead of using your points for gas cards or gift certificates, you can redeem your GOODcoins for a carefully curated selection of products that are good for you or for our planet, or you can donate your coins to approved charities in your community.

Kids playing soccer at Cherry Beach Sports FieldRunning along the Port Union waterfront trail

Playing a game of soccer at the Cherry Beach Sports Field or going for a jog along the trails at Port Union Waterfront Park will earn you GOODcoins that can be redeemed for environmentally and socially-conscious products, or be donated to charity.

The Waterfront Toronto GOODcoins campaign is offering incentives to participants who spend at least 90 minutes walking, cycling or running in our parks located throughout the waterfront.

Here’s how to join:

  1. Sign up for GOODcoins by visiting www.goodcoins.ca;
  2. Join a Waterfront Toronto campaign under the “Earn” tab on the website;
  3. Download an app called “MOVES” which counts steps walked and kilometres cycled using advanced GPS technology. Make sure to use this app to “Connect Your Device” to the GOODcoins platform;
  4. Visit one or more of Waterfront Toronto parks between August 5 – September 5) to receive 100 GOODcoins;
  5. Redeem the GOODcoins you earn for socially-responsible products and services in the GOODshop. Hundreds of items are added to the GOODshop every week.

Research shows that incentivizing behaviour change, including through financial rewards, is a great way to achieve results. Increased use of our parks and trails means more people enjoying the revitalized waterfront, happier and healthier residents and visitors, and there are related benefits like decreased health care costs and instances of disease, which benefits taxpayers and governments alike.

Part of our approach to sustainability is building complete communities that reconnect people with the natural beauty of the waterfront. We think GOODcoins is a great way to help get more people out enjoying our beautiful waterfront. And being able to measure the physical activity and actual use and enjoyment of our parks and public spaces that has taken place fits nicely with our efforts to track progress in our Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability Report

Here are some final details about Waterfront Toronto's campaigns with GOODcoins:

  • The campaigns run from August 7 – September 4, 2014;
  • Five campaigns divide up the waterfront by neighbourhood and feature a total of ten waterfront parks:
    • West Don Lands – Corktown Common and Underpass Park
    • East Bayfront – Canada’s Sugar Beach and Sherbourne Common
    • Central Waterfront – Portland Slip and Marilyn Bell Park
    • Port Lands – Cherry Beach and the Cherry Beach Sports Fields
    • Wider Waterfront – Mimico Waterfront Park and Port Union Waterfront Park;
  • The campaigns are renewed every week, so you'll have four chances to complete the goal before September 4th; 
  • To complete the campaign you can visit one or both parks in that neighbourhood. When you arrive at the park with your smartphone on you, the MOVES apps will pick up your phone’s GPS and “start the clock”. You can check how you’re doing on each campaign by logging into your GOODcoins account;
  • If you join all five campaigns and complete each one each week for 4 weeks, you’ll earn 2,000 GOODcoins that you can put towards eco-conscious products.

All this for staying healthy and enjoying the beautiful summer air!

Keep an eye out for more Waterfront Toronto GOODcoin campaigns by signing up at www.GOODcoins.ca.

post contributor

  • Jonathan Laski

    Jonathan Laski is a project manager at Waterfront Toronto, focused on environment and innovation initiatives. He has worked on city-building and sustainability issues for several years in both Canada and the United Kingdom.