In 2008 the Toronto Cyclists Union (later renamed Cycle Toronto) was born. Early on, we entered into a partnership with CultureLink Settlement Services, an agency serving newcomers to Canada. Our shared goal was to facilitate the integration of newcomers to Toronto, by promoting cycling for transportation. Our perspective was that many newcomers are coming from countries where cycling is even more established as a mode of transportation than here and we wanted to encourage newcomers to retain and share their cycling habit with all residents of Toronto.
Our partnership has allowed both organizations to do more than we would have been able to achieve on our own.
- We published the Toronto Cyclists Handbook, in English and 16 bilingual editions. The cities of Vancouver and Mississauga have since worked with us to develop their own multilingual handbooks!
- We developed cycling education workshops for newcomers, and took those forward into our Street Smarts education program delivered to workplaces and libraries across Toronto
- We created Bike Host, a cycling mentorship program offered in partnership with the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank and the South Riverdale Community Health Centre. In 2015, Bike Host is also being replicated in Ottawa and Brampton.
- We launched of the Bike to School Project, which offers programs to students and teachers in secondary schools around Toronto, and connects us with active and safe routes to school campaigns on a local and regional level.
Our innovative partnership has been recognized with five awards: the Bhayana Family Foundation 2013 Partnership-Builder Award, the 2010 Excellence in Sustainable Transportation award from the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association, the Alliance for Biking and Walking 2010 Advocacy Innovation of the Year Award, the BIKE T.O. 2009 Award, and the Bhayana Family Foundation 2009 Innovation and Creativity Award.
The Bike to School Project, a collaboration between CultureLink, Cycle Toronto, the Toronto Cycling Think and Do Tank and Evergreen, is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.