Could I have predicted the turnout? No. Did I hope for it and expect it? Yes.
The who’s who of the walk was beautiful. There were lots of strangers to Phog, and lots of well-known community figures prepared to spend an hour in the cold.
Shawn Micallef spoke briefly from the stage to a full building. No one spoke. No one whispered or interrupted. It was magnificent. He talked about his experience with walking in Toronto and what people could do during their walk to make it as enjoyable as possible.
My group consisted of a few random folks who were not yet in a group of their own. Ryan Fields, Stephen Hargreaves, Marissa Nowlan, and Michelle Wybenga.
We started out by heading west, and our random-walk-algorithm took us in a repeating spiral around the northwestern portion of downtown Windsor.
The best part of the walking event, for me, was actually prior to and after the walk. Seeing the faces of people who care was unparalleled for me. I got a few comments sent to me that evening and the next day telling me that it was the best night that some people had EVER experienced as a part of a Phog event. Matt Baker and Christine Arkell-Rideout were particularly pleased, which evokes a sense of pride for our creative-class community.
Elaine Weeks (Walkerville Publishing, Walkerville Times) was on-hand and eager, and she brought along Heather from a group called Windsor Essex Walks. Yet another joining of active city-loving Windsorites. Chris Holt brought his video camera to capture awesomeness, and Michael Johnson (google map man) came fresh off his successful Big Walk performance to participate in this great night by collecting audio and other stories.
The video below is of our first steps west out of Phog Lounge. Our algorithm was to travel west for three blocks, turn right, travel two blocks, turn right, travel one block, turn right…repeat. This is the beginning.
The video below this follows our group reading some clever graffiti (although terribly ugly), and then hearing Glen Campbell music being played through the outdoor speakers at the new bus station.
This video is of our group cutting through the Hilton/Radisson hotels because our algorithm had us getting stuck at these buildings. Stephen Hargreaves was gracious enough to tape everything, but he was very fond of zooming in…which means some blurriness until he decides to zoom back out. The first bit of the group getting into the building is a little shaky. After that, you see a defunct mall with 1980s and early 90s themed stores until we make our way back out onto Riverside Drive.