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2009 Urban Country Mash-up Video 4

2009 Urban Country Mash-up by James Schwartz on Vimeo. A tradition that began in 2005 on The Urban Country is an annual mash-up of video clips that I took with my digital camera throughout the year. The central theme of the video is to promote living a healthy, active, lifestyle and to cherish the outdoors. ...

Toronto Yearns for Bicycle Superhighway 8

Photo and video by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country On October 30 2009, the first section of the West Toronto Rail Path officially opened. A 2.1KM stretch from Cariboo Ave. in the north to Dundas St. West in the south, the rail path provides cyclists an automobile and traffic light-free route. Although a ...

Ignoring the Real Problem On Our Streets 6

Photo courtesy of dpurdy Sitting in a car at a busy intersection in downtown Toronto, another car approaches the intersection, barely slowing down before making a right turn on a red light – tires screeching as he proceeds through the turn. Ten seconds earlier and he may have been the latest driver to run down ...

BIXI is ready for Toronto, is Toronto ready for BIXI? 16

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country The BIXI system is coming to Toronto – and I can hardly contain my excitement. If you haven’t already heard, BIXI is Montreal’s bicycle-sharing program which was inaugurated on May 11th, 2009. It cost $15 million dollars to start and began with 300 stations around downtown ...

Diesel Trains Are NOT the Answer 6

The downtown Toronto City Centre Airport has been a political hot potato for many years. Airport expansion advocates were pushing for a bridge to the Toronto City Centre airport that current Mayor David Miller quashed when he was first elected in 2003. Environmentalists and local residents often refer to noise and air pollution as the ...

Living a Comfortable Urban Life Sans Automobile 4

All photos by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country  In 2006 there were around 250 million automobiles in the United States. That is an average of about one car for every 1.2 people. Worldwide there were 590 million cars in 2002, or an average of about 1 car for every 10 people. As the ...

Recycling That Delivers…er…Takes Away

Photo by kino-eye / Flickr Living as I do in a high-rise apartment, I’ve often been disappointed by the fact that my recycling options have been limited. For example, composting my organic waste is simply not viable since I don’t have a garden, there is no green bin collection scheduled in my area, and I ...

Bicycles and Sidewalks Can Get Along 2

Bicycles and sidewalks can (and do) get along well together. All it takes is a little bit of common sense, etiquette and mutual respect. Two very unfortunate incidents in Toronto have provoked additional tension between drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Two months ago I would have thought it absurd that tensions could escalate in a city ...

Toronto to Montreal Kayak Adventure 41

Yesterday I arrived in Montreal after 11 consecutive days alone on the water. At times I had a feeling of freedom and saw some amazing scenery, and other times it was challenging and repetitive. But overall I really enjoyed the experience and I’ve definitely become a better kayaker as a result of the range of ...

Toronto to Montreal Solo Kayak Journey 2

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country – Lake Ontario – 4 July 2009 In about 9 hours, I’ll be departing on a solo kayak journey from Toronto to Montreal to raise money for Noah’s Ark home for children in the Philippines. Noah’s Ark provides a temporary home for malnourished children; providing food, ...