A walking group that recognizes that healthy, happy women are more likely to engage politically than those who are angry wound its way through the Dartmouth Commons last week.
Walk With Her is a non-partisan group that invites local female politicians and the general public to talk face to face while walking through some of HRM's most beautiful parks.
"It is not a stuffy, political event," said 22-year-old public relations student Allison Sparling, who started the group. "It just makes sense to combine getting physically active and politically involved."
And politicians are so much more approachable when they are in sneakers, added Sparling.
"I like walking and it is great to have people see new neighbourhoods."
Included in the 25 walkers were Progressive Conservative candidate for the riding of Chester-St. Margaret's Janet Irwin, Jennifer Watts, running for councillor in the newly created District 8 Peninsula North, Halifax Clayton Park MLA Diana Whalen and Kate Watson and Bryn Jones-Vaillancourt who are both running in District 5, Dartmouth Center in the upcoming HRM municipal election.
The topic was DIY Healthcare.
"We have to get to what health means before we need to go to the hospital," said Sparling.
Rebecca Faria of Hollaback! Halifax — a movement to end street harassment — discussed the importance of being free to do something as simple as taking a walk without being intimidated.
"We have to make our community safe for everyone," she said. "We deserve to live in Halifax and be ourselves."
Watts spoke about active transportation, food security, green energy and supporting cultural communities.
Organic gardens, and new park innovations like placing communal barbeque pits in parks were all discussed as ways Halifax can help to promote healthy lifestyles and build greater communities.
Irwin talked about how something simple like having a home garden was enough to alleviate stress in her hectic life.
"Once I went home and smelled the garden and it took just 30 minutes or so," she said. "I then felt calm, healthy and connected."
Whalen talked about a bill she has introduced many times that would give Nova Scotians a statuatory holiday in February.
"We will work harder if we have more time off," she said. "This holiday would add to a more healthy society."
The final speaker was Gillian Moore, blogger for The Local Traveler NS site. She spoke about local, sustainable travel.
"When we travel by car it is like we are going from bubble to bubble," said Moore. "I would like to see people walk or bike, make short-term friends along the way, put their feet on the ground and smell the air. Nova Scotia has a lot to help us connect with one another."
The next session of Walk With Her is Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at Saunder's Park, on the corner of Connaught Avenue and Chebucto Road. Growing Right is the theme. Councillors and MLAS will consider pros and cons of both financial and structural growth in HRM.
More information can be found at facebook.com/WalkWithThem