Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/3/2018 (1423 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
When it comes to experiencing all of Winnipeg’s 1,335 parks and open spaces, Julie Navitka has now been there, done that.
On Sunday afternoon, the 34-year-old completed her one-year mission to go to all the parks she had access to.
"I did it to motivate myself," said the teacher, whose outdoor odyssey began last March break "to get outside and be active — it gave me more purpose."
It ended Sunday with a run at the park on Lord Avenue in St. Norbert — and a fair bit of media attention.
"All this craze about it is a little insane," she said Sunday before completing her goal and being surround by photographers and TV cameras.
"I wasn’t expecting it, nor did I necessarily want it," Navitka said with a chuckle. "It was something I challenged myself with."
Word of her ambitious park plan spread as she posted her experiences on Facebook over the past year.
"This is either the craziest or most brilliant idea I’ve ever had," she wrote Mar. 30. "Went for a leisurely 3.8 mile run with my BFF early this afternoon, and then set out park hunting again on my own thinking I’d maybe do three more miles. Well, every time I saw a park and checked my GPS to see its name (if there wasn’t a sign), I saw another park nearby and thought ‘I better go get it!’ 4.5 miles later I made it home."
She didn’t lose her drive when the winter weather set in, either.
On Nov. 13, she posted "13 parks yesterday in Sturgeon Heights before the Bomber game! Turned out to be a pretty long run, too. 1,210 down, 225 to go."
The purpose of Navitka’s mission was to challenge herself, but her verve and enthusiasm may have infected others.
"I’ve had people tell me it’s inspiring them — they kind of admire what I’m doing," she said.
After seeing all that Winnipeg’s parks and outdoor public spaces have to offer, she has some favourites.
"There are a few great ones in St. Norbert," said Navitka, who is partial to forests with trails running through them. The Bois-des-Esprits trail in St. Vital and the Harte Trail in Charleswood also got a shout-out from the woman who’s seen "whatever the city owns and considers green."
She had just one complaint — an inability to get to city green spaces along the riverbank off Jubilee Avenue near the BDI (Bridge Drive-In) behind private property.
"A few are literally impossible to get to," Navitka said. "There doesn’t seem to be any public access."
Many members of the public whom she met in the past year, however, were quite accessible and happy to stop and talk. The teacher said there’s much to learn from visiting other parts of the city and chatting with Winnipeggers.
"Get out there and explore your own city," Navitka said.
"Everyone has had a love-hate relationship with Winnipeg. This is where we live. If you get out there and explore — some people would be surprised."
After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.