The City of Kingston regains top honours in National Commuter Challenge

The City of Kingston has regained the top spot in the National Commuter Challenge for 2019.

Kingston reclaimed the title from Thunder Bay, who won in 2018, sparking a personal wager this year between the two city’s mayors.

More on that later.

According to Kingston mayor Bryan Paterson, it was a record year for participants in the Limestone City.

“I believe that this is the best year we have ever had,” Paterson said.

Kingston beat out 50 other cities across Canada and some 302 in North America.

“The Commuter Challenge is really a campaign to encourage people to leave their cars at home,” Paterson said, “to take transit, to walk, to cycle — just to try out an alternative mode of transportation.”

Held annually in the first week of June, Kingston had the highest percentage of Commuter Challenge participants in Canada and the second-highest number of participants nationally after the City of Winnipeg — a city with over six times Kingston’s population.

“We have invested in transit. We have invested in bike lanes and paths, so people have that opportunity, if they’re able,” Paterson said.

In Kingston, 1,572 people registered for the challenge, including 96 workplaces.

In one week (June 2 to 8), 19,211 kgs of carbon emissions was avoided and according to the City, that is equivalent to taking four cars off the road for one year.

And that personal wager between Mayor Paterson and the mayor of Thunder Bay? Paterson will be sending a few small tokens to Mayor Bill Mauro.

“We’ll be sending Mayor Mauro in Thunder Bay a really nice Kingston shirt and a copy of the Kingston flag,” Paterson said. “It’s all in good fun.”

Mayor Mauro, meanwhile, will wear the shirt and fly the Kingston flag.

“We’ll probably have a rematch of this competition next year,” Paterson added.

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