Leading Edge / Winter 2017
Let’s Get Physical

U of T prof’s new website tracks the physical activities multicultural Torontonians enjoy

Photo of a woman in a yoga pose on a mat

Photo: iStock

Everyone knows Torontonians are hockey-mad. But there are scores of sports and other physical activities that the people of this multicultural city enjoy. Now, a U of T professor has set out to catalogue and celebrate as many of these activities as he can.

Peter Donnelly of the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education – along with a team of U of T researchers – has invited Toronto residents to tell him about the ways in which they are active, so he can share the information on a new website called GTActivity.ca and track which activities thrive and which ones die out.

“We are interested in all forms of physical cultural activities, ranging from sports played in leagues to dances to daily exercises such as yoga and tai chi,” says Donnelly, who also serves as director of U of T’s Centre for Sport Policy Studies.

The website – a kind of sport-and-culture encyclopedia – features a written description of each activity, a brief history of it and where it’s practiced, and photographs or video of people in Toronto engaging in it.

The site already has entries on everything from Krav Maga, an Israeli self-defence practice, to pickleball, a cross between tennis and table tennis.

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