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Guelph man who swapped car for family bike receives 'Top Cat' award

Cam Ogilvie is the recipient of the Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation's first annual ‘Top Cat’ award
Cameron Ogilvie sold the family car for an eco-friendlier electric cargo bike.

After selling the family car for an eco-friendlier electric cargo bike, Cam Ogilvie from Guelph inspires others to do the same.

The recipient of the inaugural ‘Top Cat’ Active Transportation Award at the Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation’s (GCAT) AGM Tuesday night, Ogilvie said  he believes life is meant to be savoured, not rushed.

“Some would say that our struggle is against the car. We have found the real struggle is against ‘hurry’. It’s ‘hurry’ that pressures us to waste, to speed, to extract, to dehumanize,” Ogilvie said.

“Our protest is to slow down, to live simply, to know and be known by our neighbours, to experience the seasons, to Sabbath.”

Deciding to sell the family car for an eco-friendlier electric cargo bike, complete with a compartment for his children to ride in, took some getting used to at first. 

But since making the switch, Ogilvie said it’s all been well worth it for his family of four.

“We wanted to be more intentional with our time, our relationships, our energy, and our ecological footprint,” Ogilvie said.

“We are grateful for the GCAT community and the many people in our city that share this perspective.”

Guelph Coalition for Active Transportation (GCAT) is a community organization that works to increase safe and  high-quality active transportation in Guelph.

GCAT past-president and advocacy group chair, Mike Darmon, said the Ogilvie family was an obvious choice for the very first GCAT Top Cat award.

“They inspire other young families to live a car free of car less lifestyle by 'walking the talk' and guiding others who are curious, to take the plunge,” Darmon said.

“Cam’s family is the perfect example of living a car free lifestyle. They gave up their car. This is how they get around now, saving money and really enjoying life.”

Darmon said the city’s Transportation Master Plan highlights data on car use in Guelph finding that a vast majority of trips are less than 7 km, easily achieved by a 20 minute bike ride.

"There are concerns that we are not making progress in our city of Guelph's commitment to the UN Race to Zero campaign," Daarmon said. 

Race to Zero is a global campaign rallying companies, cities, regions, financial, educational, and healthcare institutions to action, to halve global emissions by 2030, and deliver a healthier, fairer, net zero world.

"In Guelph, our highest greenhouse gas emissions are from transportation, but the benefits of biking are not just emission reduction,” Darmon said.

“When biking is prioritized, it is the easiest, fastest, most convenient way to get around while also being more affordable. And it offers a great way to get some exercise. This benefits society with more physically, mentally and healthy citizens and reduces health costs.”

Darmon says providing safer active transportation infrastructure along with more sustainable land use planning is one of the most cost effective, fastest and lowest hanging fruit ways to accelerate change.

“Mode share goals in our Transportation Master Plan are too modest. We need to be more bold and brave with real climate action,” he said.

“This will further convince families like Cam’s to embrace a car free or car less lifestyle.”