Posts Tagged ‘bilingual bike map’

In our personal archives of bicycle maps where we have visited or lived, is a rare copy of probably Canada’s first Chinese-English language bike route map. It was produced in 1996.  This map was the brain child of Eugene Yao, former Toronto community activist and  bike shop co-owner for the Urbane Cyclist, a shop located in downtown Toronto in the trendy Queen St. West district.  Eugene passed away in Feb. 2008 but many long-time Toronto cycling advocates still remember Eugene.

Canada's first bilingual cycling map in Chinese and English. Original map in black and white. Blog post by Jean Chong.



Whenever we visited Toronto, we inevitably dropped by the Urbane Cyclist because it catered to commuter cyclists and it was near our favourite bike routes.  Eugene often was around in the shop with his friendly and helpful manner.

I was not aware of this bilingual map until I was cycling from my Scarborough home and by chance, met Eugene leading a small fundraising group ride for the  Chinese-Canadian National Council (CCNC).  This group of cyclists was on the Don Valley Bike Path route by Taylor Creek.  

The map represented via Eugene Yao, the merging of two different advocacy worlds he was involved: cycling and previously, on race relations and immigrant matters with CCNC in the late 1980’s.  

 This map is no longer in print. It’s been over a decade now.  Meanwhile the Toronto cycling network has expanded further since 1996. Its population continues to grow.  In Greater Toronto with over 5 million people, there are over 486,000  residents of Chinese descent.  But this group is eclipsed by now the largest visible minority group in Metro Toronto: South Asians at 684,000  (Statistics Canada 2006 census).  However given such changes, recently there was a  2009 study by University of Toronto planning student E. Duque, on perceptions of cycling or non-cycling among certain ethnic communities, “Divercycling : a look at who (who’s not) cycling in Toronto”.    Many reasons such as language and easily accessible cycling information, can be sometimes, a challenge.  Other reasons maybe the same as found for the general population: inadequate cycling infrastructure for safe cycling in certain areas.

Mag legend on Chinese-English bilingual Metro Toronto Bike Path Map 2006.

There is preliminary work under way for Metro Vancouver to  investigate into its own local situation. Already there have been significant changes in demographics  and geographic dispersion of residents across the region.  Stay tuned.

Meanwhile if anyone can share with us more historic details about this bilingual map, please comment or send us an email.  Jack Becker believes the map was  funded through private corporate sources.  Does anyone else have a copy of this map too?  Let us know too.


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