Access to Affordable Recreation

family playing soccer

Access to recreation means being able to participate in all forms of physical activity to improve health, develop skills, or build self-esteem.  Having this access means recreation is affordable, it is within your community and it includes all types of cultures, ages, and ability levels. Affordable recreation helps to support social inclusion, increases self-confidence, improved physical and mental health, and overall quality of life.

However, access to affordable recreation can be a barrier to many. Individuals or families that live in poverty, or earn less than a living wage, may not have the means to access the various programs and services that would help them participate in certain activities that would have a cost. In the 2016 Community Needs Assessment from the Windsor Essex County Health, data indicated that there is a need to have more low cost physical activity programs in our region to increase physical activity levels and decrease sedentary behaviours.

Community Services for Affordable Recreation

Windsor Essex County municipalities and community agencies are always trying to enhance and increase availability of affordable and accessible recreation programs for our residents to help them enjoy the many benefits that physical activity, and active recreation provide.

Pathway to Potential Recreation Discount

Pathway to Potential (P2P) provides funding for programming to agencies across Windsor-Essex that support vulnerable youth and families, works with municipal departments to remove accessibility and financial barriers, and collaborates with community leaders toward a shared vision of community prosperity. One of the many programs P2P offers is a recreation discount (up to 90% discount) to eligible individuals in Windsor and Essex County to provide access to recreation, art, and culture programs.

Please call 311 for general information. For detailed inquiries, call 519-255-5200 ext. 5302 or send your inquiry to by email.

For City of Windsor recreation inquiries, clients can email or call 519-255-1161 to speak with a Central Booking Team member.

Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program 

The Canadian Tire Jumpstart program is a charity to help kids in financial need take part in organized sports and recreation such as hockey, dance, soccer and swimming. Canadian Tire Jumpstart delivers support to children between the ages of 4 and 18. You can apply for Jumpstart if your child is between four and eighteen years old. It can help you with registration, equipment and travel fees for a sport or program. You can get more details on how to apply by calling 1-844-937-7529 or going to the Jumpstart website.

Local Municipalities

Contact your local municipality to see what types of financial assistant programs they offer for their recreational programs and services.

City of Windsor  Town of Kingsville
Municipality of Leamington Municipality of Lakeshore
Town of Amherstburg  Town of LaSalle
Town of Essex  Town of Tecumseh

The following tips and strategies below are some great ways for you to be active on a budget. Regardless of if you are on a budget or not there are some great ideas here if you are looking to change things up while trying to be active each week:

  1. You don’t have to go to a gym to be active. If you are trying to save money or watch your expenses, there are many things we can do to be active in our own home: 
    • Using your stairs to climb up and down several times can be a great way to get a workout.
    • Fill water bottles or milk jugs from you home with water or sand which you can use as weights
    • Turn your chores into a workout. For example, try adding a few extra laps up and down the stairs when doing your laundry, work extra hard when raking leaves or sweeping off the driveway. 
    • You can also access lots of reliable workout videos online that you can do from the comforts of your home. Check out this website for even more great ideas.
  2. Choose Inexpensive fitness equipment. There are lots of low cost affordable equipment that won’t break the bank for you and can be used in your home such as: 
    • Resistance bands: these are  inexpensive and can work a lot of different muscles in the body. Plus they are easy to transport and store in your house. 
    • Dumbbells: Compared to weight machines, dumbbells are also inexpensive and can be used for multiple exercises and body parts. Buying a ​set will often save you money and  you can usually find inexpensive brands at various department stores.
    • Jump ropes: Like resistance bands, jump ropes are portable and offer an inexpensive cardio workout.
    • Pedometers: These are easy to use and can really motivate you to stay active all day as you count your steps.
    • Multi-Use Equipment: Look for equipment that can be used for multiple uses such as an exercise ball or step bench. These usually are quite inexpensive compared to setting up a home gym and target many muscle groups at one time as well.
  3. Use your Body to Get Active. If you don’t have room for extra equipment, you can still have a great workout by using nothing more than your body such as doing squats, lunges, pushups, crunches, triceps dips. And for aerobic activities you can jog in place, side steps, knee lifts, marching in place, or jumping jacks.
  4. Lost fitness treasures in your garage or basement. Take a good look in your basement or garage, especially if you have been avoiding it. You might have some old fitness equipment you forgot about lying around such baseballs, footballs, basketballs, tennis rackets, Frisbees, paddle ball games, mini steppers, or boxing gloves and pads. However, make sure its in good shape before using it to prevent any unnecessary injuries. 
  5. Outdoor Activities: There are lots of activities we can do outside that are also inexpensive. As mentioned in week 3, active transportation (biking, walking, hiking, rollerblading) is a great way to be active and can be low cost and inexpensive. Also take some of your equipment from your basement or garage and use  them at the park (e.g., throw the football around, play catch, kick the soccer ball, play some Frisbee golf). 

Your access to weights may be limited if you are not a member of a gym facility or do not have access to a community facility near by, so here are some tips for how you can use things around your home for strength or resistance activities:

  • Fill a jug with sand, water, or unused kitty litter.   
  • Lift canned goods.
  • Make a weighted medicine ball by filling an old basketball with sand.
  • Use paint cans as dumbbells.

These are just a few ideas, you can most likely think of many more – just be sure that you are able to get a good grip and are not going to have anything that you can’t balance or that creates pressure on, or cuts into, your hands. 

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