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.

For information on how to apply, please visit Pathway to Potential or email

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 Town of Lakeshore
Town of Amherstburg  Town of LaSalle
Town of Essex  Town of Tecumseh

County Wide Active Transportation System (CWATS) 

CWATS is a forward-looking initiative that looks to enhance and expand the County of Essex active transportation system and supports the broader community vision of giving people the opportunities to get active and enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of the area and their communities. . The on-going collaboration with local municipalities and community partners has helped the County develop a CWATS network that will connect people to local active transportation facilities and places of interest around the Windsor-Essex Region. CWATS facilities and programs will help people live more active lifestyles, enabling them to "Walk, Ride, County Wide." Once completed, routes in all of our local towns, ERCA trails, City of Windsor and the Municipality of Chatham-Kent will be connected. Check out the CWATS website to learn more about the strategic plan, resources for active transportation such as bicycle safety and maps of the trail routes and much more!

Active Transportation Expert Panel (formerly the Windsor Bicycling Committee) 

The purpose of the Committee is to address all modes of active transportation. This inclusive approach will ensure that all perspectives and transportation methods are adequately represented, resulting in a well-rounded and holistic strategy for promoting active transportation. An expert panel of avid cyclists and families examines ways to advocate and improve active transportation opportunities in the City of Windsor. The shift to an Expert Panel will foster a conducive environment for informal idea exchange; facilitate in-depth discussions and will provide an opportunity for collaborative engagement and enable the Expert Panel to collectively develop and refine ideas.

Bike Windsor Essex 

Bike Windsor Essex, advocates for safer cycling infrastructure and public and government acceptance and support for cycling as a legitimate means of transportation. The organization seeks to help make our region more bicycle friendly by advocating for adequate funding for improved cycling infrastructure; networking with local, provincial, national and international cycling organizations to share best practices and to monitor current trends; organizing and supporting events that promote fun and safe cycling; and acting as a liaison for all cyclists in Windsor and Essex County

Share the Road 

The Share the Road Cycling Coalition is a provincial cycling advocacy organization working to build a bicycle-friendly Ontario. They work in partnership with municipal, provincial and federal governments, the business community, road safety organizations and other non-profits.

Canada Walks 

Canada Walks promotes the value of walking and walkability, provides implementation tools, and works with partners to help build Canada’s walking movement

Ontario Trails Council

The Ontario Trails Council (OTC) is a charity that promotes the development, preservation, management and use of recreational trails in Ontario. The website includes many resources for hiking, biking, and camping,; also includes  “find a trail” tool for any trail in Ontario that you may wish to learn about.

The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail

Stretching over 3000km, the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is a route connecting 140 communities and First Nations along the Canadian shores of the Great Lakes region and a signature project of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. The trail consists of both on-road and off-road facilities. The route is primarily paved, with sections of unpaved path and gravel roads. Check out their web link to see where you can join onto the trail in your own community!

The Great Trail (Trans Canada Trail) 

The Great Trail now consists of more than 24,000 kilometres of multi-use trails, linking Canada and Canadians. Whether you are looking for a place to hike, cycle, paddle, ride, cross-country ski or snowmobile, you can find an experience that resonates with you. As the longest recreational trail in the world, The Great Trail offers a wide range of activities through a variety of landscapes – urban, rural and wilderness, along greenways, waterways and roadways.

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