a park in the city
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Toronto already is a Blue Zone.

Well, the rich neighbourhoods are anyway, Gil Penalosa clarifies. Penalosa is an urbanist, a city planner, a former Toronto mayoral candidate and a loud, supportive voice for healthy cities. He’s also the founder of 8/80 Cities, an agency that advocates for healthy cities for everyone, from eight year olds to 80 year olds.

“You go to the Annex, you go to Rosedale. I think the people in the Annex or in Roncesvalles, they do everything of the Blue Zones. I think they eat a lot more vegetables, they eat little meat,” Penalosa said in an interview to talk about what Toronto has in common with Blue Zones. Blue Zones are five locations around the world where many people live to 100 and are healthy until the end.

“I'm pretty sure they walk even though they have cars in the Annex. Or 90 per cent of the people walk. Also they socialize, there's lots of clubs, and lots of their churches are very active,” Penalosa said, continuing on with several of the qualities that make up a Blue Zone.

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Julie Carl has more than 30 years of experience in journalism, most recently as a senior editor at the Toronto Star. Julie started her journalism career at small-town Ontario newspapers. She then served...