The Heartland Tour debuted 11 years ago when two medical doctors, brothers Nicholas and Carman Giacomantonio, started the event to advocate for fitness and spread the message that cardiac disease and cancer could be combated through physical activity. The bicycle was the vehicle they chose to advocate and spread the message of how essential physical activity is to a population’s health and well-being.
The Giacomantonio brothers were motivated by the poor health and physical activity reports they were seeing from around the province and recognized that it posed a rapidly growing health risk, especially amoung younger populations. As trained medical health professionals, they also knew that the drivers for cardiac disease were similar to those for cancer. The evidence showed that physical activity could significant reduce the risk of death and disability from a broad spectrum of health complications related to these illnesses.
The brother’s idea was to, “educate people and do it by example while learning community needs first hand and helping communities mobilize change while celebrating community effort at a provincial level.”
The event is put on with the help of volunteers and core riders from communities across the province promoting infrastructure and program development. Organized bike rides for all ages and abilities are put on at the tours visit to each location attracting a growing number of riders that has reached 1,500 in past years.
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At each stop, the tour does prize draws including bike giveaways and the day-long festivities conclude with speeches from medical, policial and business leaders.
In 2017, the tour takes place in the first half of July and will visit eight locations. Members of Nova Scotia’s government have and continue to be involved in the tour as well as members of the First Nation communities. The event helps promote cycling and cycling routes in the province and attracts local, provincial and national sponsorship.
Visit, heartlandtour.ca to sign up for online registration which is upcoming and for more information.
Communities for the 2017 Heartland Tour
Halifax – July 8th
Yarmouth – July 9th
Annapolis Royal – July 10th
Bridgewater – July 11th
Truro – July 12th
Sydney – July 13th
Antigonish – July 14th
New Glasgow – July 15th