East Coast Cycling and Performing Tour 2015

Let the cliffs, culture, and concentration of sea life in Canada’s majestic Maritimes fuel your passion for sustainability and social justice. A week of training in bicycle skills, interactive theatre, community engagement and facilitation techniques prepares your team to spark dialogue with thousands of students using Otesha’s play “Cycling Through Change” and “Action Addict” workshop. Wind your way around the Bay of Fundy and through the Annapolis Valley, learning from the Mi’kmaq, anglophone and Acadian communities that welcome you.

“Being an Otesha tour meant that we would spend the next 2 months cycling on our bikes to bring a little sparkle of hope and inspiration to communities and student.” — Tricia Enns, 2012 Tour Member

Photos from the 2014 East Coast Tour

Tour Details

  • Dates: September 5-October 28, 2015
  • Location: New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Ages: 18-30ish
  • Minimum fundraising amount: $2,500
    (covers the cost of your food, accommodations, logistical support and a week-long training program in bike maintenance/safety, group living, facilitation and more; bursaries are available)

Apply today to secure your spot! Spaces are filled on a rolling basis, and we’ll be accepting applications until the tour is full.

How to Apply

  1. Read Bike Tours 101 and Eligibility to get a good idea of what going on tour is like.
  2. Fill out the Bike Tours Application Form. It should take around 20-30 minutes to complete. Note that you cannot save your responses as you go, so set aside some time to do it all in one go. Also be prepared to provide the contact information for one personal and one professional reference.
  3. Check out Otesha’s bursary programs. If you think you’re eligible, fill out the Bursary Application Form.

Once your application is in we will get in touch with you within 7 days to schedule an interview over the phone to learn more about you and share more about what to expect on tour.

Questions? Feel free to call us at (613) 237-6065 or write us at programs@otesha.ca!

A huge thanks to Echo Foundation!

logo_fr_0Otesha’s 2015 East Coast Cycling and Performing Tour is made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Echo Foundation. The Montreal-based private charitable foundation supports environmental initiatives in Eastern Canada, and with their amazing support, our team of pedal-powered sustainability advocates will engage with thousands of students this fall. Click here to learn more.

Pedaling with Purpose

More than an epic cycling excursion, the 2015 East Coast Tour is an opportunity to be a Courier of Hope. In the face of climate change, the growing gap between rich and poor and other complex sustainability challenges, hope can be a tough sell. But a hopeful future is what Otesha is all about! As a Couriers of Hope tour member, you’ll be delivering messages of optimism and empowerment to thousands of Canadians, equipping them to live more sustainably.

Every two month Performing and Cycling Tour interacts with more than 4,000 audience members, mostly students from elementary to high school. A team performs an average of three to five times a week.

Otesha’s plays offer a humorous take on big issues, provoking the audience to examine their own role in the worlds’ ecological and social systems. Rather than overwhelm with the scope of global problems, our interactive theatre pieces and small group workshops bring it down to earth – volunteer tour members model examples of daily actions that make a difference and invite students to come up with actions that fit their own lives. We demonstrate that large changes are rooted in daily choices made by everyday people like you and me.

The Route

We’re still firming up the official 2015 route, but check out the itinerary from 2014 for an idea of what to expect on this cycling adventure.

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Life on the Road

Every tour offers its own unique mix of changemakers, adventures and life-changing experiences. And while your pedal-powered journey will undoubtedly be one-of-a-kind, you can get a taste of what life on the road is like by reading the blogs written by tour members during their 2014 East Coast Tour. You can also check out our Bike Tours 101 page to learn what it’s like to be on tour with Otesha.

“It was an amazing feeling, being 13 cyclists on the road moving forward together. We had dreams in common and a lot of differences, but no matter what, we were always together, cycling forward. We’d all stop for lunch together and lie on the ground, eating, laughing and telling stories. If someone was selling plums by the road we would be there. We all had a huge sense of adventure and curiosity, and that bonded us more than anything.” — Kat Williams, 2008 Tour Member

2015 East Coast Tour Members

Andrea Johancsik

Andrea Johancsik has lived in Calgary, Melbourne, Kingston and Singapore, but her true Canuck spirit remains strong, as evidenced by her excessive intake of maple syrup and use of the word “sorry.” Her favourite activities include hiking, attending music festivals, and playing the trumpet. Graduating from an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, she’s seen a lot of words in terms of environmental sustainability, but is eager to contribute to the action! Some of Andrea’s preparations for the tour include singing in the shower and stocking up on hot baths.

Kristen Lavallee

KristenKristen was born and raised in the Crater of the Great White North, Sudbury, ON with a strong affinity towards all things nature.  Spending many summers camping with her grandparents, and much time spent on her parents farmland, Kristen was soon drawn to the protection of our water, trees, and ocean. With a move to Halifax, NS in 2014 and a new opportunity working for the Ecology Action Centre as part of their support and awareness team, she soon began to follow one of her many passions. Having recently graduated from Breathing Spaces with a 200hr Yoga Teacher Training certificate in hand, a deep love of adventure, travel, outdoors, social justice and ecological sustainability, this will be her first bike tour!  She is looking forward to this new excursion of cycling through the Maritimes with a team of amazing individuals in hopes of sparking plenty of dialogue, learning about different cultures and inspiring young minds, and of course living up to the Otesha challenge!!

Emily Sitter

EmilyEmily makes up 1/2 of the dream team known as Florence and the Machine. She and her bicycle Florence became well acquainted while cycling from Saskatoon westward in Canada and the US. They had a blast on their first tour and couldn’t be more excited to explore eastern Canada with the other tour members. While not spending quality time with Florence, Emily can be found planting trees, exploring places that are new to her, or recovering from her latest shenanigans in her hometown of North Bay, ON. Emily is also hugely passionate about body positivity, living intuitively and pickles.

Jessica Bihari

JessicaHey there! I’m Jessica Bihari. I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. I just recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master of Public Health in Nutrition and Dietetics. I really believe the best life experiences are all about living outside of your comfort zone and building connections with people. In my spare time, I enjoy travelling, cooking, and enjoying nature. Based on all these factors – I think an Otesha tour will be a life-changing opportunity! I promise to be the girl on the trip never hesitating to be a part of a sing-along. I can’t wait to meet the rest of you!

Elyssia Sasaki

Elyssia Bio PickHello ALL! My name is Elyssia and I hail from Vancouver Island, though I have split most of my time between Ontario and BC over the past 6 years. I am incredibly excited to begin this journey with Otesha through a region of Canada that I am, woefully, unfamiliar with. A theatre artist by trade, I work with my own collective in Toronto. When I’m not working, I plant trees, make macrame bracelets, and enjoy the soothing sounds of the ukulele. I am beyond excited to be working with everyone over the next two months, teaching, learning and living the sustainable dream.

Emma Buchanan

2014-05-16 09.19.38Hello! My name is Emma Buchanan and I’m Otesha’s Programs Coordinator. My Otesha journey began last year when I rode on the 2014 East Coast Tour. I had the best time ever tumbling up and down the hills with a group of silly, passionate people and am so unbelievably excited to be joining Otesha for another 2 month performing tour! I’m from and live in Halifax, NS where I’ve been active in various environmental and social justice issues. I’m very interested in the intersection of enviro and social justice, and don’t think we can have a strong environmental movement without also acting to end racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, classism and all the other ‘ism’s’ that exist. I love drumming with my political drumming group, Rad Rhythms, singing, and (my new-found love) playing pick-up soccer. Otesha invigorated a new interest in experiential learning for me and I can’t wait to perform our silly play, make decisions as a group, and bike bike bike around my home this fall.

Natasha McRae

NatashaNatasha McRae was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec but now calls Ottawa, Ontario her home. She has just completed her first year as an elementary school teacher and is very excited about visiting other schools in the Maritimes. She is passionate about creating a positive change in her community, and she does this by spending her weekends and summers working with children who have Autism or jumping on her bike to show people how easy and fun sustainable living can be! She is thrilled to be embarking on this journey and exploring more of her homeland, making new friends, and learning a whole lot more about living sustainably. Natasha loves being active and you can often find her spending her free time running, bouldering, slacking, playing soccer, learning Capoiera, and of course cycling. She also likes to take it easy and embark on extraordinary adventures within the pages of a good book.