Life in the Greenlane

Critical Mass interns created a tool to help commuters smell the roses.


Toronto is full of grouchy people. The mopey population has actually landed the Big Smoke in the #2 position on Stats Canada’s list of unhappy places. Could the cause for its high volume of somber citizens stem from of a lack of fresh air and green spaces? If so, don’t blame the city, blame yourself for not getting out more. Because, according to Critical Mass, Toronto could be considered a “city within a park,” as it boasts more 1,500 parks and roughly 600 km of trails.

So, to get people to turn those frowns upside down, eight interns at the digital shop created Greenlane. The open data project was created using park, trail and tree data to map scenic paths through the city, because, apparently, spending just five minutes in a green space can help boost self-esteem and mood. Instead of taking your usual route from home to work in the morning, be it by bike or foot, Greenlane shows you an alternative route that ensures you’ll cross paths with at least one cluster of trees and some grass. You can also decide how fast or how scenic you want your route to be.

You just read about a “Passion Project,” a weird and wonderful thing keeping creatives busy when they’re not hard at work in the agency world. Have your own side project like the one above? Then email Jen Horn with your passion for the chance to be featured.