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Walk for Peace and Non-violence for the Children

Jean Béliveau arrived in Ottawa’s Minto Park on the weekend — almost at the end of an 11-year walk around the world.

What started as a journey of self-discovery during a mid-life crisis turned into a walk for peace and a call for attention to young victims of violence.

Béliveau has travelled more than 75,000 kilometres across six continents and 64 countries. In late January, he landed in Vancouver and has been making his way across Canada ever since, pushing a stroller with a few belongings and a First Aid kit.

When the 56-year old Quebecer reached Ottawa, he had just about worn out his 53rd pair of shoes. All that walking took a toll on his body, and there were times he wasn’t sure he’d be able to finish…

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Jean Béliveau’s 11 years on the road



In July 2003, Jean Béliveau woke up in a South African jail, which he’d entered of his own accord to get a good night’s sleep.

The Swellendam police chief had let the Quebec man stay overnight, but now the guards on the morning shift wouldn’t let him out. They wouldn’t listen to his claims of innocence or his story about walking around the world.

Béliveau had walked 21,000 kilometres by then.

“I’m not a prisoner,” he yelled. “I’m the Canadian guy walking around the world. Come, please. It’s time to go. I’m ready to go.”

Finally, another inmate — an actual criminal — joined in the shouting, and the guards came to investigate. Soon, they were apologizing to Béliveau and sending him on his way. His long, long way.

For 11 years, Béliveau has been walking around the world, trying to draw attention to children who suffer violence. His walk coincided with a UN initiative that began in 2000 and ended last month, but he still has much of Canada to cross.

Béliveau pushes a three-wheeled stroller that carries little more than a tent, sleeping bag, First Aid kit, food and a journal. Nothing in the way of high-tech gadgets or GPS. Just some maps, to go with the advice he picks up along the route…

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 Photo below.. (Natacha Pisarenko/AP Photo)

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