Parkdale—High Park

Nick Capra is president and co-owner of Running Free, a local chain of specialty run shops in Southern Ontario. At age 17, he began his business, and 35 years later, continues to serve the athletic and active lifestyle communities. 

In 1998, Nick initiated the ReUse Shoe Program, where he encouraged his customers to return their unwanted used shoes. To date, this program has diverted over 200,000 pairs of footwear from Ontario landfills to those who can use them. This program has reached both local and international communities, including Haiti and Sierra Leone. Because of the increased needs in Canada, most of the shoes collected are now distributed by front line agencies in Toronto.

In 2008, Nick was instrumental in delivering the Marathon de la Solidarite, a 10km race in Haiti. The event was a celebration of community where UN observers estimated over 20,000 local runners took part. The following year, he and his team were in-flight heading to Haiti when the devastating earthquake occurred. After being diverted back to Toronto, they worked to raise over $80,000 to build a trade school in north Haiti.

Since its inception in 2006, Nick continues to play an essential role as race director in organizing and executing the Start2Finish 5km Run and Read Challenge and awards ceremony. After 12 years, this after school program now reaches 50 communities across Canada promoting physical activity and literacy for students living in impoverished neighborhoods with the aim of making graduation a reality.

For more than two decades, Nick has been deeply engaged in matters of public affairs and governance. He has previously run for the Green Party of Canada in 2004 and 2006. Nick had the honour of representing the Party at regional debates including the North York Board of Trade and a CBC Radio One live broadcast, where he went head-to-head with veteran politicians Bob Rae, Olivia Chow and Peter Van Loan. Currently, Nick is pursuing a degree in Public Administration and Governance at Ryerson University.