Brian Torrance

Influenced by his U of A experiences and relationships, and his interest in active living, KSR alumnus Brian Torrance dedicates his career to building healthy school communities


As a member of cross country and track, Brian Torrance helped the Golden Bears capture two
Canada West Cross-Country titles in 2002 and 2003, as one Canada West Track title in 2006.

For Bachelor of Physical Education (BPE) alumnus Brian Torrance, physical activity has been a big cornerstone of his life. Moving from North Vancouver to Edmonton to pursue his undergraduate degree in physical education, Brian balanced school and the competition of varsity sport as a member of the Golden Bears Cross-Country and Track & Field teams-both of which helped set him up for a successful career in health promotion.

Following his bachelor's degree program in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation, Brian continued studies at the University of Alberta with the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry obtaining a Masters of Science focusing on preventative aspects of physical activity. His two degrees and his own personal relationship with sport and physical activity deepened Brian's understanding of the importance of physical activity plays in building healthy communities, especially among children and youth.

"A healthy student with healthy staff in healthy schools is an ideal learning environment. A focus on wellness in school communities is important to create those healthy and positive environments."

This mindset brought Brian to the Ever Active Schools in 2010, where he has been in the Director role for the better part of the last decade. As part of the Ever Active team, Brian and his colleagues use the internationally-recognized Comprehensive School Health framework to approach building healthy school communities by supporting improvements in students' educational outcomes, all the while addressing school health in a planned, integrated and holistic way.

"I have an amazing team around me that helps to build the organization and maintain strong support through various tools, tactics and initiatives out to Alberta school communities. I work on building new partnerships, working alongside government, having a lens of equity in our support to schools and continuously advocating for the importance of the work of wellness and health promotion."

Some of those partnerships involve both researchers and centres within the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation (KSR). Working with KSR's Centre for Active Living, Brian uses the Centre's leadership in research and evaluation to help tell the story of the grand importance of what sport, physical activity and overall well-being can do for people. He also sits on the ParticipACTION Advisory Committee with KSR researchers John Spence and Tanya Berry, and works closely with KSR's Tara-Leigh McHugh on Indigenous wellness and with Nick Holt on the power of quality of sport in a young person's life. Brian is also still involved with U of A varsity sport through the Cross Country Alumni group.

"KSR has provided me with a wonderful base of knowledge for my career, and the experiences I've had and the friends I made continue to last. These relationships and sport and educational experiences have very much impacted me personally and professionally."

"Health, wellness and being active is our foundation for being our best. I don't think we value it enough in society right now and have blindly engineered some of his out of our lives. Our social and physical environments need to promote and make it easy for physical activity to occur. I feel fortunate to work with KSR to help inform and educate our youth, schools, citizens and communities to be healthier, and I do feel that we will get there-optimism wins and we are on the right path."