Linda Murphy hiking the Bruce Trail

Linda Murphy, also known as “The Healthy Hiker”, is a retired Royal LePage REALTOR® who is passionate about raising awareness for domestic violence and long-distance hiking. This May, she is embarking on an eight-week hiking excursion on Ontario’s Bruce Trail in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation and local women’s shelters. 

Read our full interview with Linda as she discusses her Boots on the Bruce for Shelter trek: 

1. Why did you choose to support this cause?

Working as a real estate agent for over 18 years, it was my job to find happy and safe homes for my clients. During my time working with Royal LePage and its charity, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, I became aware of the significant number of people who are affected by domestic violence, and the importance of providing safe spaces for those in need.

I was shocked to learn that domestic violence had increased by an average of 25 per cent globally due to the pandemic. I knew I wanted to take action to support women and children desperately seeking safe shelter during this time. My love for long-distance hiking and my passion for this cause motivated me to take on this adventure. I knew if I was hiking for a greater purpose, I would be able to push myself and overcome the mental and physical challenges I will face.

2. What is the significance of supporting the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, as well as your local women’s shelter, My Friend’s House?

I have always been a strong supporter of the Shelter Foundation, largely because I love that Royal LePage Canada covers the administrative costs of the Foundation, allowing 100 per cent of donations and fundraising to go directly to the cause. I also appreciate how the Foundation allows its supporters to donate towards shelters within their own communities. 

For me, that shelter is My Friend’s House, a women’s shelter serving Ontario’s Georgian Triangle. I have a personal connection to this shelter as I live and work in the community, and I have seen first-hand women who have benefited from the shelter’s services, not only in its residence, but through their hotline where they provide counseling and advice as well. 

It is important to me for those who are supporting this cause to have the opportunity to fundraise for their local shelter and help women and children within their own communities. Boots on the Bruce for Shelter allows people to donate to a women’s shelter in their community. If a shelter is not specified in the donation comments, the gift will go towards My Friend’s House

3. Tell us about the trek, including the total distance, terrain and challenges. 

Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest continuous footpath at 900 kilometres in length. The trail has gained 70,000 feet of elevation from Niagara to Tobermory, which is the equivalent of ascending Mount Everest twice. I expect the trail will be quite strenuous at times, navigating through rocky outcrops, skirting cliff edges and muddy slopes, among other obstacles. 

My hike began on May 1st, starting in Niagara and I expect to arrive in Tobermory on June 25th, which is a total of eight weeks hiking. I will be hiking five and a half days a week, taking half days on Saturdays and using Sunday as a day for rest and reflection. 

4. What are you expecting the hardest part of the trek to be?

The trek will bring on many emotional and physical challenges. I will be hiking with stage four arthritis in my knees and a torn meniscus, which I believe will be the most difficult aspect. Because of this, I have had to significantly reduce the mileage of the hike from what I had initially planned, however I am ready to take on the challenge. While I push myself to overcome the challenges of this trek, I will keep in mind the greater purpose of this journey, which is to support women and children in our communities who are fleeing domestic violence, often with only the clothes on their backs. 

5. Will you be trekking alone, or will you be doing so in a group?

This year, I am inviting anyone who would like to participate in the hike to join me, whether that be for a few hours, a day or a week. I am looking forward to seeing others join in as we pass through their communities. If people are not able to take part in the trek, I always appreciate encouragement and support from the sidelines. 

My hope is that throughout the journey, we will keep a conversation going with those we meet about domestic violence and the importance of shelters within our communities. I hope to encourage others to become donors and spread awareness, as you never know when someone may need to hear about the shelters in their area and the services they offer.

For those looking for ways to support, I always encourage people to become Trail Angels; someone who can provide snacks to our hikers or open their property for camping. I am thrilled with the number of people who have already volunteered to be Trail Angels on this trek. 

6. How much have you fundraised to date, and what is your goal?  

This year, I decided to set an ambitious goal as a way to continuously motivate myself to raise funds for this cause. I had originally set a goal of $10,000, but with encouragement from my peers, we increased our goal to $50,000. I have pushed myself to become more creative with fundraising efforts, and have leaned on my network for their support. So far, I have been blown away by the tremendous amount of people who are willing to contribute to the cause. To date, over $16,000 has been raised and we will continue to collect donations as we take on the hike.  

7. What lessons have you learned from previous hikes that you will apply to this one?

When it comes to fundraising, I have learned about the importance of networking and reaching out to my peers within my community. I have built a strong support system over my many years working in the real estate industry, and have bonded with colleagues over our mutual support of the Shelter Foundation. 

I have learned that the key to fundraising is that it is ok to ask for help, and to encourage others to donate to a cause that has a direct impact in their own communities. I have become more persistent in my efforts to tell the stories of resilient women who have bravely left domestic abuse situations, and I will continue to shed light on this cause.

Learn more about Linda and her adventure, and find out how you can participate or donate by visiting

To learn more about the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, please visit