The Northwest Territories’ Walk To Tuk fitness program has missed out on a million-dollar prize.

The program had been one of six finalists in The Play Exchange, a nationwide contest where a public vote decided the fate of up to $1 million in federal funding.

The winner of that cash, announced on Monday, is Trottibus – a walking school bus service described as giving children “the chance to walk to school every weekday morning safely under adult supervision and to have fun at the same time”.

Initially launched in Montreal, Trottibus now operates in 30 municipalities.

Read: Ditch the car for Walk to Work Week in Yellowknife

The Walk To Tuk encourages teams of people to walk the equivalent of the distance along the Mackenzie River from Fort Providence to Tuktoyaktuk – some 1,658km.

Teams have from January until March each year to collectively walk the distance. One hour of walking translates to 5km for teams of 10 or fewer people, or 4km for teams of 11 or more.

Activities like jogging and skiing also count.

The program, devised by Sheena Tremblay and operated by the NWT Recreation and Parks Association, appeared on a nationwide CBC TV show in January that highlighted the six finalists.

Finalists had to wait for more than two weeks after voting closed, on January 16, to discover the winner.

In January, Tremblay told Moose FM she would take Walk To Tuk nationwide if her program won the money.

However, with a public vote deciding the contest’s fate, she acknowledged that programs based in the minimally populated Northwest Territories were at a disadvantage.