Monday, August 17, 2015

Ontario Trails News - The Great Waterfront Trail Adventure

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Local News: Ontario’s Greatest Cycling Adventure Heads to the Greenbelt

Contributed by admin on Aug 17, 2015 - 12:12 PM
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The Great Waterfront Trail Adventure launches 475 km provincial cycling route in Ontario’s Greenbelt

For the first time, one of Canada’s preeminent cycling events, the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure (GWTA), is moving away from the water and into Ontario’s protected countryside. The GWTA is a six‐day ride (August 16‐21) along the 475 km Greenbelt Route, spanningseven regions from Northumberland to Niagara.
The opening of the Greenbelt Route celebrates the 10th Anniversary of Ontario's Greenbelt, and marks a decade of protected green space and fertile farmland.
Cycling tourism is growing in Ontario, and adds nearly 400 million dollars to the economy. Recognizing the importance of cycling not only to the economy but also to the promotion of healthy, active living, the Ontario government recently declared June Bike Month.
“Just as the Waterfront Trail has done, the Greenbelt Route will help boost Ontario’s reputation as a premier cycling destination,” said Marlaine Koehler, Executive Director of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. “The new route will help serve the growing cycle tourism industry in Ontario, which brings in millions of dollars every year, and give locals and tourists access to attractions, natural landmarks and conservation areas.”
The Greenbelt Route is the result of a three-year initiative funded by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and led by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust in collaboration with the 27 communities through which the route runs. The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) CAA is a also a supporter of the Adventure.
Riders in the GWTA Special Greenbelt Route Edition will have time to explore those same communities, to shop, taste thelocal wines and foods, and be one of the first to take on the challenge of the brand new Greenbelt Route.
The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) is a leading supporter of the GWTA and will be providing roadside assistance with CAA Bike Assist, which helps cyclists repair and adjust their bikes when needed.
“Many of our Members are cyclists too, so this partnership makes perfect sense for us. Members can call us for service no matter if they are travelling by four wheels or by two,” said Anna Halkidis, Manager of Roadside Operations at CAA South Central Ontario.
“With our CAA App, including the Service Trackerapp, we can give our Members an even greater experience in safety and service. They can see where their service provider is every step of the way to them, which is undoubtedly reassuring for cyclists too,” continued Halkidis.
The GWTA started in Northumberland at Roseneath and finishes in Niagara at the Laura Secord Homestead with overnight stays in Port Hope, Uxbridge, King Township, Halton Hills and Hamilton.
If six days is too long, riders also have the option of registering for the three‐day "Taste of the Greenbelt" tour.
“This adventure will increase appreciation for the world’s largest Greenbelt,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “Come be the first to experience the plentiful forests, rivers, welcoming towns, and family farms along this exciting cycle tourism attraction.” For more information or to register, visit
About the Waterfront Regeneration Trust
The Waterfront Regeneration Trust (WRT) is a registered charity that has dedicated the past 20 years to the completion, enhancement and promotion of the 1,400 km Waterfront Trail and Greenway, which connects communities from Quebec to Windsor. Founded by the Hon. David Crombie, the WRT manages a partnership of 68 communities, conservation authorities, NGOs and community groups who share a vision for a connected, accessible, revitalized waterfront. In 2008, the WRT and its partners launched the Annual Great Waterfront Trail Adventure.
For more information about the Waterfront Trail and about the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, visit the website
About the Greenbelt:
Ontario’s Greenbelt is the solution for fresh air, clean water, healthy local food, and a thriving economy with good jobs. At nearly 2 million acres, it’s the world’s largest permanently protected greenbelt, keeping our farmlands, forests, and wetlands safe and sustainable. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation works to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, and protect natural features. Join us in 2015 as we celebrate 10 years of success for the Greenbelt! Learn more at: or find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Ontario Trails News - Boyd Conservation Area, Vaughan

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Boyd Conservation Area in Vaughan offers escape from urban jungle

250 yds
250 yds


Boyd Conservation Area is open weekdays and weekends from the end of April until the end of August, then weekends only from September through to Thanksgiving.
It’s closed the rest of the year.
Pets are allowed on the trails, but they must be on a leash. 
Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails
Admission costs $6.50 for adults (15 and older) and $5.50 for seniors (60 and older). Children 14 and younger are admitted for free with their families.
For more information, call 905-851-0575 or visit
Vaughan Citizen
White-tailed deer, rainbow trout, centuries-old hemlock trees and the occasional TV crew.
Those are just some of the things you might spot during a trek along the trails in Vaughan’s Boyd Conservation Area, nestled in the East Humber River valley, just south of Rutherford Road, at 8739 Islington Ave.
Three main trails and several side trails snake through the sprawling park, owned and maintained by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA).
With its myriad amenities – washrooms, soccer pitches, bocce courts, picnic tables – Boyd park is a popular spot for large group picnics, corporate and non-profit functions, cross-country running events and summer camps, among other things.
In the last few years, it has also become a bit of a hotspot for locally shot television shows, especially in the winter.
Given all that activity, you’re unlikely to find yourself alone, at least not in the open areas, but once you hit the trails, it becomes much more serene and, depending on the time of day, you might not encounter a single soul.
Pierre and Janet Berton Trail
Of the three main trails running through the park, the Pierre and Janet Berton is arguably the most publicized.
Getting there requires driving about 1.5 kilometres into the park from the main entrance off Islington Avenue, but there are ample signs to help you find your way.
There’s a large stone marker at the trailhead bearing the honorees’ names.  
The 1km loop trail existed for decades, but underwent improvements several years ago and was officially dedicated in May 2011 to recognize the prolific Canadian author and journalist and his family for  supporting the Friends of Boyd Park, a local group that successfully stopped the proposed extension of Pine Valley Drive through the conservation area.
The hard-packed dirt trail runs through a forested area of the park, which has been deemed environmentally sensitive, according to Grant Moravek, assistant supervisor at Boyd.
“There are things that grow here that don’t grow anywhere else – some special lilies, a natural spring that never freezes (and)… Jefferson salamanders, which is an endangered species,” said Moravek, a seasoned outdoorsman who has worked in the park for more than a decade, during a recent morning hike.
You’ll also find a wide variety of hardwood trees including cherry, some very old elms, birch, walnut and a few of the endangered butternut tree, “but they’re hard to find”, he said.
A mostly flat, hard-packed trail with a single boardwalk through a wet area, it’s ideal for beginners, Moravek said.
There used to be a stone bridge along the seepage area, but it was washed away by the frequent floods that occur here, he said.
The bridge was built by Dr. Edmund Boyd, an ardent conservationist who owned the property until 1954, when he sold it to the local conservation authority.
At the point where it loops back toward the park, the Berton trail joins up with the William Granger Greenway, a wide, crushed-gravel trail popular with hikers and cyclists that runs alongside the branches of the Humber River, all the way up to Bindertwine Park in Kleinburg.
Those looking for a longer hike can head north along the Granger trail. Others can head south, back into Boyd Park.
William Granger Greenway
The William Granger Greenway, which is part of the Humber River Trail, is named after a former TRCA chairman.
It meanders alongside, and occasionally crosses, the East Humber River with a connection to the grounds of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
Though largely flat, there are a few steep inclines along the route.
The section that passes through Boyd Park is mostly through open meadows.
At points, it affords some up close viewing of the East Humber River, which is a feeder stream for the main Humber.
“We get a good run of salmon in the fall and rainbow trout in the spring,” Moravek said. “Depending on the water level, sometimes you can see them running up and down through the culverts, under the bridges. There’s some natural speckled trout in here, too.”
The river is also home to the redside dace, an endangered species of minnow with a characteristic red stripe along the front half of the body.
They can be seen leaping out of the water to catch insects.
Also noteworthy about this route is that it lies along the historic Toronto Carrying Place Trail, an aboriginal trade route linking Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe and the northern Great Lakes.
As such, artifacts have been found along the trail from time to time, Moravek said.  
Within Boyd Park, the Granger passes by an old quarry that was left to re-generate naturally.
Homes from the Islington Woods subdivision that abuts the park sit at the top of the ridge. Down below, out of sight from the trail, are a couple of wetlands that serve as home to an array of animal and plant species.
Red Trail
Those seeking a slightly more challenging hike – though still not terribly difficult — should consider the Red Trail, which runs along the top of the river valley through the densely forested part of Boyd park.
“It’s a good cross-country trail,” Moravek said.
There are three entry points to the trail, none of which are very well marked at the moment due to the devastating ice storm in December 2013.
One can be found at the rear of the Poplar Hill picnic site, located just inside the main gate off Islington Avenue.
For those wishing to drive further into the park, there are access points at the Valleyview picnic site, which provides for a shorter hike, and at the Cliffside 1 site, though, the latter trailhead is fairly steep.
Much like the Berton Trail, the Red Trail is packed dirt with lots of tree roots.
The terrain is undulating and the trail is quite narrow in some sections.
From the Poplar Hill trailhead, it runs alongside Islington Avenue for a fair distance, so depending on the time of day, the din of traffic can overwhelm the sounds of nature.
It then cuts a swath behind the Islington Woods subdivision before plunging into the forest at the park’s north end.
As you travel east along the trail, there are a couple of side trails with wonderful vistas of the East Humber.
It also affords you a view of the wetlands that have formed in the former quarry; the same ones you pass by, but can’t see, on the Granger trail.
All-in-all the Boyd Park trails are perfect for novice hikers looking to work up to more challenging treks or for those seeking respite from the sights, sounds and stresses of the urban jungle, says Moravek,
“You’re right in nature and if you’re into it enough to pay attention – to watch and listen – it’s a great place to be.”

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ontario Trails News - Greenbelt Route nearly 500KM Cycling Trail

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New Greenbelt Route boasts nearly 500km of cycling trail in Ontario

Cyclists from cities across North America will gather in rural Ontario on Sunday Aug. 16 to celebrate a significant milestone in the province’s cycling infrastructure.
Cyclists from cities across North America will gather in rural Ontario on Sunday Aug. 16 to celebrate a significant milestone in the province’s cycling infrastructure.
 A A 
TORONTO – Cyclists from cities across North America will gather in rural Ontario this Sunday to celebrate a significant milestone in the province’s cycling infrastructure.
This year’s Great Waterfront Trail Adventure (GWTA) will coincide with the official launch of the new Greenbelt Route – a cycling trail that stretches nearly 500 kilometers from Niagara to Northumberland, Ont.
The 475 km Greenbelt Route was developed by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. The new route combined with the Waterfront Trailform a 1,000 km signed and mapped cycling loop along the waterfront and through Ontario’s protectedGreenbelt.
The decade-old Greenbelt is 1.8 million acres of protected farmland, forests and wetlands. It’s the world’s largest protected greenbelt, protecting environmentally sensitive areas in Ontario from development and urban sprawl.
On Sunday, cyclists from 50 North American cities will be among the first to ride the new route.
The GWTA will start in Roseneath, Northumberland County – approximately 140 km north-east of Toronto – and end six days later in Queenston, Niagara.
Registration for GWTA 2015 is now closed, but cyclists wanting to tackle part (or all) of the route on their own can print off route maps from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. The maps are meant to complement the 900 road signs posted along the Greenbelt Route.
The route itself is said to be a boon for Ontario’s cycling tourism industry.
“For the last seven years, the GWTA has helped build the Waterfront Trail’s reputation as a premier cycle tourism destination,” said Marlaine Koehler, Executive Director of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. “It is fitting that this year, we host a special ride that showcases this new stunning addition to Ontario’s network of long distance cycling trails.”
Koehler added that the Greenbelt Route will help grow cycling tourism in the province, an industry that generates millions of dollars every year.
© Shaw Media, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ontario Trails News - Cycling Safety

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A Blyth woman continues to recover in a London hospital after a crash in involving a car and a bike.
But for Julie Sawchuck, the life-changing injuries she suffered will not easily be overcome.
On July 29, the 41-year old was riding her triathlon style racing bike on Blyth Road, northeast of Goderich when it was clipped by a car from behind.   She is currently in a London hospital.
“I am paralyzed from the chest down. I have no feeling at all what so ever, can’t walk, can’t turn myself over in bed,” says Sawchuck. “The healing that has to happen is in the fracture in my back. They did surgery on that and fused my vertebrae together so T2 to T5 are fused with rods and screws.”
She suffered many other injuries to her head and face but says her brain is okay.
She has started physio.
Now she wants people to talk about how society can move towards better infrastructure for cyclists and better education for motorists.
“Maybe the county needs to have a designated riding route that all the shoulders are paved so we have at least an extra meter. To be riding on a county road and riding on the white line or just inside the white line and be passed really closely, there is nowhere for us to go.”
And she is also hoping a conversation will continue, not only about keeping an eye out for cyclists while driving, but being better when on the road.
“We got to slow down, we got to be mindful of what we’re doing when we’re doing it and focus on that one thing. When we are driving, we’re operating however many ton solid metal vehicle going 100 km/h.”
Sawchuck says she is overwhelmed by the messages she has received in support of the challenge ahead.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ontario Trails News - Greenbelt Route for Cyclists, Queenston

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By Penny Coles, Niagara Advance
Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates, Waterfront Regeneration Trust member Vicki Barron, Niagara Parks Commission chair Janice Thomson, Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and NOTL Lord Mayor Pat Darte celebrate the unveiling of the Greenbelt Route trailhead sign for cyclists in Queenston Monday. Penny Coles/Niagara Advance
Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates, Waterfront Regeneration Trust member Vicki Barron, Niagara Parks Commission chair Janice Thomson, Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and NOTL Lord Mayor Pat Darte celebrate the unveiling of the Greenbelt Route trailhead sign for cyclists in Queenston Monday. Penny Coles/Niagara Advance
Queenston has become one of the signed sites along the 475 kilometres of the new Greenbelt Route for cyclists.
Monday morning, a trailhead sign was unveiled in the parkette at York Rd. and the Niagara River Parkway, a site used as a staging area for cyclists.
The sign shows a map of the route, with suggested stops along existing trails, including wineries, museums, art galleries and breweries throughout Niagara. Since spring, 27 municipalities from Niagara to Northumberland have been posting signs to their sections of the route, and once complete, 1,050 signs will guide cyclists through almost two million acres of Ontario’s protected Greenbelt area.
David Hunt, 68, a board member of the Niagara Freewheelers Bicycle Touring Club, was up early Monday morning to cycle from his Fonthill home to Queenston for the unveiling of the trailhead sign.
Cycling is getting a little more attention every year, he said, and as more people take up the sport, municipalities and government agencies are putting in infrastructure that makes cycling “safer and more amenable.”
Increasing awareness of the benefits of cycling and promoting safe routes are important, he said.
“The more people take up cycling, the safer it will become for all of us, and the more economic spin-offs will increase. Cycling is great for so many reasons - it’s fun, it’s healthy, and as we cycle, we stop for lunch in local restaurants and spend a few dollars. And it’s good for socializing - it’s a great opportunity to meet new people.”
Cycling could be considered the new golf, said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, which has spearheaded the new route. It’s attracting a growing number of people, and is providing an economic boost to the province’s tourism sector by bringing cyclists of all ages and abilities to Queenston and other communities across Ontario’s Greenbelt.
Like the Waterfront Trail, the Greenbelt Route will encourage residents and visitors to experience the natural beauty of Niagara-on-the-Lake, said Lord Mayor Pat Darte, adding the town is looking at creating policies to promote healthy and safe initiatives, including cycling trails.
Wayne Gates, MPP for the riding of Niagara Falls and NOTL, called the Greenbelt Route “a perfect example of how we can create economic development and support our local businesses while also preserving our environment for future generations.”
In 2010, he said, two million visitors spent $391 million cycling rough Ontario.
“That’s a number that continues to grow. That’s money that goes right back into the pocket of people who live here,” said Gates.
“Across the province, towns and cities are starting to accommodate this positive hobby and encourage even more people to cycle. It’s fun, it’s exciting and it’s healthy. With the Queenston trailhead we can be part of that cycling boom.”
The sign is on Niagara Parks Commission property, which has its own 53-kilometre recreation trail and has partnered with the Greater Niagara Circle Route, the Trans Canada Trail network, the Waterfront Trail and now, the Greenbelt Route, said parks commission chair Janice Thomson.
“It is my pleasure to be here as we celebrate the success and importance of Ontario’s Greenbelt, through the unveiling of this trailhead sign, signifying Niagara and Niagara Park’s inclusion in the new Greenbelt Route.”

Monday, August 10, 2015

Ontario Trails News - Upcoming Review of Conservation Authorities Act

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By Emily Haws, The Nugget
The Ontario government is looking for feedback about its upcoming review of the Conservation Authorities Act.
The review states it wants to “address the roles, responsibilities and governance of conservation authorities in resource management and environmental protection.”
As a first step, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has developed a discussion paper and posted it on the provincial government's Environmental Bill of Rights Registry for a 90 day period. The last day to submit is Oct. 19.
The North Bay Mattawa Conservation Authority says it will be inputting its two cents through Conservation Ontario, which represents Ontario's 36 authorities. Conservation Authorities are mandated to manage and protect water and other natural resources. In particular, they work to protect citizen from flooding or drought.
“We will be there with the collective through dialogues and regional meetings,” said Brian Tayler, manager of the NBMCA. “We already have a great water management system but it has evolved over the last 20, 30, even 50 years – it is just timely to talk about being more efficient.”
The Conservation Authorities Act was created in 1945 in response to flooding, erosion, deforestation and soil-loss results from poor management of the resources. Over the years it has been changed slightly, but the province says a more through review is required.
Funding for the NBMCA comes mainly from three sources: self-generated funds, city tax levies from the municipalities the NBMCA operates in, and the Ontario government.
“The province funds the smaller portion of the three sources, and we would like to have a conversation about that,” said Tayler. “We want to take the approach of talking about watershed management in Ontario and what it means on behalf of the citizens and Ontario – we would talk about what we do and then see where that takes us.”
Tayler says that over the years climate change has affected conservation authorities across Ontario, including in the North Bay Mattawa region. Population growth is something that has affected Southern Ontario, Northern Ontario not so much.
“We have seen a lot of changes in land use over the years, and we've been responsive to that,” Tayler said. “Climate change is affected not only resources but even municipal infrastructure right across Ontario, and we need to be on top of that and have measures in place to allow us to adapt to that.”
“As a conservation authority we are not bad off, but we could always be better, and that is what I meant by evolving... managing natural resources in a sustainable way for both society and the economy is really important.”
Written comments to the review can be submitted by responding to the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry posting by searching the EBR registry number 0124509 on Email or submit answers to the questions outlined in the discussion paper ( through: The deadline to submit feedback of Oct. 19.