Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ontario Trails News - activities, development and support information about Ontario's trails!


Thanks to our returning Members - we appreciate your support!!

City of Toronto Parks and Recreation

toronto trails and nature


Announcing Trailhead Toronto!
In Fall of 2016 trail enthusiasts and supporters are headed to Toronto for a day of meetings and lively discussion about all types of local and regional trails.
Are you a member of the OTC? Are you Toronto based, a trail group, a service provider, a developer of trails? Why not join us as a presenter on the very important date of November 24th.
trailhead toronto About the event
Why is that date important? Its the day before the Ontario Trails Coordinating Meeting that is the implementation framework the province has adopted to address trail issues in Ontario. Ontario Trails Council is co-chair of the process.

For the last 20 years risk, user behaviour and resultant liability has been the number one issue facing trail managers and operators. Through member support we have achieved significant reductions in liability exposure that the insurance industry is declaring as positive. 
trailhead toronto blog
After 12 years of work we got a trails act that reduces trail liability making easier for ALL trail organizations to secure trails due to reduced risk exposure. This act supports the management strategy and vice versa.

So why not attend or present @Trailhead Toronto? Showcase your project to government and the other 25 leaders that will be meeting the next day to decide directions of change.

News From Around the Membership

Hike Haliburton Festival!hike haliburton festival news

Friends of Killarney Parkfriends of killarney art in the park

Wye Marsh Trailswye marsh trails

Thanks again to Joanna Milczarek who does a great job finding and sharing all these great trail stories on behalf of the Ontario Trails Council!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Ontario Trails News - news about Ontario's Trails, funding, use, development and activities on Ontario's trails

Submit Your Trail

Ontario Trillium Funding Announces Capital Grant Stream - register by July 29th!

Dear Friends of OTF,

I'm happy to share that the honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport has officially launched the Ontario150 Community Capital Program today as part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the province's place in Canada in 2017.

This new program is a one-time $25 million program of the Government of Ontario that is administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) and will award one-year grants that range from $5,000 to $500,000 to support local capital needs.

More precisely, this program will strengthen communities by repairing, renovating and retrofitting existing infrastructure to better address the diverse needs of Ontario communities while fostering economic growth.

The application deadline for the Ontario150 Community Capital Program isSeptember 14, 2016 at 5 p.m. ET.

Organizations that are already registered with OTF and verified as eligible to apply for OTF funding will automatically be eligible to apply for the Ontario150 Community Capital Program.

Organizations that would normally be eligible for OTF funding but are not registered yet can register with OTF now.

Beginning July 18, 2016, applications will be available through the registrants' portal in order to submit an application by the September 14, 2016 deadline.

Please visit www.otf.ca/Ontario150 to learn more about the program, read the application guide, access our calendar of outreach activities as well as the application form questions before the online application system goes live on July 18.

OTF is proud to have been chosen by the Government of Ontario to deliver this key program to mark a major milestone in the history and fabric of our province.

Chers partenaires de la FTO,

Je suis heureuse d'annoncer que l'honorable Eleanor McMahon, ministre du Tourisme, de la Culture et du Sport a officiellement lancé le programme Ontario 150 - Immobilisations communautaires aujourd'hui pour célébrer en 2017, le 150eanniversaire du statut de notre province au sein du Canada.

Le programme Ontario150 - Immobilisations communautaires est un nouveau programme de 25 millions de dollars ponctuel du gouvernement de l'Ontario qui est administré par la Fondation Trillium de l'Ontario (FTO) et qui va octroyer des subventions d'un an allant de 5 000 $ à 500 000 $ pour appuyer les besoins d'immobilisations locaux.

Plus précisément, ce programme renforcera les collectivités en réparant, rénovant et modernisant les infrastructures existantes afin de mieux répondre aux divers besoins des collectivités de l'Ontario, tout en favorisant la croissance économique.

La date limite de soumission d'une demande de subvention au programme Ontario150 - Immobilisations communautaires est le 14 septembre 2016, à 17 h HE.

Les organismes qui sont déjà inscrits à la FTO, et dont l'admissibilité à soumettre des demandes de subvention de la FTO a été vérifiée, sont automatiquement admissibles à soumettre une demande de subvention au programme Ontario150 - Immobilisations communautaires.

Les organismes qui sont normalement admissibles à recevoir du financement de la FTO mais qui ne sont pas encore inscrits peuvent s'inscrire à la FTO maintenant.

À compter du 18 juillet 2016, les formulaires de demandes de subvention seront disponibles aux organismes admissibles, directement dans leur portail, pour qu'ils puissent faire une de demande de subvention avant la date limite du14 septembre 2016.

Veuillez visiter http://www.otf.ca/fr/Ontario150 pour en apprendre davantage sur le programme, lire le guide des demandeurs, accéder à notre calendrier des séances d'information et aux questions des formulaires de demande avant que le système de demandes en ligne soit ouvert le 18 juillet.

La FTO est fière d'avoir été choisie par le gouvernement de l'Ontario pour administrer ce programme clé qui marque une page importante dans l'histoire de notre province.


Andrea Cohen Barrack
CEO, Ontario Trillium Foundation
Chef de la direction, Fondation Trillium de l'Ontario 


Government Looking for Feedbackcommentary wanted on government environmental registry

OTC Member Benefits!

ontario trails logoMembership is just the beginning! We thank you for becoming a member, here are some of the benefits that are now yours -
Great Benefits!
Access to insurance, trail insurance and other services from CAPRI.
Advocacy Information
Your voice in Toronto, in your town and city, and in Ottawa, representing you on issues that matter to you. Trail Legislation, Landowner Rights, Best Practices, Funding and Grant Programs.
Latest Information for Having Your Best Trail
OTC members can access the latest information to learn more about healthy living, trail planning, trail protection and managing your trail. OTC members get access to E-newsletter and programs like the Trillium Trail Network.
Community Events & Services
Get involved with one of our 200+ members across Ontario and join the many volunteers making a difference in your community. We'll promote and list your contribution at no charge.
Planning and Development
We'll get your community to support you! We'll get your community leaders to fund you. If we don't we'll assist in writing grants (for a fee) to get you the money you need to develop the trails you want.
Trail Management Services
We'll help you develop a Regional Trails Council, Incorporate, we provide governance guidance and education to staff and volunteer. We'll help you define projects, secure funds, and we'll bring other knowledge experts in to assit you!
"Trailhead" Brand Conferences and Meetings
We'll help you plan, invite, secure and present, on your trails! Use the power of our network to bring experts to your community, where your leaders can learn about latest practices, trail successes and opportunities. - From 40-140 people, we bring media and marketing of your work home to you! Investment Requred, OTC Earnings and Return on Revenue Offered.
PLUS! Award-winning WEBSITE Marketing
The Ontario Trails Council lists you, your trails, and your latest events, news about your work. Our award winning website gets people to Ontario Trails better than just stand alone!

ontario trails member benefits

Friday, July 15, 2016

Ontario Trails News - news from all around Ontario about Ontario's Trails, trail activities and trail locations.

A glimpse into Toronto ravines: The secret ‘remnants of wilderness’ that have been left behind

Chris Selley | July 8, 2016 4:34 PM ET

Toronto’s ravines “are the shared subconscious of the municipality,” Robert Fulford once argued in the National Post. It’s a lovely turn of phrase. These improbable green tears in the skin of the city are where a few of the rivers and streams Toronto co-opted and buried still get to announce their presence, however briefly, which in turn reminds us how we got here. With money and hard work and ingenuity, we built this place up from a wilderness into a great metropolis, mercilessly erasing and starting over — and too often forgetting — as we went.
Laura Pedersen/National PostEvergreen Brick Works in Toronto, Ontario on Thursday, July 7, 2016.

Yet “remnants of wilderness have been left behind,” as Anne Michaels wrote in Fugitive Pieces. “Through these great sunken gardens you can traverse the city beneath the streets, look up to the floating neighbourhoods, houses built in the treetops.” They are rarely visually spectacular or even, to the average citizen, particularly interesting beyond their very existence as quiet forests in an unlikely place. They are islands of urban tranquility of a type that few cities can offer.

Toronto makes excellent use of the upper Don Valley, our biggest “ravine.” Like much of this city, Thorncliffe Park is socially and commercially vibrant but esthetically rather bleak. Yet residents are minutes away from acres of lush river valley parkland, and on weekends it teems with multi-generation families from myriad backgrounds loving life.
Laura Pedersen/National PostA pedestrian enjoys the quarry at the Evergreen Brick Works ravine.

We seem far less sure what to do with the ravines proper: Moore Park Ravine, for example, which runs from the east side of Mount Pleasant Cemetery to the Brickworks; Rosedale Ravine, which runs from the west side of the cemetery, across Mount Pleasant Road and then into the valley; and Cedarvale and Nordheimer ravines, which take you from near Eglinton West station all the way down to Poplar Plains Road.

Even the official paths are haphazardly pavement, gravel and mud. Signposting is all but non-existent: identical-looking paths diverge without notice; stairs offer egress to parts unknown; this week I accidentally found myself on the east side of Rosedale Ravine, scrambling north toward the cemetery.
Laura Pedersen/National PostA broken storm sewer at the Rosedale ravine.

I wouldn’t recommend that hike, but it does offer some impressive views of Yellow Creek. You’ll see collapsing retaining walls and a phenomenal amount of soil erosion, which has fractured an enormous cement storm sewer pipe. You’ll see a heck-load of garbage, including not one but two discarded shopping carts.

And if you want to get there from Moore Park, you’ll find the stairs gated shut. A storm blew over a tree, which crushed the steps, explains Robert Spindler, a local resident who has launched a petition to fix the mess.
Laura Pedersen/National PostA broken storm sewer is seen surrounded by caution tape at Rosedale Ravine in Toronto.

That was three years ago. In the meantime, he says, a group of residents simply fixed the stairs themselves and installed stumps to help climb over the fence. City staff took the stumps away; residents put them back; and eventually, Spindler chuckles, city staff gave up.

To be clear, most ravines are in far better shape. But surely such a state of affairs wouldn’t be tenable in the first place if more people knew about them and used them. “Torontonians really don’t have a sense or appreciation of what a remarkable treasure our ravines really are,” says Jason Ramsay-Brown, who published a book last year about their history and ecology. “They’re 15 per cent of the city of which most Torontonians know nothing about.”

When I was a kid, the ravines were seen as threatening, especially at night: bad teenagers did bad things under the bridges; heaven knows what the men who lived rough down there might be capable of; the Vale of Avoca, part of the Rosedale Ravine, was a popular spot for gay men at a time when that was enough to impugn the topography itself.
Laura Pedersen/National PostA sign marking that the steps are closed is seen at Rosedale ravine.

Nowadays the stigmas have lifted, but the ravines are still obviously underused — whatever you think they ought to be used for. To engineers, they are drainage ditches. To naturalists like Ramsay-Brown, they are rare and endangered ecosystems, plagued by invasive species and full of rare urban fauna. To the average citizen, they might be anything from a jogging track to an unofficial mountain bike park or off-leash area. Not all of those uses are compatible.

The city is putting together a “ravine strategy,” to better coordinate the multiple agencies responsible for them and seek public input on how to protect, celebrate and attract investment to ravines. (They strike me as ideal potential targets for philanthropy.) Notably it proposes informing people in the ravines where they are and where they’re going — what a concept — which might attract more people all on its own.
Laura Pedersen/National PostA shopping cart lies in the water at the Rosedale ravine.

More people are a potential problem, though, and the strategy clearly has a bias toward protecting and restoring the natural environment over expanding human uses beyond simply visiting and appreciating. (Ramsay-Brown says dogs off leash can spread invasive species, and unofficial paths can disrupt nesting sites.) That seems entirely appropriate to me.

There are plenty of places to have a barbecue or ride a mountain bike or play Frisbee golf, as Ramsay-Brown says. “But nature has such specific requirements in order for it to thrive, and we have such limited space for actually doing it, that I don’t think it’s outrageous to say: ‘this far and no further.’”

• Email: cselley@nationalpost.com | Twitter: cselley

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ontario Trails News - a news archive of daily news about Ontario's recreational trails, today ATV


Southgate Supports Grey County’s ATV Policy

Southgate has endorsed a Grey County decision allowing ATV-type vehicles on county roads in the municipality.
Southgate already has its own bylaw allowing ATVs on township roads.
Southgate will continue with its ban on ATVs on sidewalks and municipal parks, but Deputy Mayor Norm Jack says there are still some off-road vehicles roaring down sidewalks in Dundalk.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ontario Trails News - trail safety through Trail Smart, trail signage, and The Trillium Trail Network.


Peterborough, our trails are becoming unsafe for pedestrians

Peterborough This Week
To the editor:
I couldn`t agree more with L.J. Jackson [July 6] regarding the safety for pedestrians on our trail system in Peterborough. I walk the Rotary and Parkway trials every day. Recently it has become dangerous to do so because of inconsiderate and rude cyclists who have no regard for those walking or pushing strollers.
Indeed, there are a few signs posted regarding cycling etiquette on the trails, but the signs are not very visible, and moreover, are ignored by most.
Last week a cyclist almost hit a toddler .The biker was going so fast that he had to skid and turn 90 degrees to avoid hitting the little girl. He was riding at such a furious speed that no one even saw or heard him coming.
I reported this incident to the police and was told they would look into the matter. When is that going to take place? After a child or a senior has been seriously hurt by a speeding bicyclist?
On the same note of safety - what is the law regarding motorized vehicles on the trail system? The sign says none are allowed. I was also almost run over by a motorized cycle whizzing down a hill to get to the path. I stopped and told him no motorized vehicles were allowed on the trails.
He replied that his bike ran on batteries. I think we all know batteries power motors.
Finally, I would like something done about individuals who ride their wheelchairs on the wrong side of the road and cross roads everywhere except at designated traffic lights and safe crosswalks.
Do they not have to obey road rules too? It is ridiculously dangerous for a car to have to swerve to avoid these people and yet that is too often the case.
Our trail system is one of the finest in Ontario but our trails and roadways must be monitored now so that all can enjoy them safely.
L. Schuett

NOTE: - The Ontario Trail Council has asked for funds for provincial trail signage, we have our trail safe program "Trail Smart" and we developed the Trillium Trail Network Plan for trails to promote all trail safety and best practices, but it was derailed by trail organizations.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Ontario Trails News - trails news about Ontario Trails, today highlights cycling on Almaguin

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Almaguin cycling group not just spinning wheels creating hub

Almaguin News
ALMAGUIN – Newly formed local cycling advocacy group Almaguin in Motion has had a busy spring.
Since the group founder Dave Wright approached Magnetawan town council in late March with ideas promoting cycling in the area, the group has been busy getting the word out.
One of the main goals of the group is encouraging businesses to become "bicycle friendly" by installing bike racks and registering with Ontario by Bike, a provincial bicycle tourism organization.
Also on the agenda of Almaguin in Motion is mapping out preferred cycling routes throughout the region on both paved and gravel roads, putting up bicycle route signage, installing bicycle racks and, eventually, starting a bike share program.
Courtney Rizzo and Dave Gray, local economic development officers have been instrumental in spreading the group’s message to the local municipalities and have met with great success.
Wright says, "Magnetawan really jumped on board, embraced the group’s ideas and enabled us to start implementing immediately. The council here is very progressive. By Canada Day, Magnetawan will have 15 brightly painted bike racks spread throughout town, 50 ‘bike route’ signs posted on our best cycling routes with over a dozen great routes starting and finishing in Magnetawan already available online."
And you don't have to be a bike fanatic to enjoy riding in Magnetawan. One of the routes is only eight kilometres long, which takes in highways 520, 124 and 510.
Not only has the Magnetawan Central School painted eight of the bike racks, they also painted the first "bike share" bicycle, which will available for anyone to use in town. This bike is one of many the group "AIMs" to have in bike racks around Magnetawan this summer.
AIM already has a Facebook page and is going to create a website tying the region together and will enable cyclists from southern Ontario to discover the great riding here and where to stay, eat and shop.
Almaguin in Motion was formed in April and already has members throughout the Almaguin area and is growing daily.
According to Wright, "We have keen local riders from throughout Almaguin who are coming together and electronically mapping out the best cycling routes from Novar in the south to west of Dunchurch and north of South River. These routes can then be downloaded onto smartphones and bicycle GPS units right off the internet and used by anyone. "
Not only is cycling a great way to enjoy the outdoors and beautiful scenery Almaguin has to offer, it's also a good form of exercise. Cycling is very easy on your joints and can be a great cardiovascular workout.
The most common complaint about bike riding is the seat is uncomfortable. This can dramatically improved by having your seat height and angle adjusted correctly and installing a gel seat cover or by wearing padded cycling shorts.
AIM has a social group ride every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. starting and finishing at a local restaurant/pub. The ride is open to anyone and there is a wide range of ability levels of participants. The location of the next group ride is available on the AIM Facebook page or by emailing Dave at davewright1406@hotmail.com.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ontario Trails news - a news archive about Ontario Trails, use, development and activity that takes place on trails

Submit A Trail

Toronto slowly improving its bicycle network

New downtown lanes a game-changer, says bicycle advocate Yvonne Bambrick

York Guardian
In 1991, 15-year-old Yvonne Bambrick rode the streets of Toronto with the brash confidence – making the considerable daily commute from her family home at Victoria Park in East York to Jarvis Collegiate by bicycle, along busy downtown streets that made scant accommodation for bikes.
“Back when I was a naive teenager, I didn’t think twice about it,” recalls Bambrick 25 years later, sitting on a sunny patio in Kensington Market, steps from one of the city’s massive on-street bike racks and just over a block from the busy College Street bike lanes.
“The concept of bike lanes wasn’t on my brain at all. I did know it wasn’t safe – I got doored on the Danforth and had a wipeout on bad road conditions. Otherwise I was just a teenager on her bicycle, happy to be free getting where she’s going. It meant I could have all the ice cream I wanted.”
In 2016, the Toronto that Bambrick bikes around is a much safer place. Toronto has a total of 558.4 kilometres of on-street bike lanes, including white bicycle lanes, contra-flow lanes that run against the flow of traffic, so-called “sharrows”, signed routes without pavement markings, and even a few kilometres of cycle tracks that are fully separated from traffic.
A lot of people use those lanes. According to the 2006 Census, Torontonians bike to and from work like nobody else in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, with 19,780 commuting by bike compared to 14,925 in 2001.
In 2015, Bambrick published a book for those cyclists: The Urban Cycling Survival Guide: Need To Know Skills and Strategies for Biking in the City. It was a book culled from her work advocating for cyclists as the head of the Toronto Cyclist’s Union – now Cycle Toronto – and her years riding Toronto’s sometimes tricky streets.
There’s a lot to know: how to make a safe left turn (there’s more than one way); how to suit up for cycling in bad weather; dealing with potentially hostile interactions; and how to navigate all those different styles of bike road infrastructure.
Currently, most of those routes are in neighbourhoods surrounding the downtown core – including the relatively new cycle tracks on Sherbourne, Adelaide and Richmond streets.
“Richmond-Adelaide were a game changer,” says Bambrick. “I was having to ride there all the time (before), and I’m a confident rider but even for me it was tough. This is amazing. Transformative.”
Bambrick and other cycling advocates are hoping for more change like that, on roads that extend beyond the downtown. This summer, the city will be embarking on a pilot project to try a cycle track along Bloor Street through the Annex neighbourhood – a test, to see whether a city-spanning track could be installed the length of Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue.
And the outcome of that could determine the implementation of parts of the city’s next big plan for cycling expansion: the Cycling Network 10 Year Plan. Under that plan, Toronto’s bikeway and bike trail network would be extended to the ends of the city: north along Yonge Street to Steeles Avenue; on Kingston Road in Scarborough from Eglinton Avenue to the Highland Creek Trail; Kipling Avenue from Bloor Street to the Waterfront Trail; and Midland Avenue, from Steeles to Lawrence avenues.
Toronto’s Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat said to provide an effective cycling alternative, the network needs to expand in the same way that transit networks expand – in a continuum. Do that, she says, and it becomes viable to commute, at least to downtown, from nearly anywhere in the city.
“With cycling, distance isn’t that much of a problem,” says Keesmaat. “The city is really not that big, and 10 kilometres, 20 kilometres isn’t really a big deal. And from the centre of the city you can get pretty much anywhere on a 10 kilometer bikeway. If you’re cycling from Scarborough to Etobicoke, that’s a big trip. But from the centre of the city you can get anywhere – all you need is safe infrastructure.”
The other thing that a cyclist needs, of course, is the will, and a bit of know how. Bambrick is an evangelist for the former and a resource for the latter. When asked what it takes to get on a bike, after dutifully recommending a careful read of her book, she suggests a step-by-step approach. Borrow a bike-share bike; go riding with a friend on a quiet street. If it’s been awhile, take a BikeShare course.
And remember: roads were originally for bikes.
”We paved our roads because wheelmen’s clubs advocated to get the roads paved. The bicycling movement has been around for a long time,” says Bambrick. “It’s never gone away.”

Friday, July 8, 2016

Ontario Trails News - trails news from all over Ontario, about Ontario trails and Ontario Trails Activities

Add Your Training Trail!

Quest for Gold: Northern athletes, sporting events access provincial funding
The U-18 Baseball World Cup in 2017 in Thunder Bay and 15 city athletes are eligible for sport funds

By Cathy Alex, CBC News Posted: Jun 30, 2016 6:30 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 30, 2016 6:30 AM ET
Tobias Quinn of Thunder Bay, competing in the freestyle 1.3km event at the 2016 Haywood NorAm World Junior/U23 Trials and Ontario Cup at the Lappe Nordic Centre is a biathlete and part of Ontario's Quest for Gold program.
Tobias Quinn of Thunder Bay, competing in the freestyle 1.3km event at the 2016 Haywood NorAm World Junior/U23 Trials and Ontario Cup at the Lappe Nordic Centre is a biathlete and part of Ontario's Quest for Gold program. (Martin Kaiser)

The Ontario government is investing $16.76-million in sports in the province, and some of that money could be coming to athletes, and event organizers in northwestern Ontario.

"Sport is all about creating opportunity for young people to participate," says Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

"It's about creating healthy habits for life. It's about getting young people excited and energized."

Eleanor McMahon, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport in Ontario, says the provincial government is investing $16.76-million in athletes and sporting events across the province. (Twitter)

There are 15 athletes in Thunder Bay, participating in diving, curling, cross-country-skiing and wrestling, who are eligible for funding from Ontario's Quest for Gold program, she said.

"It pays for their expenses, generally, it helps them to excel, and it helps them to spend time on their sport," McMahon said.

Organizers of theUnder-18 Baseball World Cup in Thunder Bay in 2017 may also be able to access funding for the event through the Ontario Sport Hosting Program.

"I think that would be absolutely fantastic," said McMahon.

"My understanding is that there has been an approach made to the ministry," she said, "and so I look forward to hearing more about that and to providing assistance in any way we can" including assistance with the application process.

A portion of the funds from this program are also earmarked for helping Indigenous and low-income children and families have more access to sports, said McMahon.

The Community Aboriginal Recreation Activator program provides funding to neighbourhood groups and First Nations to hire people to create a sports and activity program, designed specifically for the needs of that community, she said.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Ontario Trails News - an archive of significant Ontario trails News and Events taking place in Ontario, cycling in Ottawa

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Denley: Let's not overstate the virtues of cycling

More from Randall Denley

Published on: June 29, 2016 | Last Updated: June 30, 2016 9:30 AM EDT

Cyclists and drivers should all obey traffic rules. ERROL MCGIHON / .

I’ve never really understood just what it is that makes riding a bicycle so special. Sure, riding a bike is good exercise and an inexpensive way to get around, but that’s all it is. Cycling’s contribution to our transportation needs is minimal, as is its contribution to improving the environment.

And yet, when they climb on a bike, some cyclists believe they are on a planet-saving moral journey that entitles them to demand special bike lanes and as much government spending as they can get. In addition, they claim a right to ride on sidewalks as required and to ignore the laws that apply to bicycles. All while complaining about drivers and claiming that cyclists are subsidizing motorists.

The city government encourages this line of thinking by pretending that cycling is a vital part of our transportation network, at least until it comes time to spend money on it. According to the city’s transportation master plan, cycling makes up about 2.7 per cent of the morning commute and two per cent over the whole day. As a means of practical transportation, it is close to irrelevant.

Reevely: The biking myths that won't die
Reevely: Ottawa's bike-friendliness is a lie
Therien: Cyclists, wear a darn helmet!
Bylaw blitz seeks to bust cars in bus and bike lanes

You’d never know it from watching Ottawa’s cyclists, but a bicycle is classified as a vehicle under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act. That means cyclists must obey all traffic laws and have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers, but who hasn’t seen cyclists drive up on sidewalks, sail through stop signs, ride the wrong way on one-way streets and make unsignalled turns?

My colleague David Reevely has written a pair of columns this week that offer some insight into cyclists’ thinking. Without endorsing the practice, he explains that cyclists make a habit of gliding through stop signs because bike routes off major roads are often on streets with stop signs every 50 feet. Actually stopping would take away all of a cyclist’s momentum. Similarly, cyclists ride on sidewalks because the city has refused to make major roads like Bank Street safe.

Clearly, these things happen, but who really thinks it’s safe to ride a bike on a sidewalk meant for pedestrians? One can easily imagine the sympathy a driver would get if he rolled through a series of stop signs, citing reluctance to wear out his brakes, or a desire to burn less fuel.

The city has responded to cyclists’ dissatisfaction by building bike lanes as an attempt to help cyclists get safely through the core. As Reevely observes, bicycle lanes like those on Laurier Avenue are clearly hazardous. The problem comes when vehicles turn off Laurier and potentially cut off or even run over cyclists. This is drivers’ fault, mostly, but cyclists are responsible for their own safety. Anticipating hazards when riding in urban traffic would seem to be a basic survival skill. A bicycle lane isn’t an autobahn for cyclists.

Of all the claims that are made about cycling, the idea that cyclists are subsidizing motorists is the most dubious. Cyclists use the roads, just like car drivers do. Unlike car drivers, they don’t pay licence fees and gas taxes to contribute to their upkeep. Everyone benefits from roads. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to get groceries to the store or a repair person to the house. Even the virtuous electric cars would be rendered useless. We wouldn’t want that.

Cyclists would get a lot more respect if they were willing to follow the rules of the road. This is not just because drivers like rules. It’s a safety issue. Unpredictable moves lead to accidents. Despite what some cyclists seem to think, drivers actually do not want to run them over.

The recent dustup between drivers and cyclists suggests they have nothing in common, but the thing that should unite them is the poor condition of our roads. Too many of our major streets are tough to drive on in a car, much less a bike. Fixing those roads, not more bike lanes, would be the best thing the city could do for cyclists and drivers.

Randall Denley is an Ottawa commentator, novelist and former Ontario PC candidate. Contact him at randalldenley1@gmail.com.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Ontario Trails News - a roundup of Ontario Trails News, a personal walk for Parkinsons from People Magazine

Despite Great Challenges, Harry McMurtry Walks 500 Miles and Raises $500,000 for Parkinson's Disease: 'I Couldn't Quit'

Harry McMurtry (left)

BY K.C. BAKER @kcbaker77777

06/29/2016 AT 04:35 PM EDT
Harry McMurtry's legs ached and his brow dripped with sweat as he walked through small towns and sprawling farms in upstate New York and Ontario, Canada, under the sweltering sun for almost two months. 

"All I kept thinking was, 'Just keep moving,' " McMurtry tells PEOPLE. "I couldn’t quit." 

Starting May 7, the Toronto native set out to complete 500 Miles for Parkinson's, a daunting, 45-day walk from New York City, where he lives with his wife of three years, Deborah Bradley, to his hometown in Canada to raise money and awareness for Parkinson's disease.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Ontario Trails News - an information archive ab out Ontario Trails and Ontario trail activity, development and projects!

Add your Event

Maintenance Begins Along the Cataraqui Trail

 | 2016/06/17
Various sections of the Cataraqui Trail will be undergoing regular maintenance over the next few weeks. Part of this maintenance will also include the installation of new gates at several locations. At this time no closures will take place but the public is advised to exercise caution in these areas and to observe directions from the workers involved.
The Cataraqui Trail is a 104 km long multi-use trail along a former railway line that goes from Smiths Falls to Strathcona (near Napanee). Permitted uses on the Trail include hiking, cycling, skiing and horseback riding.
Gates along the Cataraqui Trail are open during snowmobile season to allow snowmobilers with a valid permit to use the Trail. They are closed during the balance of the year to keep other motorized vehicles off the Cataraqui Trail. Other than snowmobiles, only authorized maintenance vehicles are allowed to have access to the trail.

For more information about the Cataraqui Trail please visit CataraquiTrail.ca

Thursday, June 30, 2016

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Sold out event draws 220 riders for Manitoulin Passage Ride 2016

By Alicia McCutcheon -
Jun 8, 2016
The family that Passage Rides together... Passage Ride 2016 was a great family event.
MANITOULIN—The annual Manitoulin Passage Ride has once again been hailed as a major success for the Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates (MICA), who host the event, and for the economy of Manitoulin as a whole.
It was a sold out ride of 220 registered riders, 140 of whom sailed to Manitoulin via the Chi-Cheemaun ferry. MICA President Maja Mielonen noted that of the cyclists who did not sail to the Island, most came from across Northern Ontario, including Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay.Manitoulin roads are a popular cycling destination, especially along the paved shoulders of Highway 6.

The Central Manitoulin Lions Club hosted a dinner and dance for the cycling guests on Saturday night with 240 people in attendance for the meal (with food by Garden’s Gate and the Burt Farm) with entertainment by Amanda Davids and the FunkRiders. Farquhar’s chocolate milk for the weekend was also provided by the Manitoulin West Sudbury Dairy Producers.
This year, there were three support stations located at Kenjgewin Teg in M’Chigeeng, LocoBeanz in Manitowaning and Northwind Adventures in Kagawong. On Saturday, sponsored by Kenj and 4elements, presentations by Justin Tilson on sustainable transportation and Pat McGibbon on fixing bike tires added to the scenic rides around Manitoulin. Ms. McGibbon also doubled as this year’s bike medic.
Many of the cyclists also toured the newly opened Muchmor Gallery in Providence Bay “and were just floored by how beautiful it was,” Ms. Mielonen said.
On Day 2 in Tehkummah, the Triangle Club put on a spread for the Passage Ride lunch complete with music by The Islanders. Ms. Mielonen said the cyclists were blown away by the “authenticity” of the Tehkummah event.
She also gave a nod to Ontario Provincial Police Community Services Office Steve Hart for his help with ensuring a safe ride for everyone and helping when necessary.
“There are more and more big groups that are coming,” the MICA president said, noting that about 50 riders came a day earlier and others didn’t depart until Monday, thanks to a partnership with the Chi-Cheemaun that gives cyclists free passage from the Friday to Monday. The Passage Ride expressed its gratitude to the Chi-Cheemaun by making the new Chi-Cheemaun brand feather wake logo the front of the 2016 jersey.
Ms. Mielonen also took the opportunity on Saturday night to announce the launch of the Alvar Treasure Rides all-inclusive cycling package coming this September. The package includes five days of cycling and four nights including ferry passage, four breakfasts, five lunches and four suppers, luggage shuttle, a cycling route map and museum fees for $980/person plus tax for double occupancy or $1,200/person plus tax for single occupancy.
Algoma-Manitoulin MP Michael Mantha was also on hand for the Saturday evening dinner and spoke to the cyclists on MICA’s good works with getting Island shoulders paved and its current battle to see Highway 540 among them. (Everyone signed MICA’s current petition to the Ontario government.) Mr. Mantha is the co-chair of the All-Stripe Cycling Caucus in the Ontario legislature and has worked with Ms. Mielonen and the rest of MICA on all of her lobbying efforts.Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha joins Maja Meilonen and Guy Nielon in celebrating the success of this year’s passage ride.
“We’re fighting like heck for Highway 540,” she said. “Since (the paving of the shoulders) of Highway 6, a lot has happened. Everyone wants in on the paved shoulders and there’s more government focus.”
Ms. Mielonen hinted that there could be more lobbying in MICA’s future too, this time to lobby municipalities to pave their shoulders.
Ms. Mielonen praised the numerous businesses that helped make the Passage Ride a success.
“It’s all coming together.”