The Ontario Trails Council (OTC) - Conseil des Sentiers de l'Ontario – is a charity that promotes the development, preservation, management and use of recreational trails in Ontario. http://www.ontariotrails.on.ca/
A cyclist rides along the Millenium Trail in downtown Whitehorse on a frigid Feb. 9. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of an e-bike bylaw that would designate how e-bike riders can use city trails. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
First two readings passed on Whitehorse e-bike bylaw
Delegate calls on city to consider age restrictions and further regulations
It’s Saturday, March 20. It’s not only the first day of spring, but the first warm sunny day after a long pandemic winter.
Cullum McConnell and his nephews, Ray, 8, and Frank, 6, enjoy the day skateboarding at Toronto’s Cedarvale Park. Beginners Ray and Frank happily skate around the dry splash pad as Cullum demonstrates some basic flips.
“It’s a nice park to have close by,” said Cullum, a teacher.
Located in Toronto’s west end between St. Clair Avenue and Eglinton Avenue, Cedarvale Park has extensive green space, along with athletic fields, a dog park, a splash pad, and deep cricket pitch. A trail also crosses through the forested ravine.
“I go running here,” said Cullum. “Sometimes, the kids ride their bikes through here, they like to watch dogs at the dog park, play baseball in the field, or go tobogganing in the winter. It’s got lots of facilities that we all make use of, and the park’s been used much more during the pandemic.”
He’s right about Cedarvale Park’s busyness. Several passerby on the paved pathway, a father and son play at a nearby tennis table, and friends and families grouped together on the distant grass.
Parks have offered people a relief from the COVID-19 pandemic’s stay-at-home orders. They have become essential and popular spaces for activity, entertainment and social connection. Park use is up — and it’s up a lot.
Adri Stark of Park People explains the increased use of Toronto’s parks:
Google has maintained a COVID-19 Mobility Report since Feb. 17 of last year, collecting mobility data from the location history of people’s phones and comparing it to pre-pandemic numbers. On the weekend of March 20, Google reported that park use was 30 per cent above pre-pandemic numbers in Canada. And last summer, Canadian park visits regularly got over 100 per cent above pre-pandemic levels peaking at 179 per cent.
Park People also conducted a COVID-19 parks survey that found 55 per cent of Canadian cities recorded increased park usage; coinciding with Toronto’s increase. The organization, which supports and mobilizes local groups and cities to realize the power of parks, acquired this data from 1,600 questionnaire responses distributed to park staff, city officials, and park visitors last June.
“The pandemic has led people to parks, trails, and natural spaces like never before,” Terri LeRoux, a senior manager in PARCS (Property, Assets, Recreation and Conservation Areas) at the Credit Valley Conservation Authority, said in an email. “There remains a sense of normalcy and calmness at our parks and conservation areas.”
This growth in visiting parks and conservation areas is matched by an increase in gratitude for green space. Park People’s survey found that 70 per cent of people had developed a greater appreciation of parks during the pandemic.
“I find I appreciate park space more in light of the pandemic and utilize it more than I otherwise would,” said Mike Burekas as he and his partner Anastasya Kurivean waited in line to use Cedarvale Park’s tennis courts.
They don’t ordinarily play tennis but decided to try it out because of the nice spring weather.
“It’s a beautiful park,” Burekas said. “It’s green space and nice to escape to. She lives in a condo and I live in an apartment, we don’t have yards and this is a nice open space.”
The closure of indoor recreation centres and gyms means outdoor spaces are a great venue for activities. The lockdown led some people to discover and learn new outdoor hobbies. For instance, Annette and David Carnucci tried cross country skiing.
“We usually downhill ski, but Blue Mountain was closed,” said Annette in a Zoom interview from her and David’s home in Collingwood, Ont. “I had the opportunity to borrow my friend’s skate skis and take advantage of it at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park.”
Closed recreation stores meant David couldn’t invest in new skiing equipment, so he borrowed skis, going so far as to wear extra socks so the boots could fit.
“We improvised, but we’re having fun learning something different.”
On a sunny March 21, a group of music students from Humber College played jazz for a large, well-spaced audience at Christie Pits Park, near the intersection of Bloor Street West and Christie Street.
“This specific thing is mostly thrown together,” said Nick Marshall, the group’s trombonist. “It’s whoever can come. We mostly call tunes, we don’t rehearse, and we play tunes we all know and work out on the bandstand.”
Ottawa, Ontario, March 12, 2021 – Investing in public transit strengthens communities, helps Canadians get around in faster, cleaner and more affordable ways, and ensures good jobs today while charting a path to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Investing in pathways and trails for cycling, walking, hybrid e-bikes and scooters, and wheelchairs gives everyone the opportunity to get out, get active, and access public transportation.
Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Parliamentary Secretary Andy Fillmore announced $400 million over five years to help build new and expanded networks of pathways, bike lanes, trails and pedestrian bridges. This is the first federal fund dedicated to building active transportation through Canada – powered by people – and part of the Government of Canada’s plan to create one million jobs, fight climate change, and build a more sustainable and resilient economy.
Hoping you would be able to attend this important webinar! As we all deal with aspects of COVID-19, an understanding of its impacts on trails and trail use should help all of us plan and manage our trails throughout this pandemic.
Line severed overnight, sending cars crashing to the ground, general manager says
Rhianna Schmunk · CBC News · Posted: Sep 14, 2020 7:33 AM PT | Last Updated: 7 hours ago
The cable of the Sea-to-Sky Gondola near Squamish, B.C., has been deliberately cut in the middle of the night for the second year in a row, leaving the tourist attraction in shambles and its staff completely bewildered.
The thick, downhill cable of the gondola was severed overnight, sending dozens of cars crashing into the mountain around 4 a.m. PT.
General manager Kirby Brown said his phone started ringing off the hook with the news before dawn.
With seven existing trails running about six kilometres, the local trails system is still in development, but promises to be one of the City’s top tourism draws, according to the Cold Lake Bike Park and Trails Society.
The society, formed last spring, now has seven members, and Don Harris and Ed Machtmes updated City Council on progress on the project during its Tuesday, September 8 meeting.
To date, nearly 900 volunteer hours have been invested in the construction of the trails. That doesn’t include time spent on regular trail maintenance and inspection.
“I can’t emphasize enough how are volunteers and the community have stepped up,” Matchmes added. “We have saved tens of thousands of dollars from people that would just come up out of the blue. We post on social media that we need either people or materials or what have you, and it just shows up. It’s just amazing.”