Toronto Bruce Trail Club Blog
Book Excerpt: Trail to the Bruce
Posted on: 2018/06/12
The following is an excerpt from Trail to the Bruce - The Story of the Building of the Bruce Trail
by David Tyson. The book includes a chapter of each of the Bruce Trail Clubs with a section on
Side Trails and other features, such as waterfalls or tracts of land in that Club, that are named
after one or more persons. Such trails or features are usually named after someone who has made a significant contribution to the development of the club and/or the Conservancy and are a valuable source of historical data.
Side Trails* in the Toronto Section (starting at the south end)
-Philip Gosling Side Trail: Philip Gosling is one of the four original "founders" of the Bruce Trail, our first Trail Director and the founder of the Toronto Club. This trail was opened in August 2005. It extends from the Hilton Falls Conservation Area to a point on the Main Trail near the plaque honouring the first blaze on the Trail, which was painted by Philip in 1962.
-Al Shaw Side Trail: Al Shaw was a naturalist and hiker who was at the founding meeting of the Toronto Club on June 28, 1962 and has been active in the Club ever since. He was heavily involved in the building of the Club section of trail and, when the first part was opened, he went on to help the other Clubs. He completed the end-to-end in 1970 and served as the trail captain for the 7 kilometre section from St. Helena Road to 6th Line for 28 years. He has also been a major donor to the BTC and there is a plaque on the trail just south of Speyside which honours Al for his generosity. The Oak Ridge Trail Association has also named a side trail in his honour.
-Todd Bardes Meadowland Side Trail: This side trail was created in honour of Todd Bardes. At the time of his sudden death in 2015, he was President of the Toronto Club and had served on the Board for many years.
-Vanderleck Side Trail: The Vanderlecks were long time landowners who allowed the Club to put trail on their land.
-Charles Hildebrandt Side Trail: Charles was a lifelong naturalist and conservationist who started the Club snowshoe hike program. He also served on the Board of Directors and as a hike leader who was well known for his backpacking trips to wilderness areas.
-Brown Benton Side Trai: This trail is named after the two local Limehouse families, the Browns and the Bentons. Bert and Glenda Benton have had the main Trail on two sides of their farm for over 30 years. The Brown family allowed us, through a handshake agreement, to put the trail on their land in order to connect the Canada Goose Side Trail with the main Trail, shortly after the Canada Goose Trail was opened.
-Duff Pit Side Trail: This trail is named after the Duff family. Ian Duff has allowed a trail on his land for many years.
-Bennett Heritage Trail: Stewart and Violet Bennett created Scotsdale Farm in 1938 with an original 200 acres and eventually expanded it to 540 acres. In 1982, the estate holding the farm after their death donated the farm to the Ontario Heritage Trust. The Bennett Heritage Trail was officially opened July 1, 1992.
-Maureen Smith Side Trail: Maureen Smith joined the Toronto Club in 1983, was President from 1987 to 1990 and has held virtually every other position on the Board of Directors, in addition to also being a hike leader and trail captain. In March 2000 she founded the Halton Hills Chapter of the Toronto Club, which is the only "chapter" of a Club in the entire Bruce Trail Conservancy. The first meeting of the Halton Hills chapter was held on August 29, 1999.
-Roberts Side Trail: named after Mr. and Mrs. George Roberts who lived in the area and maintained this section of the Trail for many years. George Roberts served as President and Vice-president of the BTA.
Copyright: David E. Tyson
TBTC Shows Off Its New Trail At Terra Cotta
Posted on: 2018/06/20
The timing could not have been better - our club had just launched its newest section of optimum route trail near Terra Cotta, and the Terra Cotta Conservation Area was offering a day with free admission. And out of that a wonderful partnership was born: TBTC hike leaders led hikes on the newly created 12 km loop as well as family-friendly shorter hikes within the park, and in doing so they helped local residents enjoy the beauty of the park in a new way.
All told, 86 hikers participated, half of whom were not yet members of the BTC. They ranged from families with young children to adults preparing to walk the Camino pilgrimage route in Spain. There was even a local Georgetown resident who had never known the Bruce Trail passed so close to her home. She will be back to explore more of it, she assured the leaders.
And oh, the adventures they had! They discovered wildflowers (even a rare-for-this-area wild yellow orchid) and learned how to identify poison ivy. They found toads and fish swimming in the muddy water of Wolf Lake. They listened to the birds chirping and to woodpeckers tapping on trees high above them. They learned how to follow blazes and how to read Bruce Trail maps. Some overcame their fear of snakes, and all learned to fight off the mosquitoes with insect repellent. Several on the longer hikes said they had never before completed that kind of distance, and they ended the day with a huge sense of accomplishment.
Back at the park's visitors centre we had an information table where passersby as well as hike participants could learn more about the BTC and become members if they wished. We had great success on that front as well, selling a total of 10 new memberships.
It was a great day for building awareness of the Bruce Trail and its member clubs, and especially, given the location, awareness of the local Halton Hills chapter. Many people's interest really perked up when they heard there were hikes being organized by people who lived right in the area.
Hats off to Alina who pulled all of our volunteers together, to Janet and Magdalena at the information table, and to all the hike leaders - Malcolm, Peter, Duro, Lucy, and Dariush.
PS: The experience of the hiking was apparently so inspiring to Margreet, one of the hikers who took the hikes on Bruce Trail as part of the training preparation for her Camino pilgrimage, that she joined the TBTC as a new member after the hike and also wrote a blog telling how she joined this event and how she was touched by the Bruce Trail. "I had the feeling that we were at the right place at the right time (hiking the Bruce Trail on June 9). Some will call this serendipity, I call it God provides." --- Quoted from her blog. To read whole article, click the link below.
- By Magdalena Vanderkooy
More information: https://margreetkuypers.wordpress.com/2018/06/14/terra-cotta-12km-9-june-2018-2/
Camino preparation - on the Bruce Trail
Posted on: 2018/09/13
If you've ever walked the Camino in Spain, or even if you've only contemplated it, you know it's a big deal. There's a lot to prepare for both mentally and physically before you embark on an 800 km walk on the other side of the ocean. On the one hand your body needs to be ready to walk day after day with a loaded pack, and on the other hand you need to figure out all those unknowns: What should I bring? Is it safe to go alone as a woman? Will it be hard to find a bed? How bad is that snoring in the albergues? What is an albergue anyway?
For those who are not familiar with it, the Camino is an ancient pilgrimage route in Spain that leads to the Cathedral of St James in Santiago. There are in fact many Camino routes but the most well known is the 800 km long Camino Frances. The Camino has become very popular of late - in 2017 over 250,000 pilgrims from around the world reached the Cathedral. It has inspired books and films and blogs, including the feature film starring Martin Sheen called The Way and an excellent documentary, Walking the Camino: six ways to Santiago (both available through Toronto Public Library).
A few years ago, having finished both my End to End of the Bruce Trail as well as my first Camino, it occurred to me that the Bruce Trail could be an excellent platform for pilgrims to combine some physical training with opportunities to learn about all the other aspects of preparing for a Camino. All I had to do was bring together some seasoned pilgrims (we know they love to walk, and we know they LOVE to talk about the Camino) with people who would like to go in the future. The magic will happen on its own.
I tried it, and it worked even better than I imagined. The picture shows the group that hiked at Rattlesnake Point on Aug 26 2018.
By now the hikes are a standard part of my annual calendar. I schedule them in early April and in late August, kind of a launch for the most popular times to walk the Camino. Each "series" consists of three separate but consecutive day hikes in easy driving distance from Toronto. I suggest people walk with their loaded backpacks and if they can, walk all three of the days to experience what it's like to walk long distances day after day. On the middle day we include a pack demonstration, in which I show what I carried on the Camino and how I organized it.
Along the way when we take breaks we talk about things like foot care and poles and how to best use them. It's sort of like a classroom on the trail, but better, because there is so much Camino chatter that takes place as we walk. Everyone is ready to share their best advice and tell their own stories.
Look for more of these preparation hikes in 2019. And if you want to know more about the Camino and the local Toronto Camino community, check out these Facebook pages: Toronto Camino Pilgrims and Toronto Camino Pilgrim Walkers.
Here's one more picture, this one of the Monday Aug 27 walk in Boyne Valley. Can you beat that beauty and those happy faces?
- By Magdalena Vander Kooy
Interview With A Queen
Posted on: 2018/12/11
Interview With A Queen
(End To End Queen, that is)
Footnotes recently interviewed TBTC Membership Director Alina Lin, or as she is known by her alter ego, the End To End Queen.
What is your responsibility as Membership Director?
As Membership Director, I look to find new members who like hiking and outdoor activities, and find ways to bring them to the trail. For people who already like hiking, we want them to know that doing an end-to-end hike is a different way to enjoy the Trail.
Not a lot of people know that Hike Ontario has a program called Long Distance Hiker Award. There are three levels. When you finish 550 km on two trails that are over 150 km each you get the Red Pine badge; 950 km on three trails you get the Trillium badge, and 1,500 km on multiple trails you get the Tamarack badge. Not a lot of people know there are badges for hiking end to end.
What is it about end-to-end hikes that you find so appealing?
In the beginning the incentive was winning badges. I wanted to finish three long trails to get the Hike Ontario badge, the highest badge! After a few section End to End hikes, I got more into it because of the feeling of achievement â€” the achievement of leading a group of like-minded hikers finishing the whole trail! Seeing people who never thought they could walk hundreds of kilometers holding their badge and cheering; seeing strangers become friends during the hikes, and seeing non-members join the Conservancy or become Hike Leaders of the Club - all these inspired me to keep doing End to Ends.
How did you first hear about the Bruce Trail?
I heard about Bruce Trail through Meetup. I was hiking with an Asian outdoor club; a hiker at the group had posted a hike organized by the Bruce Trail Club. That was in the summer 2014 and ever since I have been hiking a lot on the Bruce Trail.
What motivated you to become a hike leader?
When I first joined the Club, I noticed the majority of organized hikes were shorter than 15 km and required to meet early, like 8:00 am in the morning. I saw a need for people who want to hike long distance to become involved, so I became a hike leader to have hikes according to my preferences. I believe we need to diversify the types of hikes to attract different groups of hikers.
What is your favorite season for hiking?
I hike from spring to winter. My favorite hiking seasons are fall and winter. I focus on car hikes.
What is one of your most memorable hikes?
On the Ganaraska Trail; it's 500 km. There was one part that was so overgrown - it's hard for them to attract volunteers to keep the trail well maintained. Most members are senior. Our hiking group had to take off our boots, roll up our pants, and wade across the river; there was no other way.
How does the Bruce Trail compare with other trails you have hiked?
Bruce Trail is much better maintained and blazed. It's the best maintained trail among the four trails I have done (the other three are Oak Ridges Trail, Ganaraska Hiking Trail and Grand Valley Trail).
What was one of your memorable Bruce Trail Hikes?
The first time I led a hike for Toronto section, when we crossed Speyside which is notorious for furious mosquitoes. We hiked 35 km and it was very hot. We knocked on doors to ask people for water. Despite conditions, all finished the hike with no injuries, except for mosquito bites - everyone had around 60 bites on face, shoulder, arms and legs.
Some people would never want to hike again after an experience like that! What kept you hiking after that?
I moved to Toronto in 2009 and became a hike leader in 2015. I made friends in Canada, three types. There were friends I met at business school, friends I met at work, and friends at hiking. It's a good way to meet friends. When you like something, it doesn't matter, being bitten by a mosquito, or seeing a snake, or even getting injured, you just keep going back.
What is the special appeal about end-to-end hiking?
Each section is different. When you go back, after the second or third time, you have a better picture of the trail. A special moment is presenting the badge ceremony at the end of the last hike. It's a special moment for people who have completed the entire end-to-end. For people who didn't do the entire end-to-end but did the last hike, it inspires them to see the badge ceremony. At the last hike in Peninsula end-to-end we had homemade cookies and champagne at Tobermory as part of the badge ceremony. It was a very memorable experience!
What message would you like to impart on hikers?
I hope more people will try end-to-end!
If you have not yet hiked with Alina, look through the Hike Listings in this issue and sign yourself up for one!