On Saturday, June 9th, in celebration of International Trails Day, a group of cyclists rode the Lindsay to Omemee section of the newly-designated Kawartha Trans Canada Trail. Although the Trail was officially “non-operational,” this was a chance to view the terrain and learn about Trail plans from Al MacPherson, KTCTA President.
On Tuesday, October 7th, with the Lindsay to Omemee section completed, we celebrated the official opening. In the afternoon, under blue skies, Valerie Pringle, TCT Chair, cut the ribbon in Omemee as the 500 schoolchildren thronging the trail cheered. At 7:00, in Fleming College’s Crombie Theatre, a crowd heard from KTCT President Al MacPherson and Valerie Pringle, enjoyed a slide show presented by Dan Andrews, head of the Ontario Trans Canada Association, and heard singer David Archibald singing a song composed for the event.
Here’s how Jeanne Pengelly, Communications Officer for the Trillium Lakeland Board of Education, described the Omemee event:
“The only thing bigger than their smiles, were their hurrahs. As students from Lady Eaton Elementary School and Scott Young Public School in Omemee formed an audience to the east and west, national television personality Valerie Pringle cut the red ribbon to officially open the newest section of the TransCanada Trail. The section, from Omemee to Lindsay, was completed this summer. The trail runs behind both Omemee schools.
To celebrate the event, entertainers, dignitaries, neighbours, teachers, principals, cyclists, walkers, and even a horseback rider joined the students in the yard of Lady Eaton Elementary School. “This is spectacular, wonderful country,” said Pringle, who is also chairperson of the Trans Canada Trail. “You and this trail right here connect you like a thread to all of Canada. It is a magnificent dream, and it’s yours.”
The longest trail in the world is being completed section by section, by local volunteers and donations. Karen Cook, co-ordinator of Community Relations for the Kawartha Trans Canada Trail Association, told students they would be the “guardians of the Earth in the future.”
“I almost get teary,” Cook said as she prepared for the event. “To me it’s about preserving the environment and giving future generations a place where they can enjoy it. What better place to hold this event than here at the schools, where we can open a window for those future generations.”
Lady Eaton Elementary School Principal B.J. Mailloux-Brown urged students to look to their own backyards. “Leave the computers, the cell phone, the electronic games,” she said. “Put on your sneakers or your skis or your snow shoes. It’s all about connecting with nature and connecting with each other. It’s very exciting that this is right here in our back yard.”
Scott Young Public School Principal David Sornberger said the event is exciting for students, who already use the path for science classes, Terry Fox Runs, bike trips, and phys ed classes.”
Pictures of both events will be posted in a gallery shortly. We will also be posting David Archibald’s song as an audio file.
Ontario Trillium Foundation Grant
The upgrade of the tread surface of our Trail from Lindsay to Omemee was made possible by a grant from The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario and one of Canada’s leading grantmaking foundations. In awarding this $75,000 Community Program Grant to the Kawartha Trans Canada Trail, the OTF noted that the trail work “will improve its use and create opportunities for recreational activities for residents and visitors.”
The Trail upgrade is now underway and will be completed by September.
Economic Impact of Proposed Trans Canada Trail in Central Ontario Region
In the fall of 2004 Trans Canada Trail Ontario released the findings of the economic impact of the Trans Canada Trail in Ontario, completed by Pricewaterhouse Coopers. It was the first attempt to best understand the complex relationship between estimated trail user expenditures over the length of a future connected Trans Canada Trail.
For the purposes of segmentation, the study area of Ontario was broken out into 12 regions aligned with established tourism zones. Kawartha Lakes is well within the boundaries of region 6, referred to in the study as Central Ontario. The scope of the study was regional and provincial and does not provide a concise detail of local area impacts; however, based on the length of local area Trans Canada Trail segments (or intended segments) and proximities to concentrated population centres and traditional tourism regions, local trail proponents could estimate a proportion of a regional impact.
At a point in the future when the Trail is connected and marketed with associated services and maintenance complementing the trail user’s experience, the Trail is estimated to have the following impacts:
- Estimated $2.4 Billion generated annually in value added income, of that $152.5 Million will be contributed by visitors (representing “new money” into the economy).
- Over 42 000 Ontarians can attribute their jobs to the Trans Canada Trail in Ontario’s recurrent expenditures, and
- Total recurrent tax collections to all three levels of government will add to about $1.04 Billion annually.
The Trail was not completed as of the summer 2005; as such, construction is required to achieve a provincial connection. The estimated cost to connect the trail in Ontario without in-kind support is approximately $160 Million. Consequently, the cost of building the remaining sections even without in-kind support can be recovered in less than four years from total tax revenue from trail user’s annual expenditures.
Central Region includes the modest population centres of Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Ajax, Pickering, Barrie, Midland, Penetanguishene, Orillia, Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Huntsville along the proposed route of the TCT. Many of these communities are gateways to and hubs within “cottage country”, often referred to as Ontario’s playground.
Of the 12 regions, Central ranks the 4th highest cost to construct the trail, without in-kind support to an estimated $28 Million. The estimated length of the trail in Central Region will total 584km with approximately 65km located in the city of Kawartha Lakes. To date this accounts for the third largest gap in the trail in all of Southern Ontario.
As a significant tourist destination, Central Region is estimated to benefit more than any other region in the province. Fully 20% of all local expenditures predicted to occur in Ontario within proximity to the Trail will be in Central Region. The greatest non-local (visitor) impact in Ontario will occur in Central Region surpassing, Toronto, the Niagara region and the National Capital area. An estimated 70% of all non-local expenditures occurring in Ontario will happen within Central Region.
With more than 2/3rds of the estimated provincial visitor expenditure occurring along less than 15% of the length of the trail, communities within Ontario’s Central Region stand to gain significant return on investment from the establishment of a connected Trans Canada Trail in their local/regional municipalities. Trans Canada Trail Ontario is committed to providing 10% seed funding towards Trans Canada Trail designated construction projects including those within Kawartha Lakes.