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E-Notes - May 2021
It's wild flower season in the woods. I find them as I walk along the Humber River and Mimico Creek, two streams with trails that I can readily access on foot from my home. The flowers make my heart glad, and remind me of spring-times past when I reveled in the sight of those flowers along the Bruce Trail. Next year, I tell myself. Next year!

April has held a number of highlights to report on, so we begin this issue with our AGM and this year's Volunteer Awards. Coincidentally, this past week also happened to be Volunteer Week, and last Thursday was Earth Day. An important week for a volunteer-driven conservation organization like ours. 

Also in this issue: We have a lovely personal tribute to Peter Leeney, who is retiring from the Board after many years, provided by John Grandy, our previous Club President. We tell you about a new badge design challenge. And we include a story about a  historic hike along the Niagara Escarpment in April 1962, one that led the way to creating what we know and love as the Bruce Trail. (You may recognize some of the names, especially Ray Lowes, and Robert Bateman.)

Happy May, everyone.
 
2021 TBTC Annual General Meeting 
Once again, the TBTC held its annual general meeting via Zoom, with more than seventy members logging in for the meeting and the guest speaker. The Club received and responded to a large number of questions from the participants as part of the general business. You can see a complete video at TBTC AGM.

As always, the highlight of the meeting was the presentation of awards to our members for volunteer efforts "above and beyond". This year we honoured the following volunteers:

Stephen Kamnitzer for his service as a board member and over 20 years of managing our Club’s content management, website and registration system.

Peter Leeney, who is retiring from the TBTC Board, for 20 years of volunteering in almost every role with the Board and on various committees. (See tribute to Peter by John Grandy, below) 

The Nina Carlisle Award is given to a longstanding volunteer (at least 5 years); this year's recipient was Alina Lin.


The Todd Bardes Award is given to an outstanding volunteer who has been in their role for fewer than five years. This year's recipient was Jacqueline Van Dyke.

Various Toronto Club trail captains were honoured for their long years of service in maintaining our trails.  They are: Kathleen Henry (10 years) Vladimir Bosnar (15 years), Laurent Thibault (15 years), Andre Rudnicky (20 years), Linda and David Noble (25 years). 


And finally, Neal Stein was honoured as the Trail Maintenance Volunteer of the Year.

Special thanks to Marlis Butcher, who stepped in as guest speaker when Mario Rigby was unable to participate.

 
Peter Leeney - Volunteer Extraordinaire
(This tribute comes to us from John Grandy, former President of TBTC)
My favourite memory of Peter dates from the time, many years ago now, when I was trying to complete my training as a hike leader. One of the required tasks for a trainee is to organize a hike on one's own, with an experienced hike leader joining you as a supervisor. I duly set up and advertized my hike - it was a fairly challenging car hike in Iroquoia section, as I recall - and Peter agreed to be my supervisor. We duly turned up at the appointed hour in our cars, and waited. And waited. Not a single other hiker appeared! Peter then consulted the rule book - which of course he knew by heart - and determined there was no minimum number of hikers required for a trained hike. So we were good to go! I duly gave Peter my verbal description of the hike, cautioned him as required on various issues, described how pit stops would work (somewhat simpler than usual in this case), and ascertained that he had good hiking boots and enough water. Then off we went. It was a great hike, more difficult than it needed to be perhaps, because we seemed to have a non-verbal agreement to see how fast we could both go. At the end Peter filled out my hike leader training record, and I received my final approval as a leader.

Almost anyone else would have said "sorry, buddy, try again when you have some hikers". But not Peter. He knew how important it was for me to complete my training and decided to make it happen. This little story tells you everything you need to know about Peter: as kind a man as you will ever meet, always diplomatic, always trying to find a way to get the job done.

These are the skills that Peter has brought to bear on every one of the many, many, volunteer roles he has taken on for the Bruce Trail. Not only for Toronto Club, where he has held pretty much every single volunteer position there is, including of course President, but also at the BTC Board of Directors, where he served as Executive Vice President. In these positions he demonstrated again and again his quiet competence, his striving always to find a middle ground between competing viewpoints, and his generosity of spirit. When it became my turn to be club President, following the tragic death of Todd Bardes, Peter was my Past President and on many occasions gave me the advice I needed to manage the herd of cats that is any group of Bruce Trail volunteers.

Peter is now finally retiring from the Club board of directors. But he will not be hard to find. You will see him out on the trail, giving directions or advice to hikers in distress; doing trail maintenance on a miserable day when most people would stay in bed; or helping out with one of our conservation projects. You see, volunteering is his whole life. 
 
 A New Badge Design Challenge
Hey, BTC members - last year you helped us design a beautiful new badge for Winter Hiking. The submissions were so wonderful, we are asking you to put your creative talents to work once again. How? In helping us redesign our Side Trail Badge. That's the one you can earn when you complete 45 km of side trails in the Toronto Section. (Full details about how to earn the badge can be found on our web page.)

If your design is chosen, you will earn a Bruce Trail Reference Guide or Bruce Trail buff. 

Badge submissions will be scored by the Badge Committee of the TBTC. Judging criteria includes creativity, connection to the Toronto Bruce Trail Club, and use of the side trail theme. Have fun! Please email your Side Trail Badge design in PDF format to tbtctreasurer211@gmail.com by May 12, 2021.

 
59 Years Ago, Six Hikers Made Bruce Trail History
Long-time Toronto Club member Grant Leigh sent us a very interesting article from an old (now defunct) Toronto Telegram newspaper, dated April 21, 1962. It was on this day that six individuals, including among them co-founder of the Bruce Trail, Ray Lowes, and artist Robert Bateman, set out on a seven-day hike along the Niagara Escarpment.
 
Their objective was to raise public interest in creating what we now know as the Bruce Trail.  Their 112-hike was reported by Toronto Telegram editor Harvey Currell, who was part of the group. This was the first continuous walk up the “central proposed hiking path,” following the Escarpment. Their hike ended at a youth hostel in Craigleith. Dr. Philip Gosling, co-founder of the Bruce Trail, joined the hikers for the last part of their journey. The Collingwood Chamber of Commerce and Town Council presented each hiker with Blue Mountain Pottery with the inscription” First Trail Breaking, April 1962.
 
You can read the complete story from the Telegram here
(E-notes thanks Grant Leigh and David Rowney for this story)
 
Lost Hiker Located
"S.O.S. My phone is going to die. I'm lost." It's a solo hiker's worst nightmare, especially when you have next to no supplies, and reception is so poor you only manage to send out one grainy photo that shows little more than your legs and some rocks below. That's a story The Washington Post reported on recently. It has a happy ending, luckily, because it caught the attention of a techie named Ben Kuo, who used satellite imagery (and perseverance) to identify the hiker's location. We found the story so fascinating we thought our readers may want to check it out, too. Washington Post, April 23 2021
 
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Toronto Bruce Trail Club E-Notes Editors, Publishers: Magdalena Vanderkooy mvkooy@gmail.com and Wayne Crockett waynehikes@gmail.com






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