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E-Notes - November 2020
Autumn in Ontario has outdone itself this year with the display of spectacular colours. Now, as we head into what may well be the bleakest of months, we offer a content-rich issue of E-Notes for all our Bruce Trail enthusiasts.

We start with an article by a guest contributor, Dr. Kelly-Leigh Thomas, President of the Blue Mountains Club, about that question that puzzles many hikers, whether it's ok to toss organic materials into the forest (hint - it's not!). Then we tell you about a partnership with CICS - the Centre for Immigrant and Community Services - in which we introduce Newcomers to birding in Toronto. We brag a little about winning an award for Trail Maintenance, and we have an update on the status of the Winter Coach Program. As if that's not enough, we invite you to read about and enjoy the wonderful artwork of Club Member Corie Celeanu, and finally, we remind you about the Bruce Trail Pledge.

Phew! Happy reading, and happy November, everyone.
Leave No Trace.  Pack it in - Pack it out 
(This is an abbreviated version of the original article)
 Do banana peels, orange peels or apple cores belong on the trail? Some hikers defend tossing these items into the bush. “They are biodegradable, I’m feeding the squirrels and birds.”
Yes, fruits are biodegradable, but is Mother Nature your compost heap? Of course not! Orange peels can take over 6 months to decompose, and banana peels, 2 years. Imagine how much garbage our group hikes, often with 20 or more hikers on the trail (pre-pandemic), could produce if everyone shared this philosophy.
Now for the wildlife…we all know that habituating wildlife does them no favours. Touching juvenile wildlife may cause the adults to abandon them. Wildlife that lose their natural fear of humans and pets leave themselves vulnerable and exposed. Altering their behaviour, by drawing them out of hiding in their natural habitat, can leave wildlife victim to predators. Feeding chippies, squirrels and seagulls may look cute but it leads them to associate people with food. They often become aggressive and persistent, climbing into open backpacks, tents, houses.
My new pet peeve, if you’ll pardon the pun, is dog poop. While our club leaves our canines at home while hiking, we meet many hikers that have their dogs on the trail. Excrement on the trail ranges from great big piles to those little nicely tied plastic bags that adorn the side of the trail or even hang from a tree. This excrement is left behind by hikers who think dog poop is natural, biodegradable and not in need of packing it out. Plastic bags of dog poop can take over 30 years to “biodegrade”. Dog excrement is not indigenous to the forest or our trails. Our domestic canine’s stool can carry parasites, exposure to medications and parasiticides that do not exist in nature - again, unsetting the natural balance for the wildlife on our trails. Hikers need to carry out their dog’s poop!
Remember the Trail Users’ Code when enjoying our trails:
  • Leave the trail cleaner than you found it. Carry out all litter.  
  • Where dogs are permitted, keep dogs on the leash and under control at all times.
  • Do not disturb wildlife and farm animals.
 Leave no Trace means just that!

E-Notes thanks the author, Dr. Kelly-Leigh Thomas,Veterinarian/President of Blue Mountains Bruce Trail Club, for this important article.
Spotting Raptors with Newcomers to Canada
On days after rainstorms in September and October, with a NW wind blowing, you have a good chance to see raptors migrating through our city. George Lennon, one of our Club’s hike leaders, recently introduced a group of Newcomers to Canada to this spectacle on a walk along the Doris McCarthy trail in Scarborough.
The walk came about through a partnership with the Centre for Immigrant and Community Services (CICS), and is one of the ways in which our Club is nurturing diversity and inclusion in its programming and leadership. Last year Tom Swales led several hikes for the CICS.
George says he chose the Doris McCarthy Trail because it offers a good combination of ravine and lakeshore, so you can spot shorebirds and waterfowl as well as raptors. It turned out to be an excellent day for birding.
“Just as we reached the lake at the bottom of the ravine, we spotted a bald eagle. Then we saw red-tailed hawks, often two and once even three together, maybe a dozen altogether. We saw one red-tailed hawk sharing the same flight path as a Cooper's hawk. It was hard to keep a count as the birds would appear and disappear over the top of the Scarborough Bluffs.”
A second hike was planned as well, but with the new surge in Covid-19 cases in the city that one had to be cancelled. George hopes to resume this partnership in spring 2021, as spring migrations bring the return of our summer songbirds.
Painting with the Soul
by Corie Seceleanu            
Corie's painting of the Nassagaweya Canyon won the December spot in the 2021 BTC calendar.

Five years ago, when I was having a rough time in my job, I was looking for a way to release stress, anxiety and uncertainty. I’m a positive person and I see life as a gift, so I put into practise my timid painting knowledge and skills and started to paint. I started with acrylics and tempera, but soon, watercolours became my most loyal friend and came with me everywhere. Painting became my second job, over weekends, along with outdoor trips into the woods. Both pastimes make my soul laugh, rise and be happy.

A few years into my new passion, someone stopped me and asked if I was not bored with taking trips into the forest and seeing the same sceneries or repetitive landscapes that are found everywhere.  In that moment, I realized that for some people the “forest” is just a place, a passage or a corridor to pass through, without excitement or pleasure, a kind of emotionless journey. For me, trips into nature are essential food for my soul and spirit and, ultimately, for my paintings. An emotion, a light, a breeze are all intangible concepts, and somehow, they still shape my painting. As well, sometimes moments on the trips bring back childhood memories that lift my soul and thrill my senses in the present.
To me “Nature composition” is reflected on my retina and transposed onto the surface of the canvas or whatever material I am working on. It goes through multiple transformations, emotionally and physically. My goal is not to create a mirror image of the picture but to express and interpret a feeling that was hidden and now surfaces as joy and as a sacred moment on the essential existence.
The first stroke of the brush is the first step into unknown, much like the first step in a hike, but at the end you feel exhilarated, and promise yourself that you will do it again. In my painting, the final stroke is that wow that lifts the spirit.
I am so thankful and grateful that I found my purpose and inspiration in life thru paintings and hobbies, since I became an enthusiastic BTC member 12 years ago.
And many thanks to all my friends who supported me in my difficult time! They know who they are!
TBTC wins Award for Trail Maintenance
As announced at the recent BTC AGM, the Toronto Bruce Trail Club won the Philip and Jean Gosling Award for the bridge our Club built between Appleby Road and Campbellville Road last year.  The award is "Awarded annually to the Bruce Trail Club completing the year’s most significant trail project which improves or protects the environment".

Congratulations to our Trail Maintenance Director, Marlis Butcher, and her awesome team of volunteers, Pete P, Paul V, Peter L, Rose Mary, Dave P, Lois, Jude, Peter K, John B, Andre, John C, Janet M, David R, Byron, Chris, Brad, Sara, Richard, Ken, Paul F, Klaus, Daryl, Ron, John F, and everyone else who had a hand in helping to replace the old "Campbellville" bridge.

You can read the full story of the building of the bridge in  this article that appeared in the January 2020 issue of E-Notes.
Winter Coach Program
Will the TBTC be able to run our Winter Coach Program in the new year? As Ontario is currently experiencing a second wave of the pandemic, it’s hard to predict.
Still, as Martina Furrer, coordinator of this program, will tell you, getting outside in the winter is important for everyone’s mental and physical health. Our Coach Program is very popular, given that many of our members don’t have cars, and this gives them an opportunity to get out of the city.
In this spirit, Martina has prepared a report about what might be possible if public health conditions allow, and what kinds of measures the Club should put in place to reduce health risks. Her report, which was presented to the Board at its Oct 20th meeting, is now posted on our website. You can view it here: 2021 Winter Coach Program.
Bruce Trail Pledge
You still have a week to join the Bruce Trail Pledge!
  • Leave the Trail better than you found it
  • Share your plant & wildlife sightings
  • Be an Ambassador
  • Support conservation with a gift
You have until October 31st to take the pledge. Go to Bruce Trail Pledge for all the details!
Questions or comments for the Toronto Bruce Trail Club?
E-mail us at 

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Toronto Bruce Trail Club E-Notes Editors, Publishers: Magdalena Vanderkooy and Wayne Crockett

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