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E-Notes - June 2020
Warm weather and sunshine, trees in leaf, and hikers are itching, though this year it isn't from bug bites! We are all yearning to hit the trails, and our challenge will be to do so safely. You'll find more on this in this newsletter.

This month our Club news continues to be dominated by the Coronavirus. On Saturday we held our first-ever virtual AGM (and, hopefully, our last, said our President, Graham Allen). Read David Rowney's report, below.

Also: we asked, and you answered. Several of you sent in your Covid-19 stories. Thank you, thank you.
Sustain our Circle of Trust
This past week has been marked by an early dose of optimism. More specifically, we've had a promising update on a potential coronavirus vaccine and more progress on the easing of restrictions and the reopening of trails. Offsetting this to some degree is the ongoing struggle to slow the spread of the virus globally.

As countries around the world consider when and how to ease restrictions, attention is being focused on the best ways to avoid second or third waves of Covid-19 infections. Our Club is playing its part to ensure we are following Provincial recommendations as we return to our Hiking Program on July 1. The first and foremost role of the Hiking Director is to make sure they protect their members from external dangers and sustain our circle of trust.

Strict adherence to the public health basics of physical distancing, handwashing and cough etiquette must continue as the bare minimum. Our hikes will be limited to Bruce Trail members. Registration is confined to online pre-registration. An online liability waiver will be included in the online registration. We will no longer need to have hikers sign the waiver form at the start of a hike.

Car hikes are restricted to 10 people and urban hikes to 20 people. No car hike will involve a car shuttle as that contravenes strict adherence to the public health basics of physical distancing The Board recommends people arrive at the trail head with members of their own household or partners in their own circle of trust and that they not share rides with anyone else.
David Royle, Hiking Director and Vice President, Toronto Bruce Trail Club
Photo credit - Doug O'Neill

“Virtual” Zoom Meeting for AGM brings over 70 members together online 
It was unlike any other AGM for the Toronto Bruce Trail Club as our annual event was held entirely online, on Saturday May 23, 2020 via Zoom. Many members look forward to connecting with one another over a hike, food and hospitality at one of our typical AGMs.  Still, despite COVID-19 and physical distancing, the speakers did their best to inspire our Zoom attendees and we had many great questions.

There were over 70 virtual attendees. Presentations and questions were still the focal point, along with new board nominations, volunteer awards and our guest speaker, Michael McDonald, Bruce Trail Conservancy, CEO.

Michael McDonald highlighted the importance of conservation and addressing climate and how the biodiversity of the Bruce Trail is an important contributor. The Bruce Trail has 16,000 acres of land preserved, 245 nature reserves, and provides refuge for 74 species at risk.

President of the Toronto Bruce Trail Club Graham Allen and Treasurer Margaret Corner presented on priorities of the club and our financial status. Margaret said the Club is in a good financial position and has $21,176 in revenue in excess of budget, partly as a result of deferred events. Graham outlined major priorities for the next three years which include a) supporting the BTC’s mission of preserving a ribbon of wilderness for everyone for ever b) reaching out to attract more diverse and younger members, and c) becoming more digitally nimble in communication, event registration and payment systems.

The Nina Carlisle Volunteer award recipient this year was Vladimir Bosnar, pictured at left, who is a long-time land steward director, trail captain, hike leader, trail maintenance worker and conservationist.

Trail maintenance Certificates of Appreciation were given to Janet Coleman, Janet Lelievre. Paul Vanhanan, Andrew Costley and Dave Paape. The outstanding Trail Maintenance Volunteer of the Year is Jude Keast.
A big thank you to Jackie Randle and Meghan Croll of the BTC for so capably organizing the AGM.

A recording of the AGM is now available on the new TBTC Youtube channel. Click here to access.
by David Rowney, Director of Communications
It is doing us the world of good
From our Hiking Director
Even though Brenda and I remain conscious of the real challenges that we still continue to struggle with today, there is a sense that the enforced lockdown has done us the world of good. For every one thing we have to regret we may have lost, there are at least ten things that we are grateful for.

We enjoy the space that is open and green. We head towards water, which knows nothing of the interruption to ordinary life. We visit the Beaches and can indulge in that great social pleasure of strolling along the boardwalk and appreciate the smile and nod at benevolent strangers. We are hosting a lady from Shanghai and took delight in imagining a red muskoka chair, left idle overnight that had grown larger than life. That drew laughter and this picture of happiness.

There is magic in the small things that we at one time noticed and enjoyed. We recall the daily walks Brenda and I shared with our lovely children, Chris, Pat and Alicia. And their laughter, sense of fun and adventure we found in our community.
Lockdown has focused the mind on the things we treasure most. Such as the joy of sharing. The things we cannot do such as being with friends on hiking trips and the places we cannot go we long for.
But the decrease in noise and the increase in quiet has created the space to remember, to imagine and dream. We can hear the birdsong in the morning that wakes us to each beautiful day. The grass is greener this side of normal.

We are living the dream.
David Royle, Hiking Director & Vice President
Coping with Covid-19

We asked how you are coping with the limited hiking and walking options of the last few months. Thank you to these members who shared their stories.

Myrna Markovich
I run a small weekly walking group in west Toronto. But when the province declared an emergency because of COVID-19, resulting in the advisement to residents to stay home and not gather in groups of more than 5, I recommended to the core group, we increase our walks to 3x a week. I know that much of my good mental health depends on being outdoors, and I hoped the 3 others would agree. We would walk only in local parks; no car pooling and we had to maintain the 2-metre physical distancing. There are many people in our parks. Small  family groups, couples, singles, joggers and cyclists. But because we are not a family group, the social distancing is very evident amongst us and it is noticed by others. The spacing slows us down;  we need to step into the woods or an open field to allow for the passage of oncoming walkers, while maintaining the distance and conversation is awkward while moving so sometimes we just stop and share stories. Most walks are 2 hours in length but the distance covered is short.

But my what a time we have had. We celebrated a member’s 80th birthday in a park picnic shelter before they were closed for use. Last Saturday we participated in the Global Big Day, counting birds in Col. Sam Smith Park, while using my newly-installed ebird app. We enthusiastically examined and identified early spring flowers. Witnessed the arrival of goslings, ducklings and cygnets. Participated in a tree hugging exercise, as recommended by the Iceland Forest Service, when you can’t hug others. And sometimes, on an unusually sunny day, we just sat and enjoyed the vista, and the exquisite pleasure of having time.

Ellen Michelson: It's Possible
My husband and I went for a walk at the beginning of the last week in March, which now seems eons ago. On the sidewalks, some adults we passed or who passed us had grasped the six-foot advisory, some not. Down in Toronto's St. Clair ravine were lots of folks with, we speculated, the same idea we had, the hope of finding a hint of spring before the pandemic got worse. As we proceeded, we found ourselves alone. After a while, we spotted a family far ahead. They'd somehow gotten their littlest down there in a substantial stroller. The other kids were having a superterrific time running in all directions - that's what they were down there for. Mom or Dad noticed us, gave a signal we didn't see or hear. All the kids gathered quietly around the stroller, off the path, till we had gone by. We called out our thanks. We passed them again on the way back and the same thing happened. These kids will surely grow into superterrific adults. We wish the whole family well.
photo (by Louisa Michelson): From October, 2012, it's not the end of an end-to-end hike; it's from a few days of hiking on the peninsula. I'm still proud, says Ellen.
Keep an eye on the Schedule!

With our phased reopening of the hiking program it is more important than ever that you check out the online calendar on a regular basis. It provides you with an overview through a month at a glance format. Just click on the event that interests you and get the full details. 

Events will be added to the schedule as we move forward and you will be informed by E-Notes of any significant changes that are planned. 
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Toronto Bruce Trail Club E-Notes Editors, Publishers: Magdalena Vanderkooy and Wayne Crockett

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Toronto Bruce Trail Conservancy · PO Box 597 · Toronto, On M6P4E7 · Canada