Copy
View this email in your browser
E-Notes - February 2021
Considering the fact that our hiking program is in hiatus, there sure is a lot going on in our Club.

The big highlight is our brand-new website. Our Communications Director, David Rowney, deserves a great deal of credit for his role as project manager for this huge achievement, in his first year on our Board. He will be quick to tell you he didn't do it alone. Below you'll find a long list of volunteers who assisted him. Thank you to every one of you.

The other big story this month is badges. We've begun awarding our newest ones, the Youth Badge and the Winter E2E. Turns out our other badges also had a banner year during the pandemic. 

Finally, we tell you about a new leadership opportunity in our club, for Trail Director. And we couldn't resist telling you about an article in the Toronto Star about snow-shoeing, an article that mirrors the experience of many of our members.

Happy February, everyone.
New Website features modern look and feel
If you haven't logged into our website in the last week, you are in for a treat. The new updated website has gone live! You can have a look here.  What you’ll find is a very modern looking, mobile-friendly site with tons of fabulous photos. It includes lots of information about Toronto Section trails, and covers area highlights such as Pear Tree Park, Limehouse Kilns and Black Creek Sidetrail, Scottsdale Farm and Terra Cotta Conservation Area.

Below you can see screenshots of the home page on a laptop, along with the view on a mobile phone:

 


















New hikers interested in becoming members will find it easier to learn about our club and our hiking programs. There’s a new photo gallery of group hike events, and invitations to participate in volunteer opportunities such as our trail maintenance program. Many sections from the old website have been updated, including our work in biodiversity and our trail maintenance program.
 
Naturally, in this social media era, the Club made sure to integrate the site with our weekly Instagram and Facebook posts. It even includes a link to our newly created YouTube channel
 
Because the new site operates on a Wordpress software platform, it can be viewed easily on your phone or tablet, something that many of our members will be happy to see. The platform also allows designated Club members to update the site with news and feature stories, which reduces administration costs. Initially some users may find the change takes some getting used to, but with the internal search feature, you should be able to find what you are looking for. Security protocols and search engine tags were also updated. 

The next task for the club's web team is to update and modernize the member-only section. This section can be accessed through the login button at the top left of the new homepage. This next phase will include creation of the much-needed on-line payment system for bus hikes and a user-friendly registration system for members. The Covid-19-related hiatus of our hiking program has actually created a good opportunity to work on this without directly impacting members.
Behind the scenes – the website team 
It takes a village to raise something like a new Club website, and that was certainly true for the new TBTC site.
 
We owe our Communication Director, David Rowney (pictured on the left), a huge round of applause for his role as project manager. He and three other directors, Alina Lin, Juliet Williams, and Orest Nahacziwec, formed the main work team. They were assisted by executive board members Graham Allen, Margaret Corner, and David Royle in reviewing costs, content and policy. Section pages were reviewed by section leads including Peter Leeney, David Royle, and Marlis Butcher. Stephen Kamnitzer helped connect the old website to the new one.
 
The team hired Andrea Dubravsky at Adwebcom, based in Georgetown, as its professional web developer, after a competitive bid that attracted seven firms. Andrea gets the credit for the beautifully designed pages and navigation.  Her partner and Adwebcom team member Mik Herman took many of the photos of the Scotsdale Farm, Hilton Falls and Limehouse landmarks (for free). Adwebcom was recently named Business of the Year by the Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce. 
 
Additional photos were provided by Man Khun Chan, Frank Lee, Janet Lelievre, Alina Lin, Vanessa Miranda, Rosemary Mitter, Iskra Pencheva, and David Rowney. Many thanks and congratulations to everyone who pitched in. 
 
New Badges are off to a great start
Jude Keast reports that the new badge initiatives are taking off in a big way! As of January 22 a total of 21 Winter E2E Badges and 23 Young Hiker Badges have been awarded. 

Jude says 2020 was a great year for TBTC badges. He awarded 258 E2E badges, up from 186 the previous year, and 36 Side Trail badges, exceeding even the first year the badge was established. To see all the badges offered by our club, click here.

The first people to earn the Winter E2E were Matt and Stephanie Beach and their dog, Toby, of St. Catharines. You can read their story below. 

A special shout out to the youngest (so far) recipient of the Young Hiker Badge, 3 year old Lyla! Lyla is pictured here with her dad and her dog. Congratulations Lyla.

 
TBTC awards its first Winter Badges
Matt and Stephanie Beach, who, along with their adorable dog, Toby, became the first hikers to earn the new TBTC Winter Badge, had no idea how historic their achievement was when they sent in their logs. It was a fluke, they told me when I contacted them.
 
Stephanie says she’d made a January 2020 resolution to do more hiking. But then the pandemic hit, and things got delayed. In November she turned to Matt and said, “Let’s just do it.” Which is exactly what they did. They laced on their hiking boots and headed for the trail at Queenston Heights. They earned their Niagara badges on December 11.
 
They decided to tackle the Toronto section next. They’d done enough research to know the club offered a beautiful winter badge (I love the colour blue, says Stephanie) so they started our section on December 21. They finished it on December 24, and applied for their badges. And that’s the story of how they entered our Club’s history book, so to speak.
 
The couple’s enthusiasm about hiking the trail shone through in the conversation I had with them on Zoom. Stephanie has already created books about their hikes in each of the sections they completed, with stories and photos and maps. They told me they were surprised to see how well the trail is marked, and are grateful for all the bridges and boardwalks, especially in the Toronto Section (thank you, Trail Maintenance volunteers!). Their favourite spot in our section? The Hole in the Wall at Limehouse.

What advice do they have for others who are considering an End-to-End? Some of it is practical – use poles, wear layers, use cleats (icers) in winter. Also, knee braces help a lot with all those downhills, and Uber is great for dealing with logistics near urban areas. But their main advice? Anybody can hike. Don't procrastinate, just do it!
Magdalena Vanderkooy
Share your badges story
If you have completed your Winter E2E or participated in the Young Hiker Badge program please let us know in a short paragraph with one or two photographs and we'll share with or readers.

Send your story to Wayne Crockett (waynehikes@gmail.com) or Magdalena Vanderkooy (mvkooy@gmail.com).

We look forward to hearing from you!
TBTC Leadership Opportunity: Trail Director 
Do you know a thing or two about building and maintaining trails, boardwalks and bridges? Are you organized and can you manage volunteers and distribute tasks effectively?  Do you want to help "preserve a ribbon of wilderness, for everyone, forever"?

If you answered yes to these questions, we invite you to apply for the position of Trail Director with the TBTC. 

To apply, submit a statement of interest to David Royle, Chair of the Nominating Committee by February 9 at dhjroyle@gmail.com
 
Trek Along the Paths Less Travelled
The  Toronto Star recently published an interesting article by Wing Sze-Tang on the growth of snowshoeing as an alternative to skiing in recent years. This certainly corresponds to the experience of the Toronto Bruce Trail Club. Fifteen or more years ago our winter trips might have included 6 to 10 snowshoers while today (well, back in the winter of 2020) the trips are evenly split between cross country skiers and snowshoers.

The article quotes Sasha Gollish, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and an Ambassador for Snowshoe Canada, on the joys of snowshoeing:

Indeed, the slower pace of snowshoeing allows for some delightful surprises, even when you’re trekking through urban green spaces. During a recent excursion, Gollish went exploring in Sunnybrook Park and encountered a wild trail mate: “I saw the biggest white-tailed doe I’ve ever seen in my life,” she recalls. “It must have been a 500-pound animal, just ten feet away from me.” So bundle up warm and get outside—you never know what you might find.

 
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
Website
Questions or comments for the Toronto Bruce Trail Club?
E-mail us at information@torontobrucetrailclub.org 

E-Notes Subscribers are most welcome to forward E-Notes to a friend.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can subscribe or unsubscribe here.

Toronto Bruce Trail Club E-Notes Editors, Publishers: Magdalena Vanderkooy mvkooy@gmail.com and Wayne Crockett waynehikes@gmail.com






This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Toronto Bruce Trail Conservancy · PO Box 597 · Toronto, On M6P4E7 · Canada