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E-Notes - October 2020
October - the best month of all, I think. The brilliant colours, the dramatic skies, the cooler nights - plus, best of all, no bugs.

This month's E-Notes an update about our website redesign, plus two reports by Marlis Butcher, both of which highlight the work of our exceptional volunteers. The first shows how 700 meters (!) of trail was moved off busy Highway 7. If you've ever wondered how new trail is constructed you'll be interested in this story. And the second tells about 3 new donor plaques that were erected in our section. Also, as there is a hiatus on bus hikes, Wayne provides a description of the hikes he normally would have offered in the fall.

The TBTC hiking program remains open to members, though modified for Covid-19. Check the calendar for the latest updates. (BTW - we've all seen the spiking virus case numbers in the GTA. It's more critical than ever for all participants to follow the public health guidelines on our hikes - masks, distancing, hand washing.)

Happy October, everyone!
 
Share your Photos

Did you know there's a Toronto Bruce Trail Club Facebook Group where hikers can post and share their hike photos and videos with fellow TBTC members and friends? The group is called Toronto Bruce Trail Club - Share your Hike.

While you're at it, take a moment to friend our Toronto Bruce Trail Club page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram. Our club has a new social media team, who are creating lots of inspiring content. By engaging with our social media platforms and sharing posts with your own contacts as appropriate, you help build awareness of the Bruce Trail.

 
Toronto Club’s Website To Be Re-Designed and Updated
 by David Rowney

Over the fall months our TBTC website is going to be updated and modernized.  Included in these changes will be new features and easier navigation for users.

After a comprehensive search process, www.Adwebcom.com was chosen to be the new web designer. Some of the priorities for the new design and functionality will be:

- ability to upload news faster
- more intuitive navigation to find information
- mobile-friendly when viewing pages
- updated hiking schedule with payment system for bus hikes
- integration with social media, videos and photo galleries
- reduced costs to update content

“The advantages of modernizing our website on a Wordpress platform will allow the Club to more easily add news items and new features.  Hikers will see a more pleasing design and we are committed to improving our content and look of the new website that will inform, inspire and engage site visitors,” says Club President Graham Allen.

A team of four board members will be working with Adwebcom to complete the project, which is expected to be finished by December. 
700 Meters of Trail Moved off of Hwy 7
by Marlis Butcher

In the late summer of 2020, TBTC Trail Maintenance volunteers moved 700 meters of the Bruce Trail, from km 27.7 to km 28.4 (30th ed. Guide Book), off of the shoulder of Highway 7 to underneath the power lines along the north side of the highway.  The reroute is not only a safer place to walk, but quite pretty as it winds its way through thickets of Sumac, cedar trees, golden rod, and young trees.

In 2019, volunteer Dave Paape noticed that the impenetrable thick, tall brush had been cleared from beneath the hydro-electric corridor.  He wondered if the trail could be moved there.  A few weeks later Rose Mary Mitter and I bushwhacked through the remaining brush and determined that, yes, a trail could run through.  But first the land owners and neighbouring property owners would have to be consulted, approvals had to be obtained, and long term BTC goals had to be considered.  By mid-2020, there was general agreement:  we’d reroute the trail.

The proposed route was marked with orange flagging tape.  Then the first volunteer work parties cut out the branches, roots, and dead trees that protruded onto the new trail.  Industrial weed whackers were brought in to mow through the dense golden rod.  The new route was tracked by GPS so that the co-ordinates to be documented on the trail maps.  More discussions were had with the neighbours to ensure them that we weren’t encroaching on their properties. 

Then COVID-19 imposed another challenge:  a shortage of pressure-treated lumber because it isn’t considered an essential product.  So volunteers started purchasing the specialized lumber whenever it was available – enough to build a short bridge over a ditch that runs through the proposed reroute.  Then, one morning Pete Pritchard and Paul Vanhanen built that bridge.  Later the same day another team of Trail Maintenance volunteers installed blaze-boards and sign-posts, painted the blazes, and removed the blazes from the old route on the shoulder of Highway 7. 

After 7 work parties (a total of 84 person-hours) and lots of paperwork, Dave’s vision became a reality.  The new trail was officially open September 23, 2020.

The last task, almost an anticlimax, was to write up and publish a formal description of the reroute, and announce its opening.  Specifics of the reroute are now available on the BTC website:  https://brucetrail.org/trail_changes.  We hope hikers enjoy the new route. 

The Trail Maintenance volunteers who built the reroute were:
Rose Mary Mitter, Dave Paape, Pete Pritchard, Neal Stein, John Borley, Paul Vanhanen, Dave Martin, John Cunningham, Laurent Thibault, Peter Leeney, Andre Rudnicky, Riley Bastell, and me, Marlis Butcher.
 
Trail Maintenance Volunteers Recognize BTC Donors
By Marlis Butcher
Our Trail Maintenance volunteers are multi-talented. They repair bridges, stiles, and boardwalks; paint blazes; cut weeds and branches along the trails; wield chainsaws on trees that fall across the trails.  They do all of that, plus this: they help the BTC by installing donor appreciation plaques.  These plaques are installed to commemorate donors, if so desired, at centralized areas in each Club section.  The Toronto Bruce Trail Club’s “plaque garden” is in Pear Tree Park on 15th Side Road, just west of Regional Road 25 (km 11.4, 30th ed. Guide Book).

On September 15th, 6 Trail Maintenance volunteers put in 3 new donor appreciation plaques, one each for Peter and Judy Leeney, Mark Paul and Rhoda Riemer, and Marlis Butcher. 

The volunteers hauled the first plaque and pole, hole-digging bars and shovels, 100 lbs of quick-setting cement, and water about 0.5 kilometer down the Speyside South Side Trail.  As the soil is very rocky (it is, after all, the Niagara Escarpment), the volunteers spent over an hour digging a hole that was deep enough to support the first plaque.  Then the 2 other plaques were installed within Pear Tree Park.  Finally, their work done, the weary volunteers enjoyed their picnic lunches and some windfallen pears, under the tree in the park.   

Pictured below are two of our donors, Marlis Butcher and Peter Leeney, posing with their plaques.

Early Fall Rambles
By Wayne Crockett

Many of the Club’s members are feeling nostalgic for the good old days (last year) when we could all get together on the trails that we all love. I thought I’d write about a couple of the trips I’ve traditionally done in the Fall that have an historical and cultural theme.

The trails that cross Petroglyphs Provincial Park are a favourite for this time of year. They provide a nice combination of woodland, meadow and marshlands in the Canadian Shield about 2.5 hours from Toronto. All the trails are worth exploring but check out the Nanabush Trail for a scenic lunch spot high above the Minnow Lake. (Photo: Minnow Lake, October 1, 2011)

What brings us back to this location are the rock carvings of the Nishnaabe (Ojibway) First Nations. This is regarded as a sacred site for indigenous peoples and no photography or video is allowed in or around the pavilion that has been erected to protect them. Please take the time to visit the Learning Centre where there are displays on the traditional economy and social life of the First Nations and an excellent video explaining the cultural significance of the carvings. (Photo: Ontario Parks Photo)

Our second destination is the historic trail from Queenston Heights to Niagara-on-the-Lake to commemorate the Battle of Queenston Heights on October 13, 1812. I provide a little historical background on the war and the battle itself, with some information on pioneer life in the region. We do a circular walk of the battlefield, taking in part of the first road in Upper Canada, Portage Road, which ran from Queenston Landing to Chippawa. Most of the day is spent walking along the General Brock Side Trail that runs from Queenston to Niagara-on-the-Lake along the Niagara River with great views and Fall colours. We end at Fort George where participants can spend 90 minutes visiting historic sites or sampling the many refreshment or shopping opportunities in the downtown.  
(Photo: The Niagara River from the top of Brock's Monument, October 2010)
 
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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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