About

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More than 475 kilometres of cycling adventures await you in the beautiful, protected countryside of Ontario’s Greenbelt. Enjoy lush forests, winding rivers, welcoming communities, and family farms, as you ride across this stunning landscape.

The one-of-a-kind Greenbelt Route was developed by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, building on their leadership creating the Waterfront Trail, and adding to a growing network of long distance cycling routes across Ontario. With several connecting routes mapped and signed to and from the Waterfront Trail, you can now make use of existing non-motorized trails and ravine pathways to create your own custom Greenbelt cycling holiday.

The Greenbelt Route is also part of 27 municipal active transportation plans, and owned and maintained by those municipalities. As the latest addition to an impressive and growing provincial bike route network across Ontario, the Greenbelt Route is enhancing the richness of life in and around the protected green space and fertile farmland that surrounds the Greater Toronto Area.  Catering to the growing cycle tourism industry in Ontario by connecting cyclists to natural features, cultural attractions, and local amenities, the Greenbelt Route makes it easy to explore everything the Greenbelt has to offer.

The launch of the Greenbelt Route in summer 2015, celebrates a decade of the Greenbelt—the solution for fresh air, clean water, delicious local food, a thriving economy, and a place for all Ontarians to recharge and connect with nature. Permanent protection of Ontario’s Greenbelt means this experience is something that will be here for generations, a place for your children’s children to cycle and explore.

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Road Safety

The Greenbelt Route is mostly on-road, so ride carefully, be courteous of other users, and follow the rules of the road. Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act (HTA), bicycles are considered vehicles. Cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and should behave like vehicle traffic when using all roads.

Where you can ride

Certain parts of the Greenbelt Route that have been found to require particular caution are marked in yellow on the maps.

Always allow faster traffic to pass you on the left. Cyclists travelling at a lower speed than other traffic are expected to ride about one metre from the curb or parked cars, or as close as practical to the right-hand edge of the road when there is no curb. However, they can use any part of the lane if necessary for safety to:

  • Avoid obstacles (e.g. puddles, sand, debris, grooved pavement, potholes, and sewer grates).
  • Cross railway or streetcar tracks at a 90° angle.
  • Discourage passing where the lane is too narrow to be shared safely.

Cyclists are not required to ride close to the right edge of the road when they are travelling at or faster than the normal speed of traffic at that time and place, or when they are turning left, or getting in position to turn left. (Cyclists are permitted to make a left turn from a left-turn lane, where one is available.)

Remember that cycling is not permitted on controlled access highways, such as Ontario’s 400-series highways.

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Remember that the Greenbelt is a working landscape, and is largely private land. You’ll need to be aware of large vehicles and farm equipment like tractors and trailers who will be sharing the road with you. Be respectful and safe, and give these road users extra time and space.

Helmets
By law in Ontario, every cyclist under 18 years old must wear an approved helmet. For riders under 16 years old, a parent or guardian must make sure their children wear helmets. Helmets are not compulsory for adults over 18, but a helmet can greatly reduce the risk of permanent injury or death in a collision. It is strongly recommended that all riders wear helmets.

Bike Lights
The Greenbelt Route follows some of the safest roads in the Greenbelt, but as usual it’s best to take precautions to help keep yourself as visible as possible, especially at night. Legally, your bike must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector if you ride between 1/2 hour before sunset and 1/2 hour after sunrise. Nights gets very dark in the Greenbelt, so make sure batteries are charged before heading out on your adventure.

Bicycles must have a bell (or horn) in good working order.

To be sure you're up today about Bicycle Safety in Ontario, see this guide set out by the Ministry of Transportation.

Collisions
If you or someone else is involved in a collision, follow these three steps:

1. Phone 911 from the scene, then wait for first responders to arrive.
2. Ask witnesses to identify themselves.
3. If a motor vehicle is involved, record the driver’s name, phone number, insurance details, vehicle description, and plate number.

CAA Bike Assist - www.caasco.com | 1-800-CAA-HELP

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CAA Members can take advantage of CAA Bike Assist, roadside assistance for your bicycle. If you run into a problem that cannot be fixed on the spot, CAA will transport you and your bicycle to wherever you need to go, up to 320 kilometres away!

If you do not have access to insurance, contact the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund at 1-800-268-7188.

Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists may also be able to refer you to a lawyer for advice on making an insurance claim.

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Getting There

No car? No problem! There are a number of transportation options for those looking to access the Greenbelt Route from nearby communities. With a short train, or bus ride you can be pedalling through the Greenbelt in under an hour, enabling convenient car-free day trips into the scenic countryside. Consider starting or ending your ride at one of our trailhead signs, located at each end of the Greenbelt Route as well as a few other convenient places along the way. You can also locate transit stations on both the web map and paper maps.

By Bike
If you're looking to spend at least a couple of days exploring, you may want to consider biking to the Greenbelt Route. That's right! From downtown Toronto this can add about a day to your adventure, but with several connecting routes mapped and signed to and from the Waterfront Trail there are many ways to safely and conveniently access the the protected countryside. You might be pleasantly surprised by the journey too—many of the connections follow car-free ravine paths and rail-trails all the way up!

By Rail
All aboard! Take advantage of the Bike Train initiative, a roll-on bicycle travel for up to 46 bikes on GO Transit services between Toronto and Niagara. Bike Train service is now also available during summer months on select VIA Rail departures equipped with a baggage car and 12 bike racks.

Bicycles on GO Transit
You may take your bicycle on any GO Train on a Saturday, Sunday, or statutory holiday. On weekdays, due to rush-hour crowding, bicycles are not permitted on trains scheduled to arrive at Toronto’s Union Station between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. or scheduled to leave Union Station between 3:30 and 6:30 p.m. Bicycles are also prohibited inside Toronto's Union Station during those times. Bicycles are permitted on all other trains, including weekday off-peak periods, and on trains travelling opposite to peak direction. Four adult bicycles fit on each regular GO rail-car, two just inside each set of doors. In summer, look for the dedicated GO bicycle coaches used on the Toronto—Niagara Seasonal Service. There is no additional charge to transport bicycles on GO. For more information call 416-869-3200 or visit www.gotransit.com.

Bicycles on VIA Rail
VIA Rail provides different options for bicycle tourists on different trains. Some trains are equipped with bike racks and can offer roll-on service, however in most cases, bikes must be boxed or bagged for transport. On all VIA trains there is a $25 fee per direction (before taxes) for transporting your bike on a VIA Rail train. Be sure to check service and schedules at viarail.ca/bike.

By Bus
Bicycles on GO Transit
The Greenbelt Route is accessible by the regional GO bus network from end to end. All GO buses are equipped with a bicycle rack for two bicycles, which can be used at any time of day. Folding bicycles in proper carrying cases may be stored in the under-floor luggage compartment. Just pay your regular fare and your bicycle rides for free. For more information call 416-869-3200 or visit www.gotransit.com.

By Air
Toronto Pearson Airport
If you’re flying into Pearson with your bicycle, the Etobicoke Creek Trail is a great option for cycling to the Greenbelt Route. Step out of the terminal and hop on your bike. The distance is about 45 kilometres.

There is also regular bus service departing from Pearson Airport for Toronto’s Union Station and the Bramalea GO Station. From the Bramalea GO Station, you can transfer to the Kitchener bound GO Train, and get off at Georgetown, just one kilometre from the Greenbelt Route. Alternatively, hop on the UP Express bound for Union Station where you will have direct connections to the Greenbelt Route in Northumberland and Niagara via the Lakeshore East and West lines respectively. Take your pick!

Hamilton International Airport
If you’re flying into Hamilton with your bicycle, the Greenbelt Route is an easy three kilometre ride away. Exit the terminal and head east on Airport Road. Hang your first left onto Glancaster Road and watch for signs for the Greenbelt Route. Northumberland to the right, Niagara to the left.

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What to Bring

We’ve put together a rough guide that includes some items you probably want to bring for an overnight ride in average Ontario conditions, from April through October. We recommend staying away from cotton as a rule, and choosing wool, fleece, or silk for your warm and technical clothing.

Essentials
Helmet
Bike Lights
Lock
Shoes
Water Bottles
Sunscreen
First-Aid Kit
Snacks!
Tools
Tire Levers
Patch Kit
Spare Tube (Check Size)
Mini-Pump
Allen Keys (Metric)
Screwdrivers (Phillips #2, Flathead #2)
Chain Lube
Rag
Bungee Cord
Clothing
Short-Sleeved Shirt
Light, Long-Sleeved Shirt
Sweater
Rain Jacket & Pants
Shorts & Pants
Long Johns or Tights
Socks (Wool or Synthetic)
Toque
Gloves
Sunglasses
Camping
Small Tent
Sleeping Bag & Sleeping Pad
Utensils (Fork, Spoon, Cup, Bowl)
Small Backpacking Stove & Fuel
Lightweight Pots & Pans
Toiletries
Flashlight or Headlamp

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Where to Stay

Ontario By Bike maintains an online cycling trip planning resource which includes a listing of bicycle friendly accommodations.

All Ontario By Bike listings meet a series of qualifications:

  • Covered and secure bike storage area
  • Cycling information, including any published cycling route maps (if there are no cycling maps for the area, access to Internet-connected computer)
  • Staff able to direct cyclists to information on cycling routes in immediate area, local bike shops and hours, bicycle rental and tour operators, weather reports
  • Basic bicycle repair toolset
  • Healthy, local food and beverage options, if food is served on site

www.ontariobybike.ca/ontario-cycling-map/accommodations

You can also visit B&B Canada for a comprehensive listing of Bed & Breakfasts at www.bbcanada.com/ontario

Camping in the Greenbelt
There are a number of campgrounds located along the Greenbelt Route, and many more just a few kilometres in either direction off the route. Explore the interactive Greenbelt Route web map to find location and contact information for campgrounds in the Greenbelt.

Campgrounds certified Bicycle Friendly by Ontario By Bike will have:

  • Separate zone for guests with tents, preferably a grassed area that is flat and smooth
  • Covered and secure bike storage area
  • Cycling information, including any published cycling route maps (if there are no cycling maps for the area, access to Internet-connected computer)
  • Staff able to direct cyclists to information on cycling routes in immediate area, local bike shops and hours, bicycle rental and tour operators, weather reports
  • Basic bicycle repair toolset (see in Participants Tool Kit, Appendix A; or online)
  • Healthy, local food and beverage options, if food is served on-site

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Our Partners

Waterfront Regeneration Trust - www.waterfronttrail.org

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The Waterfront Regeneration Trust is a registered charity with 20 years experience working with community partners to regenerate the Lake Ontario waterfront through the completion, enhancement and promotion of the Waterfront Trail. Today they are a registered charity that continues the work begun as the Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront and then the provincial agency by the same name.

As a charity, the Waterfront Regeneration Trust has created over 2,000 kilometres of signed cycling routes, secured funding from senior government to make improvements to and expand the Waterfront Trail, launched the annual Great Waterfront Trail Adventure (a fully supported recreational bike tour to showcase local communities and to celebrate and encourage cycling), and convened regional and trail-wide partners’ meetings to develop consensus on action plans to respond to trail priorities.

Transportation Optionswww.transportationoptions.org

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Ontario By Bike is a project of Transportation Options, an organization with a proven track record of successful projects and collaborative partnerships including the award-winning Bike Train Initiative, which introduced roll-on-roll-off bike service to select routes on the VIA Rail, GO Transit and Ontario Northland network.

The expanding Ontario By Bike Network hosts a cycling trip planning resource with links to cycling maps, routes, and experiences, and has certified over 780 Ontario accommodations, restaurants and attractions as “bicycle friendly”.

Ontario By Bike is taking advantage of the rapidly growing interest in cycling tourism and building on this trend, helping to inspire Ontarians to connect to the communities in the Greenbelt in a new and exciting way - by touring and exploring by bike.

Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance - www.ontarioculinary.com

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By bridging the gap between the food and travel industries, the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance (OCTA) is strengthening the links between the viticulture, agriculture, aquaculture sectors to the hospitality sector to promote the growth of food tourism. Their work lies in developing strong relationships between growers, chefs, processors, restaurateurs, accommodation providers, distributors, government and industry organizations. They act as the leading voice to share Ontario’s culinary stories with passion and pride, and are leading efforts in research, education and product development to promote the growth of the industry.

FeastON is a criteria-based program of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance that recognizes businesses committed to showcasing Ontario's unique tastes of place.

Greenbelt Municipalities

Twenty three local area municipalities and seven regions own the Greenbelt Route, and will manage it going forward. These municipalities made significant contributions to the creation and implementation of the route.

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