Durham Residents Encouraged to Explore Ontario's Greenbelt on a Bike - Join the 2009 Tour de Greenbelt This September

Durham Region September 9, 2009 – Pair cycling with exploring Durham Region and you have a perfect day for Ajax Mayor Steve Parish. Mayor Parish, an avid cyclist and environmental advocate encourages residents to follow suit by taking part in the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation’s 2009 Tour de Greenbelt cycling extravaganza this September! An innovative and exciting opportunity for Ontarians and visitors to bicycle their way through Ontario’s Greenbelt, the Tour de Greenbelt is open for registration at www.tourdegreenbelt.ca and spots are filling up fast. 

The Tour expands its ‘fresh air festival on wheels’ to include Durham on Sunday, September 27. Exploring Durham gives riders the opportunity to experience the Greenbelt -- riding by rivers, ponds and lakes, through big towns and small hamlets, and experiencing wide-open farmlands and forested conservation areas.

“The town of Ajax is thrilled to be the starting point for the first Durham Tour de Greenbelt,” said Mayor Steve Parish. “I take great pride in Ajax’s picturesque waterfront, trails, open spaces and unique landscapes. Without the protection of the Greenbelt, this would not be possible.”

“We’re excited to be going into our second year of the Tour,” said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “Ontario’s Greenbelt is the largest Greenbelt in the world. What better way to experience the diverse landscape, bountiful selection of local food and vibrant culture within the region, than by riding through it?”

This year’s Tour accommodates all levels of riders, with each route showcasing the beauty of the Greenbelt. Featuring both the longest and shortest routes within the Tour, the Durham Region ride includes many scenic spots. The 20km route includes a turnaround point in the historic hamlet of Whitevale while bordering on the Greenwood Conservation Area and golf courses. Points of interest along the 43 and 117 km routes include several elements of the Greenbelt such as farmland, lakes, ponds, parks and the Rouge River Valley

Designed for fun rather than competition, this family-friendly cycling Tour is marshalled to ensure the safety of all riders. Special transport is available for those who do not wish to complete the full day’s ride and Emergency Medical Services and bicycle repair support are also available.

Starting and finishing at Greenwood Conservation Area, participants will enjoy a chance to mingle at the completion of the ride where there will be a freshly prepared, local Greenbelt BBQ lunch – all included in the price of the ride!

The Tour costs only $40 per person per day to register and is free for children 14 and under who are accompanied by an adult (up to 2 children per adult).  Register online at www.tourdegreenbelt.ca or call 1-888-960-0030. 

The Tour covers four regions of the Greenbelt. Other routes include:
•    Saturday, September 12 – St. Catharines/Niagara Region
•    Sunday, September 13 – Burlington/Halton Region
•    Saturday, September 26 – Newmarket and Lake Simcoe/York Region
•    Sunday, September 27 – Ajax/GTA and Durham Region

The Tour was first held in 2008 as a partnership between the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), Canada’s leading outdoor retailer, and attracted more than 1,000 riders. The event introduces Ontarians to the importance of the Greenbelt to the quality of life in southern Ontario.  MEC has returned as the presenting sponsor of the Tour.

Possibility grows in the Greenbelt. Wrapping around the Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt is 1.8 million acres of potential to make Ontario a better place. Encompassing the Niagara Escarpment, the Oak Ridges Moraine, Rouge Park, hundreds of rural towns and villages and some 7,100 farms, Ontario's Greenbelt is the largest and most diverse in the world.

The Greenbelt Foundation began in June 2005 as an independent, charitable foundation with a mandate to promote and sustain our Greenbelt as a beneficial, valuable, and permanent feature, enhancing the quality of life for Ontario residents.

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For a PDF of this press release click here.

For further information please visit www.tourdegreenbelt.ca and contact:

Peter Hart, Tour de Greenbelt Manager, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, 647-224-0634, peterh@tourdegreenbelt.ca 

Jennifer Asselin, Communications Manager, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, 416-960-0001 ext. 310, jasselin@greenbelt.ca 

Diana Crosbie, President, Crosbie Communications, Office: 416-360-6625 Cell: 416-735-2081, diana@crosbie.on.ca

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