Caledon June 25, 2009 - Former Premier William G. Davis is still making news 50 years after his Maiden Speech in the Ontario Legislature. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is honouring Mr. Davis today for his vision of Southern Ontario, balancing built-up urban areas alongside protected natural areas for farming, important environmental features and rural life.
“I said in my first speech in the Legislature, when I moved the Throne Speech, that I wanted to see a park at the Forks of the Credit and it obviously has happened,” said Mr. Davis. “It is a pleasure to return to the Forks of the Credit for the unveiling of this plaque. It is gratifying to know that the Niagara Escarpment is now part of the much larger Greenbelt which I hope continues to grow and protect precious natural features and farmland,” Davis added.
The Plaques will be on signposts and placed at the entrances to five hiking trails along the length and breadth of the Greenbelt – Forks of the Credit, Hamilton, Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula, Niagara Falls and Owen Sound.
“Mr. Davis knew that the Niagara Escarpment was the defining natural feature as the spine of Southern Ontario and needed special protection. His bold and visionary action has inspired half a century of environmentalists, provided outdoor enjoyment for millions of families and reassured farmers and rural dwellers that prime farmland and rural life was a top priority in Ontario,” said Sandy Houston, Chair, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.
Caledon Councillor Richard Paterak spoke on behalf of his fellow Councillors: “We are pleased that Mr. Davis is being recognized for his work in preserving the Niagara Escarpment and know that this plaque will be appreciated by the thousands of people who love to hike here every year.”
Friend of the Greenbelt
The Honourable William Grenville Davis
Premier of Ontario 1971-1985
The Niagara Escarpment is an important part of Ontario’s natural heritage system. It hosts a myriad of flora and fauna, some of which are endangered or rare.
In 1973, Premier Davis and the Government of Ontario took the remarkable step of enacting the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act. This led to the establishment of the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the creation of the Niagara Escarpment Plan. As Canada's first environmental land-use plan, it protects this unique 725 kilometre landform stretching from Niagara Falls to the tip of the Bruce Peninsula.
In recognition of its ecological significance, the Niagara Escarpment was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1990 by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The Niagara Escarpment became a permanent part of Ontario's Greenbelt in 2005.
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 7,000 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 dedicated to promoting and sustaining the Greenbelt as a beneficial, valuable, and permanent feature, enhancing the quality of life for Ontario residents.
To date, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation has awarded $12.5 million in grants to organizations working in support of farming, the environment and rural communities in the Greenbelt.
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For more information visit www.greenbelt.ca
For a PDF of the press release click here.
Jennifer Asselin, Communications Manager, Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, (416) 960-0001, jasselin - at - greenbelt.ca
Diana Crosbie, Crosbie Communications, diana - at - crosbie.on.ca 416-360-6625