When I talk about the Greenbelt, or my job at the Foundation, with people who are not “in the business,” they often say “Oh, the Greenbelt. I’ve seen the signs on the highway…”
As we approach the installation of our 400th sign, people are impressed, not just with the total number of signs, but also with the variety and types of signs. We have the Entering the Greenbelt signs, which include highlighting special areas such as the Niagara Escarpment, Holland Marsh, and Oak Ridges Moraine. These particular ones have been up for more than seven years now.
More recently, the Greenbelt Walks signs allow you to find a trailhead where you can begin a walk or hike along well-maintained trails. We focused on particularly stunning and iconic areas such as Mount Nemo, the Bruce Peninsula, and the Ganaraska Forest.
A few years back, we worked with the group AgCare to install signs along hiking trails to increase awareness about agriculture and its importance. With some of these 56 signs, the farm community was happy to be able to tell their stories.
In recognition of the Honourable Bill Davis’ leadership in protecting the Niagara Escarpment in the 1970s, we put up five historical legacy plaques to commemorate the work of the “grandfather” of the Greenbelt. The former Premier has been a good friend of our Foundation and our work.
Lamp banners with Greenbelt messaging along main streets in rural towns and villages are an important mechanism for making the link between the rural countryside and the downtown. They are received well by local residents as they help beautify the streetscape.
An exciting new initiative we launched recently is a series of interpretative signs in key ecological areas. These signs are an attractive and helpful way to inform folks about what makes these areas so important.
Getting signage properly located, designed, manufactured, and installed is a huge job. Even more, success includes a multitude of negotiations with municipal and provincial officials, landowners, and project partners before we can even consider designing them. We are lucky to have our Program Coordinator Karen May on our team to make all this possible: she meets with our partners, designs the signs, finds manufacturers, gets them installed, and even drives around to make sure they are properly sited.
So next time you see a Greenbelt sign, you’ll know it’s because of Karen’s hard work and our determination to spread the message of all the good things happening in Ontario’s Greenbelt.
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation