April 19th was a special day for me - I visited Ontario’s Greenbelt for the first time since I moved to Canada. Even though I had a picture of what the Greenbelt looked like, I was excited to in physically experience nature and its different habitats. Grants Officer Bronwyn Whyte, wonderful colleague of mine, and Shelley Petrie, my dear boss, and I drove from Toronto into the Greenbelt. Our target destination was visiting the Lake Simcoe Conservation’s Beaver River Wetland Trail.
It only took an hour to get into the Greenbelt; it’s basically in my backyard. Along the way, Shelley described the importance of the hydrological features of the Oak Ridges Moraine, including its wetlands, kettle lakes, ponds and aquifers. I also learned how to identify if a farm has horses by its fence, or that mail isn’t delivered to door but to a mailbox. These experiences were all new to me.
Around 10:30am, we reached our destination. The surrounding area was quiet and peaceful, houses had a touch of antiquity and the Beaver River wetland looked like another world.
The defining features of the Beaver River Trail are an abandoned rail line that has been converted to a trail for recreational use, and an extensive portion of the Beaver River Wetland complex. Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRA) purchased the abandoned railway line in 1993, and has been working with partners to develop and extend the trail so that everyone can enjoy hiking, cross-country skiing or cycling through this unique landscape.
Brian Kemp and Cheryl Taylor from the LSRA led us on a walk along the trail that ran along a portion of the wetland complex. During the walk, we stopped to look over the vast wetlands, and learned a bit more about the biodiversity of the trail from our hosts.
It was a very pleasant experience observing the activities of the animals in the wetland. Swimming beavers, flying geese, and the cattails added charm to the beauty of the wetland trail.
To summarize, visiting the Ontario’s Greenbelt, and the Beaver River Trail was one of the most pleasant experiences I have ever had coming to Canada. I loved the fact that we have this vast landscape of land is protected for us to enjoy and that it is so accessible, economical and just an hour away.
Thank you Bronwyn, Shelley, Brian and Cheryl. My next weekend trip will be definitely be into the Greenbelt, for a hike with a picnic basket, a camera and of course with great companions like I just did.
The Greenbelt is just that close: all you have to do is experience it once to fall in love with it…
- Namgyal Dolker, Executive Assistant, Grants