Okay, as well all know the deadline for the video competition is fast approaching and for those of you who are anxiously putting together your videos and plan on submitting soon – GREAT! But for those of you who want to do a video but are lacking a little inspiration, perhaps the seven wonders of the Greenbelt below will get those creativity juices flowing! These are not listed in order of importance, as the multiple functions of the Greenbelt do not exist in silos but instead are interconnected. That said feel free to mix and mingle these ideas or use one of your own.
2. Local Food
The Greenbelt is a great source for local food in Southern Ontario, home to 7, 100 farms. In fact, the Greater Golden Horseshoe has the largest concentration of farmers and residents in Canada, making it a dynamic place to foster a local food network. Need to warm up on a cold November evening? Try some Greenbelt Apple Cider! The Greenbelt’s abundance of products range from fruits and vegetables, to meats, dairy, spices, and wine grapes. The Holland Marsh, covering 18, 200 acres, is one of two Speciality Crop Areas in Ontario. The Marsh generates between $95 million and $69 million in economic activity to the provincial economy!
3. The Oak Ridges Moraine and Wetlands
The Moraine stretches 160 kilometres from the Trent River to the Niagara Escarpment. The Moraine is a truly irreplaceable landscape as a source of water for many river systems and as an enormous groundwater recharge system for central southern Ontario. Wetlands cover 94,014 hectares (12 percent) of the Greenbelt, and play an important role in water filtration, carbon storage, flood control and waste treatment. The total value of the non-market value of the Greenbelt’s wetlands is an estimated $1.3 billion!!
4. VQA Wine
As an Ontario resident (19 or over I hope!!) you’ve probably enjoyed some of the delicious wines we have to offer. Although not the only source of local wine in Ontario, the Niagara Peninsula’s tender fruit and grape area is the second Speciality Crop Area located in the Greenbelt. Some of the wineries in the region include: Henry of Pelham, Lailey Vineyards, and Frogpond Farm and Winery just to name a few. Ontario produces some of the best Ice Wine in the world! If you haven’t tried it – I highly recommend it with dessert like apple crumble (made from local ingredients) YUM.
5. Urban Sprawl Boundary
Ten years ago, sprawl was rampant in Southern Ontario and prime farmland was disappearing at an alarming rate. The Greenbelt Act in combination with the Places to Grow Act has frozen the urban boundaries of Greenbelt municipalities. Rather than endlessly sprawling out, Greenbelt municipalities now need to create more liveable and coherent communities. However, the continued threat of sprawl to prime agricultural land and environmentally sensitive land is one of the main reasons multiple stakeholders are advocating the expansion of the Greenbelt.
6. Endangered Species
The Greenbelt is home to 72 officially recognized Species at Risk: 24 plants, 2 butterflies, 7 fishes, 2 amphibians, 11 reptiles, 20 birds and 6 mammals. This means that 36 percent of the province’s species at risk are supported by the protection of the Greenbelt! The Greenbelt is the permanent provision of ample habitat to endangered species. It links key natural areas in an interconnected natural heritage system.
Recreation is alive and vibrant in the Greenbelt. It is here you can find some of the best skiing, camping, swimming, fishing, boating, biking, and hiking. The Bruce Trail, over 800 km is Ontario’s longest trail. Fun in the Sun and Snow (try cross country skiing and snowshoeing) the recreational activities related to the Niagara Escarpment alone contribute more than $100 million annually to Ontario’s economy!
Ontario’s Wealth, Canada’s Future by The David Suzuki Foundation and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/publications/reports/2008/ontarios-wealth-canadas-future-appreciating-the-value-of-the-greenbelts-eco-serv/
Out there – “The Bruce Trail”: http://www.out-there.com/brc-trl.htm
The Niagara Escarpment Commission: http://www.escarpment.org/about/index.php
The Oak Ridges Moraine Foundation: http://www.moraineforlife.org/
Holland Marsh Agricultural Impact Study by Planscape and the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation:http://greenbelt.ca/tags/research/occasional-papers
Green Among the Grey by the Greenbelt Alliance:http://greenbeltalliance.ca/files/pdf/GreenbeltProgressReportFINAL.pdf