‘Building a legacy’: Credit Valley Conservation unveils first wayfinding sign for 100 km trail from Lake Ontario to Orangeville area

·4 min read

A 100-km trail stretching across the Credit River watershed is one step closer to being realized following the unveiling of its first wayfinding sign near Orangeville.

“These signs of progress will guide us both literally and figuratively as we take these steps along the path, on the current trail, and towards its completion,” said Terri Leroux, Credit Valley Conservation’s (CVC) senior manager of property, assets, recreation and conservation areas.

Eventually spanning 100 kilometres through the Credit Valley and along the river, the Credit Valley Trail (CVT) will connect space from Lake Ontario and Port Credit all the way to the Headwaters region.

Earlier this year, CVC acquired a 44-acre property in Caledon which will connect 8.5 kilometres of new trail between the Alton Grange Upper Credit Conservation Area and Forks of the Credit Park.

“Work on the trail is carried out in a collaborative spirit that is the very essence of the Credit Valley Trail, with the support and dedication of so many project partners,” added Leroux.

Partners, donors, and members of the community gathered with representatives of the Credit Valley Trail leadership team to celebrate the unveiling on Nov. 2, where many shared their excitement at being part of the journey.

“Fully realizing the Credit Valley Trail will mean Ontario residents and visitors can readily access nature that is close to home in many cases,” said Edward McDonnell, chief executive of the Greenbelt Foundation.

“It’s really been a delight to see the creativity, the effort, the thoughtfulness that has gone into the Credit Valley Trail to date, and I know that will continue.”

The Greenbelt Foundation, an organization investing in efforts to protect and enhance the greenbelt, was one of the founding donors on the Credit Valley Trail project.

“We’re building a legacy that will knit together many diverse communities,” added McDonnell. “It’s this sort of community building through investments in natural areas that really exemplifies a big part of what the future of planning in our region should be about.”

Indigenous experience will be a major part of the trail system, introducing visitors to the First Nations history of the area, educating about treaty land, and working to foster a reconciliatory spirit with communities like The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, the Six Nations of the Grand River, the Huron-Wendat First Nation, the Credit River Métis Council, and the Sacred Water Circle in Peterborough.

“We have been on a campaign for a long time, many many years, to be recognized and respected for who we are in this land,” said Carolyn King, Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Community Member, and chair of the CVT Indigenous Roundtable.

A total of 23 treaties with Indigenous groups allowed for the settlement of the Credit Valley and along the river, and the CVT will feature historically important sites and more, developed with guidance from the Indigenous Roundtable.

“This project feels like it’s inclusive,” added King. “They want us to be a part of it as best as we can.”

The beauty of the Credit Valley and Credit River have been a draw for many visitors over the years, but with COVID-19, it has become more of an attraction.

“Our river, which flows through bustling urban centres and lush rural landscapes is known for its scenic vistas, abundant fisheries, and beautiful natural spaces,” said Karen Ras, chair of CVC board of directors and the CVC Foundation.

Ras hailed the Credit Valley Trail as a once-in-a-lifetime project, adding that for many people, the river is a point of pride and worthy of being protected.

“The trail will connect communities to the beauty of nature, Indigenous heritage, and values rich cultural experiences and sustaining waters of the Credit River,” said Ras. “Each new kilometre is a step towards a more connected future, where the credit river and the natural environment take a central role in our well-being.”

The unveiling of the wayfinding signs also marked the launch of the trail’s biggest fundraising campaign to date — a $10 million campaign to help connect the remaining 68 kilometres of the CVT.

“So many of you have walked this path with us as we came together, organized, planned, and dreamed of a more connected future that puts the Credit River — our river — at the heart of our communities,” said Ras.

For more information about the Credit Valley Trail or to support the campaign, visit creditvalleytrail.ca.

Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner