TORONTO – Cyclists from cities across North America will gather in rural Ontario this Sunday to celebrate a significant milestone in the province’s cycling infrastructure.
This year’s Great Waterfront Trail Adventure (GWTA) will coincide with the official launch of the new Greenbelt Route – a cycling trail that stretches nearly 500 kilometers from Niagara to Northumberland, Ont.
The 475 km Greenbelt Route was developed by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. The new route combined with the Waterfront Trail form a 1,000 km signed and mapped cycling loop along the waterfront and through Ontario’s protected Greenbelt.
The decade-old Greenbelt is 1.8 million acres of protected farmland, forests and wetlands. It’s the world’s largest protected greenbelt, protecting environmentally sensitive areas in Ontario from development and urban sprawl.
On Sunday, cyclists from 50 North American cities will be among the first to ride the new route.
The GWTA will start in Roseneath, Northumberland County – approximately 140 km north-east of Toronto – and end six days later in Queenston, Niagara.
Registration for GWTA 2015 is now closed, but cyclists wanting to tackle part (or all) of the route on their own can print off route maps from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. The maps are meant to complement the 900 road signs posted along the Greenbelt Route.
The route itself is said to be a boon for Ontario’s cycling tourism industry.
“For the last seven years, the GWTA has helped build the Waterfront Trail’s reputation as a premier cycle tourism destination,” said Marlaine Koehler, Executive Director of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. “It is fitting that this year, we host a special ride that showcases this new stunning addition to Ontario’s network of long distance cycling trails.”
Koehler added that the Greenbelt Route will help grow cycling tourism in the province, an industry that generates millions of dollars every year.