The second annual Spring on the Trail is set to go May 12. The event began as a necessity to bring the public’s attention to the trail, explaind Doug Creson of the Kissing Bridge Trailway Advisory Board. “A lot of residents in Elmira associate the trailway with the intersection on Arthur Street North, and people living in West Montrose associate the trail with the sign by the Kissing Bridge – we are trying to identify the trailway as a whole. This trail is 45 kilometres long and that is a large area that is being preserved in trust for our next generation to use,” said Creson. “We want to make sure people are using the trail and if they don’t know it is there they might not understand that it is theirs to use.”
The trail was developed 14 years ago and the intent of the Spring on the Trail event is to bring people out onto the trail and discover what it offers across southwestern Ontario.
“The plan is to be able to take your kids on a bike, hike or walk and leave at the starting point in Guelph and never have to share the trail with a car, so you don’t have to look over your shoulder and to see if your child is OK behind you,” said Creson. “We have to take a bigger view of the trail and look at what kind of asset we had here in Ontario and it is truly a valuable one that one else has.”
This event complements things like the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival and the street dance and sidewalk sale which are one-day events that bring the community together and brings tourists to the region, he added.
“We want to be able to advertise this trail to the Ontario, Quebec and New York market as the 401 of trailways allowing visitors to see and walk through picturesque views and three suspension bridges located along the route all while creating tourism here.”
In Elmira the days focus will be on kids on the trail as a kiddy fun track will be set up with inflatable castles and rides and numerous merchants in Elmira will set up stations and booths.
“We are trying to create a true sense of community and encourage businesses to turn the trail into Main Street or flea market for the day,” he said. “This is not a one-day event where we say thanks for the money and put some stone down on the trail two kilometres away – it’s ultimately about bringing the community together on the trail.”
There will also bike challenge where cyclists can start in Guelph travel to Millbank and back covering 90 km.
“This is a unique challenge and we are looking to attract those cyclists that have moved away from road cycling but still want to ride a good distance on a safe route.”
For the explorer there will be a geocaching event where visitors on the trail will have to find caches with tokens that will allow them to get a key which will open up a treasure chest that will have cash inside.
Passports for the event are $20 for individual or families and are tax deductible. Each passport gives the user a passport number and that number is entered into prize draws with the grand prize being $2,500 in travel vouchers.
Passports are available at the Bank of Montreal and FB and Me fashion boutique in Elmira
The funds raised by the Spring on the Trail event will be put back into the trail building and repairing bridges and maintaining the trail as a whole.
The event begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m.