A large crowd gathered in Wellesley village Saturday to celebrate the grand opening of a new trail system named after a local family. ErbHaven Trails, located behind the township fire hall on Queen’s Bush Road, is now officially open to the public.
At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, speeches were delivered by Sandy Erb, whose family donated part of the trail space, Wellesley Mayor Joe Nowak, regional chair Karen Redman, and Matthew Stubbings on behalf of Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris.
“We thought it was very fitting to donate the woodlot for people to use for walking because when my dad retired, he joined my mother in walking Hutchison Road every day,” said Erb.
“Many of you probably remember seeing him walking and waving and smiling at you. We thought it was very fitting to have a walking trail named after him to remember him by.”
The township acquired the space back in September 2016 when 32 acres was purchased from the family of the late Earl E. Erb, and the Erb family donated another eight acres. The land was originally a dairy farm called “ErbHaven Holsteins.”
A bronze plaque placed on top of a rock is situated at the head of the trail to honour his memory – 1940-2015. The wording on the plate, funded by the family, features a passage from the Bible.
Before being converted into a public trail, the space had been in the Erb family for three generations. Earl and his wife Eva Erb purchased the property back in 1964. Elmer and Vera Erb lived there prior to that, having purchased the property from Vera’s mother back in 1940.
“Whenever I go to New York City and I walk through Central Park, I think that the reason people today can embrace the outdoors and nature is because of the vision of those who came before them,” said Redman.
Wellesley Township funded the trailhead sign, along with the structure holding up the sign, at a cost of about $7,500. Nowak added that this grand opening is the first of many upcoming developments on the parcel of land.
“This is the first step in the development of the park. This is the first major event that’s happening here – additional trails can be added in the future, and planning is underway for the overall Wellesley Township recreation centre on this land,” said Nowak.
“An application is being made for provincial and federal funding in hopes of moving forward with this development.”
The trail can be found at 1401 Queen’s Bush Rd. in Wellesley. There is a trail started near the fire department parking lot that leads to the forested area. It is marked with a large “ErbHaven Trails” sign.