What a way to get out of the house and see our part of the province like you’ve never seen it before.

By Jack Dennison

BURLINGTON, ON July 27, 2011 The best way Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison could tell this story was to say that “there is no such things as a bad bike lane, some are just better than others and that there is a great lake front out there that few Ontarians are really aware of. Jack and his partner Jackie spent a week on the road traveling the Waterfront Trail from Niagara Falls to Riviere Beaudette in Quebec over a seven day period. Here is their story.

Part 1 of a four part series.


Fort George, Niagara on the Lake to Fifty Point Conservation Area (60 km)

Official Ceremonies    8:40am

Departure         9:00am:

Dignitaries at the Start in Niagara on the Lake. At the sound of a cannon blast riders set off.

Left to Right: Lord Mayor David Eke, NOTL, Peter Delanty (former mayor of Cobourg), David Henderson, Mayor of Brockville, Kim Craitor, MPP Niagara Falls, PA to Minister of Tourism, Aidan Grove-White, Blue Flag Program, Jack Dennison, Councillor from Burlington, Alan Caslin,,Regional Councillor for St. Catharines, Chair of the Niagara Region Bicycling Committee, Councillor John Scott, Town of Essex (Lake Erie), Regional Chair, Gary Burroughs.

On the way to Rest Stop – Club La Salle, St. Catharines

The Waterfront Trail is 30% on dedicated paths, 30% on residential roads and 40% on secondary highways. Most sections, such as the one shown in the picture have paved shoulders and bike lanes. The WRT surveys riders and has learned:

  • 53% rate the Trail as “very good” for cycling; 19% rate it as “excellent”; 22% rate it as “good” 5% rate the Trail as well-marked; however we received many comments from participants pointing out areas where signage was needed.
  • 54% feel very safe; 46% feel somewhat safe (no one felt unsafe!)
  • 97% feel safer cycling on secondary roads if there is a paved shoulder


Welland Canal, stopped by freighter, Jackie,

Waterfront Regeneration Trust Tour Director, Petrina Tulissi,

EMS staff Rebecca and another cyclist.

Jackie beside off road trail right beside the lake looking over Port Dalhousie Harbour.

Rest stop – Jordan Village

Wine tasting, cheese factory, cold beer.

Lunch at Charles Daley Park, Lincoln served local restaurant August. August specializes in gourmet, locally grown food.

So – why did Jack and Jackie take this seven day trip? First because Jack is a bit of a sports nut but more importantly because he believes there is a significant opportunity for Burlington and the other communities along the Waterfront Trail to develop a sports tourism business that could serve all of the communities and open up our roads to cycling.

Here is his rationale:

Cycle tourism can be effectively promoted in all 41 communities from Niagara to the Quebec border, especially in Burlington, Ontario. Cycle tourism is the way to re-package hidden or forgotten local attractions in a unique experience. Cycle tourism feeds the demand to “get to know communities” The Waterfront Trail well positioned to tap into two developed cycling tourism markets—Quebec and the US. Quebec cyclists spend $135 M annually on cycling tourism and according to Velo Quebec are interested in experiences outside the Province. According to League of American Bicyclists, the American cycling tourism represents $47 B (yes, billion) industry.

Neither market knows enough about the Waterfront Trail and the great cycling tourism opportunity it represents. With a vibrant downtown, lovely natural beach, sand dunes, hotels, restaurants and shopping on Burlington’s waterfront, we are well suited to serve as an overnight destination for cycling tourists coming from Toronto or Niagara or Hamilton. Toronto to Burlington is approximately 60 km—a nice relaxing day’s ride for most recreational cyclists.

Dennison believes Burlington should augment its Waterfront Trail signage to provide:

  • Clear direction and distance notices to between attractions such as Burlington Beach and Paletta Estates. Tourism Burlington provided an excellent paper-based map featuring the stops to GWTA participants but it is preferred to have signage or pavement markings
  • Install signs from the GO Train to the Waterfront Trail and other points of arrival for visitors.

The Waterfront Regeneration Trust coordinates trail-wide initiatives such as signage and promotion (events and website and media coverage of the GWTA This is an effective and low-cost way to promote the Waterfront Trail, its 41 community partners and the many businesses, restaurants and accommodations along the way. In fact promoting local business is an organizing principle of the event.

Rest Stop organization and significant political participation in the GWTA demonstrates the commitment of the partnership. Consistently over the 4 years of the GWTA, there have been about 30 to 40 political representatives from all levels of government participating.

Waterfront Regeneration Trust is now working with communities along Lake Erie to create a Lake Erie Cycling Route that will connect to the Waterfront Trail via the Greater Niagara Circle Route. The result will be a 1200 km cycling route from Windsor to Quebec! And a gateway to the American cycling touring market.

The Waterfront Regeneration Trust raises approximately $50,000 for the Waterfront Trail Collaborative Communications and Promotions Program from the 41 community partners to fund promotional projects such as the GWTA, website, mapbook and signage programs. The City of Burlington, once a leader in the partnership, has not contributed to the CCPP since 2005. Burlington’s participation in CCPP was never handed over to a new staff member once Catharine Talbot retired. The Waterfront Regeneration Trust is requesting that the City renew its particpation. David Crombie made this point when he spoke to the Burlington Waterfront Advisory Committee – but no one sseems to be picking this one up. Mayor Goldring – could this go on your list?




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