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Monday, January 30, 2023
New Upper Canada Heritage Trail sign unveilled

At a ceremony held on Nov. 15 at 10 a.m., the Niagara-on-the-Lake Heritage Trail subcommittee unveiled the new sign on the northern trailhead, by the intersection of John and King Streets.

“One of our first jobs in raising awareness was of course to put up the signage,” said Tony Chisholm, a NOTL resident who has been involved with the project for around two years. “This is just one of four signs, if you go around town or down the trail you’ll see the other three signs.”

The Heritage Trail subcommittee has been increasing their efforts to raise awareness and educate the community about the historical value behind the trail.

The signage is also the first step in trying to preserve the trail for future generations.

“We want this trail to remain, we want it to look nice, we want people to use it and we want to tell people the history of the trail,” said Chisholm.

Now that the sign has been unveiled to the community, the committee is setting their long-term plan of preserving the trail into motion.

“This is just the beginning, we have four or five phases where were going to open up this part of the trail and then continue on to concession one, then line three, then line six and then hopefully the town can trade with the region for the end part,” said Chisholm. “So, it’s a four or five-year project, it’s a long project.”

The committee has been meeting since the Canada 150 celebrations began, and have been working their way towards the unveiling of the signs. With support from council and the community they are are raising awareness and telling the town about the history of the trail.

NOTL resident Rick Meloen, who has been involved with the project knows the history behind the trail as well as anyone and he was at the unveiling to give a brief history of the trail.

Upper Canada Heritage Trail is one of the oldest trails in the region, it dates to the Erie and Ontario Railroads from 1841 according to Meloen.

“The railroad line first began in 1841 and it ran between Chippawa and Queenston.”

“In 1959 the last train pulled out of NOTL here, in 1960 there was a rockslide in St. David’s and about 70 feet of track was demolished and that spelled the end of the train.”

Committee members want to keep the memory of the railway alive by using the trail and are hoping that it can become a vital part of the active transportation in NOTL.

The hope is to open a multi-purpose trail for the community that everyone can use. The new sign has information about the trail and provides a map of the trail’s route for its users.

“This is a really important part of our cultural heritage, and as Tony said we want to keep the history of the train alive,” said Meloen. “It makes perfect sense to put a multi-purpose trail here, for bikers, for walkers and for our four-legged friends.”

With the first steps of the long-term project complete, the committee is hoping for continued support from everyone in the community.

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