EcoSpark’s Greenbelt Youth Charter Bus Tour enabled me to see beyond what I was familiar with and I learned so much through this experience. I wanted to see what else the Greenbelt has to offer and witness the unique landscapes across Southern Ontario for myself. I was not at all disappointed with this experience.
On Rouge Park and Little Rouge Creek...When we visited the Little Rouge Creek in Rouge Park, I felt a sense of nostalgia. I might have a bias but it’s truly a peaceful retreat. You wouldn’t know that a short drive would bring you back to the streets of Toronto because you’re surrounded by nature and all you could hear was running water and not the cars that we’ve become accustomed to. It’s a place where you can go hiking, camping or even have a small picnic and it’s only steps away from the city.
Photo by Katherine Baird
On Alderville and the Black Oak Savanna...We also attended the 8th annual Prairie Day, a First Nation’s event, where we were able to participate in workshops like an interpretive garden tour, acorn walk, and story-telling in the teepee! We also had the opportunity to admire unique artwork and handcrafted souvenirs. We learned about the different aspects of native culture; I got to cook wild rice and get a taste of it too! I didn’t know that in addition to its beautiful landscape, it has great historical significance behind it and is also home to the indigenous Alderville First Nation who is thriving with heritage and culture.
On Holland Marsh...Of the many places we visited, the Holland Marsh stood out the most. I remember seeing the acres upon acres of farmland that was bursting with fresh produce. To imagine the amount of work that is put into maintaining the land seemed strenuous but it must also be rewarding to know that all the work paid off. The food that is grown in the marsh is the same food we put on our dinner tables and enjoy with our friends and families. It is grown in close proximity to our homes, ensuring that it is as fresh as possible.
On Ganaraska Forest...I found the Ganaraska Forest to be the most significant because its conservation authority is one of the oldest conservation authorities in Ontario. It set an example for others to encourage land regulation and forest management. In addition to its deep roots, it also boasts various outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding and even treetop trekking!
If I had to describe the Greenbelt in three words, the Greenbelt is a massive environmental retreat, and I want this to continue being a retreat for generations to come. I encourage everyone to visit this priceless treasure, whether it’s on your own or with a group, because it’s so versatile. If you enjoy being active, hiking and cycling might be the right choice for you but if you’re more laid back, apple picking might be more of your cup of tea. The Greenbelt has something for everyone so go for a visit!