Véloroute Voyageur / Voyageur Cycling Route would connect Northeastern Ontario
September 27, 2016
Participants of a four-day mobile workshop along the proposed Véloroute Voyageur / Voyageur Cycling Route agree that Northeastern Ontario is a great place to cycle. A group of six experienced cyclists from around the Province participated in the four-day ride last week to evaluate the new route’s tourism and recreational potential. The riders were accompanied daily by local advocates, politicians, municipal staff and project proponents who were interested in learning how the Voyageur Cycling Route stacks up against long-distance cycling routes in other jurisdictions. The mobile workshop was hosted by Discovery Routes Trails Organization in partnership with the Voyageur Cycling Route Working Group and supported by seed funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
The event kicked off in Mattawa on Monday and wound up in Warren on Thursday, with riders cycling 200-km of the Voyageur Cycling Route. Daily activities included workshops with presentations by local Voyageur Cycling Route partners as well as experts on cycle tourism and infrastructure. The workshops were followed by sectional rides ranging from 45 to 55km each day. These rides included sections of the Voyageur Cycling Route with the greatest potential for market readiness including: Mattawa to Bonfield; Bonfield to North Bay; Sturgeon Falls to Monetville; and Monetville to Warren.
Once completed, the Véloroute Voyageur/ Voyageur Cycling Route will support cycling tourism for exploration across 380-km of rugged Northeastern Ontario connecting over 15 local communities from the Ottawa Valley to Sudbury’s eastern border with connections to major cycling routes across Ontario including the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and Quebec’s La Route Verte. The route follows the passage of the Voyageurs 400 years ago along three Canadian Heritage Waterways and shares 192-km of the Trans Canada Trail between North Bay and Sudbury. With the Trans Canada Trail connection across Canada due to be completed by 2017, the first phase of the Voyageur Cycling Route is scheduled to launch next year.
Guest speaker Anne-Marie Forcier of Amplitude Tourism Consulting provided an overview of cycle tourism and the potential of the Québec market citing the example of Vélo Québec’s Le Grand Tour Desjardins, an annual cycling tour attracting 2000 riders and introducing new cycling destinations to the large network of 250,000 Quebec cyclists. “The Province of Québec embraced cycling as a way of life years ago and today cycling contributes $1.2 billion annually in spending in Québec. These cyclists are hungry for new places to ride and Ontario is just beginning to recognize the potential,” said Anne-Marie.
Marlaine Koehler, Executive Director at the Waterfront Regeneration Trust joined the western leg portion of the workshop. The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail celebrates over 1600-km of connected trail that is expanding rapidly into Northern Ontario along Lake Huron. Koehler agreed with the experienced riders’ overall assessment of the Voyageur Cycling Route, stating that the route has the potential to become a signature ride in Ontario. The rugged terrain, pristine natural spaces and stunning scenery that defines the Northeastern Ontario landscape will attract adventure seekers to the route.
Discovery Routes is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the use and development of trails in Northeastern Ontario in support of better health, tourism, strong communities, and environmental appreciation and protection. Discovery Routes is a volunteer partnership of community leaders, economic developers, environmental stewards and locally-based action groups.
For more information contact:
Jennifer McCourt, Executive Director
Discovery Routes Trails Organization
ph. (705)472-8480 cell (705)499-6653
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