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History


1988

Public dismay over the development of federal waterfront property leads the Government of Canada to establish the Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront with Honourable David Crombie as Commissioner.


   

1992

Ontario establishes the Waterfront Regeneration Trust to implement recommendations of "Regeneration", a Royal Commission report which includes over 80 recommendations based on public consultations. One of these recommendations is to create a continuous waterfront trail along the Lake Ontario shoreline.


   

1993

The Trust examines the issues around building an expressway along Hamilton's Red Hill Creek, and works with community groups and residents to develop a plan that protects the Creek while also serving transportation needs.

   

1994

The Trust mediates issues concerning Clarington's Westside Marsh and a local quarry expansion. Over the next three years, the Trust facilitates the creation of a plan that preserves 60% of the marsh and lets the quarry continue operations.

   

1995

The Trust opens the Waterfront Trail, a 350-kilometre, virtually continuous trail along the Lake Ontario shoreline, which connects hundreds of parks, historic and cultural sites, wildlife habitats and recreation areas from Stoney Creek to Trenton.

   
 

The Lake Ontario Greenway Strategy is released, which is a blueprint for protecting, restoring, and enhancing the waterfront and bioregion. Also, the first edition of The Waterfront Trail Guidebook is published.

   
 

Heritage Canada donates $8.5 million to the Trust to support the conservation of the Rouge Valley.

   

1996

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) announces a 5-year, $1 million partnership with the Trust.

   
 

The Trust supports the launch of the Toronto Bay Initiative, a grassroots organization whose goal is to protect and restore the Toronto Bay.

   

1997

The Trust publishes "Greening Toronto's Port Lands", a plan for improving the area's visual, recreational, and environmental quality, in collaboration with landscape architect Michael Hough.

   
 

The Trust coordinates the first waterfront-wide user survey of the Waterfront Trail. The results confirm the public's overwhelming support for a continuous trail along Lake Ontario.

   
 

The Washington D.C.-based Waterfront Center honours the Waterfront Trail and the Humber River Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge for excellence in design.

   
 

$1.5 million in donations raised by philanthropist Jim Fleck are held in the Trust's Waterfront Regeneration Fund and designated for the Toronto Music Garden. The design is inspired and championed by cellist Yo Yo Ma.

   
 

The Trust begins a partnership with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, to provide leadership for the Toronto Remedial Action Plan to improve water quality and habitats.

   

1998

In partnership with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the German Marshall Fund, and Environment Canada, the Trust's International Brownfield Exchange is launched.

   

1999

The Waterfront Regeneration Trust becomes an independent, charitable organization.

   
 

An innovative partnership involving the City of Hamilton, Hamilton Region Conservation Authority, Waterfront Regeneration Trust and the Province begins the long-awaited transformation of Hamilton Beach. The partnership includes the transfer of public lands and financing for Waterfront Trail development. Funds for the latter are held in the Waterfront Regeneration Fund.

   

2000

The Trust publishes "Decade of Regeneration: Realizing a Vision for Lake Ontario", a chronicle of revitalization achievements along the Lake Ontario waterfront

   

2001

Working with 28 municipalities and over 30 community partners, the Trust coordinates a funding proposal that would bring $45 million of investment along Lake Ontario's waterfront.

   
 

The Trust hosts the fourth annual Clean Waters Summit and launches Clean Waters, Healthy Habitats, a call to action for the Toronto waterfront and watersheds.

   

2002

CIBC recommits to the partnership that will complete the 740 km Waterfront Trail over the next three years. Since the inception of the Trail, CIBC has contributed $1.25 million.

   
 

The Trust organizes the Toronto Star End to End Tour of the Waterfront Trail. The tour becomes the subject of a six-part feature in the Toronto Star, profiling regeneration successes of waterfront communities and the Waterfront Trail.

   
 

The Trust publishes the 2002 Waterfront User Survey, the only comprehensive research that profiles Trail users and records their assessments of the Trail. The survey confirms that over 90% of respondents support the creation of a continuous Waterfront Trail.

   
 

The Ontario Trillium Foundation funds the Trust's work in three communities to help them create waterfront strategies.

   
 

2003

The Canada-Ontario Infrastructure Program and SuperBuild announce their contribution of $9.2 million to support the Trust's Expansion and Enhancement of the Waterfront Trail and Greenway. Municipalities and local partners will invest an additional $23 million to complete 53 projects along the Waterfront Trail.

   
 

The WRT creates the Pedal Passport, a brochure outlining six-weekend itineraries that together take people from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Brockville along the Waterfront Trail.

   
 

46 kilometres of Waterfront Trail in signed along the Loyalist Parkway in Greater Napanee and Loyalist.

   

2004

The WRT launches the redesigned website for the Waterfront Trail. The first phase of the redesign posts a complete set of maps for the Trail from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Brockville and suggested itineraries.

   
 

Twelve of the fifty-three projects from the Expansion and Enhancement of the Waterfront Trail and Greenway are completed.

   
 

Gananoque signs its portion of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail.

   

2005

The WRT Board approves the extension of the Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail to the Quebec border. Discussions begin with the local communities to set agreements in place.

   

2006

WRT staff meets with partners from communities east of Brockville as part of the 2006 End-to-End Tour. WRT receives enthusiastic support for the extension of the Trail from Brockville to the Quebec border.

   

2007

The Waterfront Trail is signed to the Quebec border. Trust welcomes 7 new communities to the Waterfront Trail partnership. Plans are put in place to construct a kiosk at the border to mark the connection with la Route Verte.

   
 

WRT celebrates the completion of the 52 projects that comprise the Expansion and Enhancement of the Waterfront Trail and Greenway. Together the projects represent $22 public investment in the waterfront.

   

2008

In response to overwhelming support from the partnership, the Trust launches the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure, an 8-day end-to-end cycling tour of the Waterfront Trail, designed to showcase the Waterfront Trail and the communities along the route, and promote cycle tourism and healthy, active living in Ontario. The Great Waterfront Trail Adventure is generously supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation and CIBC. CIBC renews its partnership with the WRT providing $250,000 over five years.

   

2010

The WRT launches an initiative to extend the Waterfront Trail and the partnership along Lake Erie, adding another 600 km. The work is generously supported by the Great Lakes Guardian Fund and Ministry of Tourism.

   
  The WRT compiles a second phase for the Waterfront Investment Program that will deliver 25 improvements and enhancements to the Waterfront Trail. The program involves 16 municipal partners and represents an investment of $18 M. 

2011

A number of WRT partners’ waterfront projects receive funding from various infrastructure funds including the construction of a pedestrian/cycling bridge in Hamilton over the QEW connecting the Waterfront Trail to the Red Hill Valley.

   
  Velo Quebec hosts its first Grand Tour in Ontario along the St. Lawrence River in partnership with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. The event sets a record, bringing 2000 Quebec and international cyclists to the region.

2012

WRT begins work on creating a new cycling route in partnership with the Greenbelt Foundation. The Greenbelt Route fulfills the WRT mandate to connect the Lake Ontario watersheds. The new route will include 3-5 links with the Waterfront Trail, creating several regional loops for cyclists to enjoy.

   
  CAASCO, partners with WRT which includes providing support for the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail Adventure through its innovative Mobile Bike Assist.

2013

The WRT adds a new Lake to the Waterfront Trail, signing 600km of new trail from Fort Erie to Windsor and Lakeshore on Lake St. Clair. The new route connects 27 new waterfront communities. Support is provided by Ontario's Southwest.

   

 

The new Lake Erie Waterfront Trail is launched with a seven-day Great Waterfront Trail Adventure with over 220 participants with support from CAASCO.

   

 

Communities in Lambton County approach the Trust about joining the Waterfront Trail by signing route from Lakeshore to Grand Bend.

   

 

Ragnar Relay Series hosts their first international event along the Waterfront Trail. 1300 runners completed a two day relay race from Cobourg to Niagara Falls along the Waterfront Trail. Ragnar Relay donates $25,000 to the Waterfront Trail.

   
  The WRT begins work with Tourism Northern Ontario and Trans Canada Trail to implement the 380 km Lake Huron North Channel cycling route between Sault Ste Marie and Sudbury. The route will signed as both Trans Canada Trail and Great Lakes Waterfront Trail.

2014 The WRT concludes a partner-wide strategic planning process and receives a mandate from its partners to embrace a Great Lakes vision for the Waterfront Trail. 
   

 

Niagara River Recreation Trail will be co-signed as the Waterfront Trail, thereby adding another 56 km of signed Waterfront Trail to enjoy.

   
  The WRT partners with Velo Quebec to bring another Grand Tour to Ontario--this time to Hamilton, Niagara and Lake Erie region. The event brings 1800 cyclists to the region.
   
 

In May 2014, the WRT accepts an invitation from the Georgian Bay Cycling Route (GBCyR) Steering Committee to lead the initiative with the goal of adding the 1,000 km Route to the Waterfront Trail and extending the partnership to include communities along the Route. The expansion would help fulfill the Trust's vision and mandate to create a Great Lakes Waterfront Trail.

   


2015 The WRT launches the 470km Greenbelt Route from Niagara to Northumberland. The WRT led the work to create the signed route with generous funding from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. The route showcases 27 communities and Ontario's protected countryside. In addition to the linear route, 5 connections from the Great Lakes to the headwaters in the Greenbelt. Together the two connected trail form a regional watershed loop.
   
 

The Ministry of Transportation announces it will invest $15M to improve safety conditions for cyclists on provincial roads as part of its #CycleON strategy. Projects include shoulder improvements for 50 km of HWY 17 needed to establish a continuous route from Sault Ste Marie to Sudbury.

   
  The WRT and the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority open the new Lynde Shores Waterfront Trail. Project funding ($600K) was secured by the WRT from the PanAm legacy fund to close a gap in the Trail between Whitby and Ajax and connect two provincially significant wetlands in Lynde Shores conservation area. The Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority leads the implementation of the long-awaited improvement. Durham Region and Town of Whitby construct the section of the Trail from the conservation area into the Town.
   
  The WRT adds "Great Lakes" into the name of the Waterfront Trail and unveils new signage with the full name.
   
  Pelee Island is designated as part of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail.


 2016 The WRT celebrates the 21st Anniversary of the Waterfront Trail on the occasion of founder David Crombie's 80th birthday. Over 80 partners join the brief ceremonies on the Toronto Waterfront.
   
  The Regional Municipality of Durham and the Durham Environmental Advisory Committee honour the WRT with the Jessica Markland Partnership Award for its work to close the gap in Lynde Shores. 
   
  The WRT partners with Metrolinx to create ten active transportation connections between GO bus and train stations and the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail.
   
  On behalf of 84+ partners, the WRT is honoured to receive the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects Award for Service to the Environment in recognition of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail's contribution to the sensitive, sustainable design for human use of the environment. 
   
  The 9th annual Great Waterfront Trail Adventure launches the newest section of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail from Pelee Island to Grand Bend. 
   
  The Ontario's Southwest Edition of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail Mapbook is published with 36 detailed maps showing the route of the Trail from Niagara to Grand Bend.

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