For Immediate Release
August 8, 2023
Quinte West, Ontario
The Great Waterfront Trail Adventure celebrates 15 years of WOW-Wonderful Ontario Waterfront
Waterfront Regeneration Trust and community partners welcome cyclists to experience Quinte West to Quebec on the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail
August 8, 2023 — The numbers are exciting. It’s been 31 years of trail development, 15 annual events, 102 days of discovery and camaraderie, 8,500 kilometers, and approximately 2,500 happy bicyclists since the first Great Waterfront Trail Adventure (GWTA) in 2008. Today, the GWTA has become one of Ontario’s most anticipated bicycling traditions, a celebration of our partnerships, progress on our waterfront vision, and the exceptional cycling tourism attraction that is the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail.
The GWTA is the Waterfront Regeneration Trust’s annual, multi-day bicycling tour, designed to showcase the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and the communities that support it. It also promotes the mission behind the charity’s work—the regeneration of our Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.
“The success of the GWTA is, a testament to the outstanding cycling experience the Trail provides”, says Marlaine Koehler, Executive Director of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. “It’s just as much due to the hospitality, hard work, and support of participating communities and other partners, who welcome cyclists, and invest in the Trail.”
“Congratulations to the team at Waterfront Regeneration Trust on 15 years of success as the GWTA celebrates its anniversary,” said Ed McDonnell, CEO of the Greenbelt Foundation. “This event allows cyclists to experience the Greenbelt and larger Great Lakes Waterfront Trail each summer, getting a firsthand look at how WRT is working to protect and restore the natural heritage of the Great Lakes region and discovering the wonderful communities along the way.”
The 2023 Adventure includes overnights in the communities of Quinte West, Kingston, Brockville and Cornwall; as well as community-hosted welcome stops at Brighton, Bath, Syndenham, Gananoque, Town of Prescott, Edwardsburgh Cardinal, South Stormont, and South Glengarry to a name a few.
“The GWTA has become a way to introduce riders who come from all over Canada and the US to many wonderful cycling assets connected to the Trail”, says Jo Sharland, tour director for the Waterfront Regeneration Trust.
The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail connects to many major hiking and cycling trails. There will be several opportunities for participants to cycle a number of featured regional trails that are connected to the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, and experience different parts of the region. These include the Millennium Trail in Quinte West and in Prince Edward County, the K&P Trail in Kingston and Frontenac County, Cornwall’s Urban Loop, and the Cheese’n Crankers cycling loop in South Glengarry.
Cyclists can customize their rides as well. In Kingston, participants can choose between a fully-supported, exploration of the K&P Trail to Sydenham in Frontenac County, or a visit to the City’s historical and beach attractions (including a Penitentiary Tour, Fort Henry, Gord Downie Pier with Swim Drink Fish, Breakwater Park, and Richardson Beach).
In Cornwall, the choice is between a supported ride of the 52km Cheese’n Crankers cycling loop (a regional loop starting from Gray’s Creek Conservation Area, with a rest stop hosted at Cooper Marsh Conservation Area), or a ride directly along the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail to its eastern terminus at the Quebec border.
The GWTA was created in 2008 by Waterfront Regeneration Trust (WRT) and its community partners to invite the public to experience what was, at that time, the entire Great Lakes Waterfront Trail – from Niagara-on-the-Lake to South Glengarry (and the Quebec border) over 8 days. Riders began to ask the Trust when the GWTA would tour the other Great Lakes, which helped to set the stage for the expansion along Lake Erie.
Today the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail stretches for 3,600 km from Quebec to Sault Ste. Marie, connecting 155 communities and First Nations – a celebration of nature and culture. It represents over 30 years of public and private investment in our Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River waterfront in hundreds of projects from small to large. The GWTA has launched every new expansion.
Riders will see a number of improvements to the Trail and waterfront this year including Kingston’s refurbished Richardson Beach, new dedicated cycling infrastructure along HWY 33, Cornwall’s urban loop that connects many of the City’s major tourism assets, and Glen Walter waterfront park in South Glengarry.
This year, the CAA will once again be a valued partner, providing participants with CAA Bike Assist, roadside assistance for bicycles. CAA Bike Assist is a CAA Member benefit included in the annual cost of membership. Other valued partners include the Greenbelt Foundation, RTO 9, St. Lawrence Parks Commission, the City of Quinte West, Kingston, and Cornwall.
“Events like the GWTA encourage many to hop on their bikes to explore Ontario’s Great Lakes communities in an enjoyable and safe way,” said Michael Stewart, community relations consultant, CAA South Central Ontario. “Our Members continue to embrace cycling and our work with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust is one of the many ways CAA is supporting travelling by two wheels across the province.”
The GWTA sells out quickly when registration opens in January. Bicyclists from across Ontario, Canada, and even internationally make it an annual tradition. In the words of one participant, “I look forward to and love this adventure every year. I have chatted it up enthusiastically at home and elsewhere and am continually recommending it to others. It is truly an exceptional experience, and I cannot imagine a summer without the GWTA.”
For media inquiries contact Marlaine Koehler, Waterfront Regeneration Trust C: 416-520-4205 firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Itinerary:
The 2023 Great Waterfront Trail Adventure itinerary can be found on the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail website: https://waterfronttrail.org/great-waterfront-trail-adventure/route-itinerary/.
QUOTES FROM OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS
“Quinte West welcomes all cyclists and is proud to be this year’s host community launching the annual Great Waterfront Trail Adventure. Picturesque landscapes along the historic Millennium Trail through Quinte West will provide a memorable experience for all participants and future visitors to the city.” Mayor Jim Harrison, City of Quinte West.
“As a founding community member of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail we are proud and excited to welcome the Great Lakes Bike Ride cyclists on August 8th. The Great Waterfront Trail Adventure is an annual cycling tour and, as an initial supporting community, we look forward to welcoming these guests to Brighton.” Mayor Brian Ostrander, Municipality of Brighton
“Cycle tourism creates a substantial impact in Lennox & Addington. We’re very fortunate to have the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail travel through the southern portion of our County, and the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure Tour in particular provides excellent exposure to our local businesses along the route. It also helps to generate awareness for our paved road cycling network, our backroad riding experiences and mountain bike trails that are found in communities throughout Lennox & Addington.” Warden Henry Hogg, Lennox & Addington
“Visiting a destination by bike provides guests with a dedicated route that leads to the hosts of a community, like cafe baristas, local chefs, winegrowers, and artists. The vineyards, heritage architecture, and breezy shores of Lake Ontario are simply breathtaking in Prince Edward County, and the locals who treasure this home want you to slow down and stay awhile. We thank the Waterfront Regeneration Trust for their longstanding effort to grow cycle tourism in Ontario and look forward to welcoming new friends at the 2023 Great Waterfront Trail Adventure.” Eleanor Cook, Executive Director @visitthecounty
“Loyalist Township is proud to be partnering with Lennox and Addington County and the Bath Business group to be providing a rest stop for the Great Lakes Waterfront Adventure. Situated along Lake Ontario, the Loyalist Parkway provides a beautiful bicycle trail connecting Picton to Kingston while travelling along the shores of Loyalist Township. The return of this tour brings attention to our historic sites and supports our local businesses along the route while promoting a well-travelled cycling route.” Mayor Jim Hegadorn, Loyalist Township
“The Village of Bath Businesses are so excited to welcome Waterfront Riders on August 9th! We have been discussing your arrival for months and preparing to welcome you all to our beautiful village. We truly hope you can take some time to enjoy our community and all it has to offer. Please feel welcome to ask us any questions about the area or offerings, we’d love to have you back another day when you have more time to explore! Enjoy your ride and we look forward to hosting you soon!” Cassandra Rendell, Owner Lodge Coffee House
“Frontenac County is pleased to welcome the 2023 Great Waterfront Trail adventure on an excursion along our historic K&P rail trail as it travels through farmland, wetland, forest and our own little corner of the Canadian Shield. With almost 200 kilometres of rail trails in Frontenac, we hope this tour will highlight the cycling opportunities available to a wide diversity of visitors in our region.” Richard Allen, Manager of Economic Development – County of Frontenac
“The Town of Prescott is thrilled to welcome the return of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail Adventure (GWTA) in 2023. We look forward to showcasing Prescott’s diverse mix of cycling experiences, amenities and award-winning bike friendly businesses along the St. Lawrence River, and invite participants back to explore all Prescott has to offer on your next visit.” Mayor Gauri Shankar, Town of Prescott
“Recent improvements to our waterfront area make Edwardsburgh Cardinal a great rest stop on any adventure. It’s an honour to welcome cyclists from the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure to TWPEC. Our Township is proud to work with the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, their partners and our community neighbours to promote a connected waterfront through our active transportation network.” Mayor Tory Deschamps, Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal
“SDG Counties has some of the most beautiful vistas in our province – which are best enjoyed from the seat of your bicycle. Whether it’s biking along the beautiful waterfront or enjoying the rolling hills and lush forests of our rural community, cycling in SDG Counties is a must for visitors and residents Warden Tony Fraser, United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
“We are so excited to welcome cyclists to our vibrant Municipality during the 15th anniversary of the GWTA. Our well-maintained waterfront is one of our most popular attractions and we know that you will enjoy our picturesque, multi-purpose trails. South Dundas has so much to offer — we encourage newcomers to stay a while and explore our unique shopping, including vast agricultural-based businesses, and our immersive history.” Mayor Jason Broad, South Dundas
“This year, the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) is thrilled to provide Great Waterfront Trail Adventure cyclists with a chance to rest and recharge in nature at both Gray’s Creek and Cooper Marsh Conservation Areas. With three publicly-accessible greenspaces located along the Great Waterfront Trail in Eastern Ontario, the RRCA is pleased to offer recreation opportunities to cyclists throughout the season. Richard Pilon, RRCA General Manager
“We are excited to welcome the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure’s multi-day bicycling tour and their cyclists again this year to the properties of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission including the Long Sault Parkway. It’s a great way to connect to the beautiful waterfront communities along our corridor.” Tim Robins, Acting Director, Parks and Recreation, St. Lawrence Parks Commission
“We are so pleased to have GWTA’s annual bike ride coming through South Eastern Ontario in August. Our region has a plethora of cycling trails for all ages and abilities and we are so excited to be included in this year’s tour.” Bonnie Ruddock, Executive Director, RTO 9
“Our government is working with partners like the Waterfront Regeneration Trust on the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail to improve active transportation, and is pleased to see an event like the GWTA that makes good use of cycling infrastructure throughout the province.” Herb Villneff, East Regional Director of Operations, Ontario Ministry of Transportation
“We look forward to welcoming the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure to Cornwall, and showcasing our region and waterfront, including the recreational path,” said Mayor Justin Towndale, City of Cornwall. “We are truly fortunate to have these amenities in our community and I invite visitors and residents alike to explore them fully.”Mayor Justin Towndale, City of Cornwall
“The City of Cornwall is excited to be part of the 2023 Great Waterfront Trail Adventure. The Adventure celebrates our extensive cycling infrastructure and our well-earned Bike Friendly Community Silver status.” Kevin Lajoie, City of Cornwall Tourism Officer
“South Glengarry is glad to receive the participants of the GWTA. At our Glen Walter Waterfront Park, we recently added a bike repair station which may be of benefit and are currently reviewing active infrastructure in our community. We hope the cyclists have an opportunity to tour the Cheese ‘n Crankers loop (55.7 km) and enjoy our rural hospitality while in town.” Mayor Lachlan McDonald, Township of South Glengarry
“Participating in the GWTA each year has been both a privilege and a highlight for me. I have been able to experience firsthand the rich variety of Ontario waterfront communities. Truly there is something to appeal to every possible interest all wrapped up in the healthy activity of cycling that fosters both physical and mental fitness. I would highly recommend the GWTA to all.” Rod Forrester, GWTA Ambassador and Volunteer.