Trail Strategy for the Greater Toronto Region

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has developed The Trail Strategy for the Greater Toronto Region as a call to action to renew our collective efforts to complete, expand and manage the Greater Toronto Region Trail Network with the next generation of trails.

Draft versions of the Trail Strategy and Workbook can be accessed at the bottom of the right hand side bar.


About the Trail Strategy

Over the past 60 years, TRCA has worked with partners to give the public responsible access to nature through scenic recreational trails and greenways.

In 1989, we proposed the concept of a Greater Toronto Region trail network, connecting neighbourhoods from the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment all the way to the shoreline of Lake Ontario.

Since then, working in partnership with community groups and all levels of government, TRCA has developed this network. Today, within our jurisdiction, there are more than 500 kilometres of regional trails. In addition, we have planned and implemented local and neighbourhood trail connections to give residents access to conservation lands and local trail systems.

This comprehensive network plays many important roles: securing greenspace, mitigating climate change, improving residents’ health and well-being, promoting responsible public access and inspiring environmental stewardship.


Why we need a Strategy

The Greater Toronto region is experiencing unprecedented urban growth. By 2041, our population is projected to increase 40 percent, reaching close to 10 million residents. As we continue to expand our trail infrastructure, we need to support these new and growing communities while mitigating the environmental impact associated with intensification.

Expanding greenspace and providing trails more equitably across TRCA’s jurisdiction will provide under-served communities with nature-based amenities, recreation opportunities and active transportation, while helping to improve the collective health and well-being of residents across the region.

To realize these possibilities, TRCA needs to target its efforts and capitalize on development opportunities in accordance with its own environmental planning policies and objectives.

To this end, TRCA has prepared its draft Trail Strategy — a document providing a strategic vision for this next generation of trails.


The Vision

The vision for the Greater Toronto Region Trail network sees a complete regional trail system in greenspace that connects our growing communities to nature and to each other, supporting active living and enhancing our conservation legacy.


The Concept

The concept for the Greater Toronto Region trail network sees the development of more than 570 kilometres of proposed trails through the Oak Ridges Moraine, the valleys of the Etobicoke, Mimico, Highland, Petticoat and Duffins Creeks, the major valleys of the Don, Humber and Rouge Rivers, and the Lake Ontario Waterfront, as well as regional infrastructure corridors (including transit, utility and electric power facility corridors).

It also envisions the introduction of blue trails, which are paddling routes on our navigable waterways. And it proposes investment in 10 conservation destination areas to enhance the trail network and provide amenities.

Combined with the 530 kilometers of existing trails in our greenspace system, the final result would be a network of more than 1,100 km of regional trails for the Greater Toronto Region.


Public Open House

On January 9, 2019, TRCA hosted a Public Open House to introduce the Draft Trail Strategy to those who attended. At the Open House, a short presentation was delivered, and attendees were able to review the Implementation Maps and Strategic Objectives associated with the Trail Strategy. We have made all of the material presented at the Open House available on this webpage.

The Implementation Maps can be accessed by clicking the Draft Trail Strategy Workbook link at the bottom of the right hand side bar of this page. The list of Strategic Objectives can be accessed by clicking the Draft Trail Strategy Document link also at the bottom of the right hand side bar of this page. Finally, the presentation can be viewed below:






Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has developed The Trail Strategy for the Greater Toronto Region as a call to action to renew our collective efforts to complete, expand and manage the Greater Toronto Region Trail Network with the next generation of trails.

Draft versions of the Trail Strategy and Workbook can be accessed at the bottom of the right hand side bar.


About the Trail Strategy

Over the past 60 years, TRCA has worked with partners to give the public responsible access to nature through scenic recreational trails and greenways.

In 1989, we proposed the concept of a Greater Toronto Region trail network, connecting neighbourhoods from the Oak Ridges Moraine and the Niagara Escarpment all the way to the shoreline of Lake Ontario.

Since then, working in partnership with community groups and all levels of government, TRCA has developed this network. Today, within our jurisdiction, there are more than 500 kilometres of regional trails. In addition, we have planned and implemented local and neighbourhood trail connections to give residents access to conservation lands and local trail systems.

This comprehensive network plays many important roles: securing greenspace, mitigating climate change, improving residents’ health and well-being, promoting responsible public access and inspiring environmental stewardship.


Why we need a Strategy

The Greater Toronto region is experiencing unprecedented urban growth. By 2041, our population is projected to increase 40 percent, reaching close to 10 million residents. As we continue to expand our trail infrastructure, we need to support these new and growing communities while mitigating the environmental impact associated with intensification.

Expanding greenspace and providing trails more equitably across TRCA’s jurisdiction will provide under-served communities with nature-based amenities, recreation opportunities and active transportation, while helping to improve the collective health and well-being of residents across the region.

To realize these possibilities, TRCA needs to target its efforts and capitalize on development opportunities in accordance with its own environmental planning policies and objectives.

To this end, TRCA has prepared its draft Trail Strategy — a document providing a strategic vision for this next generation of trails.


The Vision

The vision for the Greater Toronto Region Trail network sees a complete regional trail system in greenspace that connects our growing communities to nature and to each other, supporting active living and enhancing our conservation legacy.


The Concept

The concept for the Greater Toronto Region trail network sees the development of more than 570 kilometres of proposed trails through the Oak Ridges Moraine, the valleys of the Etobicoke, Mimico, Highland, Petticoat and Duffins Creeks, the major valleys of the Don, Humber and Rouge Rivers, and the Lake Ontario Waterfront, as well as regional infrastructure corridors (including transit, utility and electric power facility corridors).

It also envisions the introduction of blue trails, which are paddling routes on our navigable waterways. And it proposes investment in 10 conservation destination areas to enhance the trail network and provide amenities.

Combined with the 530 kilometers of existing trails in our greenspace system, the final result would be a network of more than 1,100 km of regional trails for the Greater Toronto Region.


Public Open House

On January 9, 2019, TRCA hosted a Public Open House to introduce the Draft Trail Strategy to those who attended. At the Open House, a short presentation was delivered, and attendees were able to review the Implementation Maps and Strategic Objectives associated with the Trail Strategy. We have made all of the material presented at the Open House available on this webpage.

The Implementation Maps can be accessed by clicking the Draft Trail Strategy Workbook link at the bottom of the right hand side bar of this page. The list of Strategic Objectives can be accessed by clicking the Draft Trail Strategy Document link also at the bottom of the right hand side bar of this page. Finally, the presentation can be viewed below:






If you have any questions, suggestions, or general feedback related to the Trail Strategy, we would love to hear from you!

Comments on this site are public, but any information you provide to us when signing up will be strictly confidential. Personal information is collected and managed in accordance with our privacy protocol (https://trca.ca/privacy-protocol/).
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Many youth spend much of their time on "screens" and do not spend enough time active, and often far too little time to be feel connected to the natural world. It is important to encourage them to be as active as possible. A great activity for the youth is riding in the forest. It is important that healthy outdoor activities remain as accessible as possible for youth. If they do not connect to the natural world, it is less likely that the next generation will feel the need to continue to support, though taxation and others. conservation efforts and possibly even conservation authorities.
It is important for some of these people that some remaining trails are very challenging and not necessarily suitable for easy family riding. Youth whose access to outdoor challenges is removed may end up doing other risky behaviour, or may end up spending all of their time gaming.
Please ensure that there is as much local access to challenging single-track mountain biking trails in each area as possible to that youth without cars may partake in mountain biking on a regular basis.
Jefferson Forest is an area in which I used to take my children for walks. Now I bike there regularly. There are many paths or trails that were used criss-crossing the area. Many of them are not used for mountain biking but are used for walkers. If it is necessary to reduce the trail density, there could be significant reductions without eliminating interesting mountain biking trails.

jfeder about 11 hours ago

Keep Jefferson Forrest mountain bike trails. One of the few places around Richmond Hill with good single track.

vc about 19 hours ago

Please do not remove the singletrack mountain biking trails. These trails are an essential part of community use of Jefferson Forest and and the oak ridges trail network. It attracts many people and is a community staple. The damage caused to the environment by the gravel road that was rammed through the Jefferson Forest outweighs the negligable impact of mountain bike trails. The bike trails follow the natural corridors and formation of the land. The bike trails are dirt and do not remove thousands of trees or the underlying loam. Conversely the gravel road cut down thousands of trees, it removed the loam, it created an unnatural barrier in the forest that would impact speciies like the Jefferson Salamander. Bike trails provide an important exercise and engagement activity for teenage boys, who are often left without any activities in the community.

milthorpe 1 day ago

Please do not remove the singletrack mountain biking trails. These trails are an essential part of Jefferson Forest and and the oak ridges trail network. It attracts many people and is a community staple.

TZ 1 day ago

I’m concerned about the reduction or elimination of single track mountain bike trails in Jefferson Forest. I’ve been riding these trails for decades.
Mountain biking is great physical activity, something that we should be encouraging especially given our increasingly sedentary lifestyle (especially amongst our youth).
Having these trails is also a significant boost to the local economy. The group we ride with always head to local establishments for food and drinks after riding. I'm sure many others do the same.

sparkyrobertson 1 day ago

I believe by preventing the use of mountain biking in this area on Crown Land would be a significant problem, both economically and in general for people in the town of richmonhill, Markham and vaughn. The reason I say this, many people who purchase bicycles at evolution cycles, the Velo Love, Silent Sports, Bike depot etc cycle at Jefferson forest. By preventing the actual mountain biking and instead creating a paved path, it would further alienate the mountain biking community. I think a good compromise would be to either get a professional trail crew like they do in the Don and have them create more sustainable trails if that is the goal, otherwise, leave the current mountain trails and let everything adapt to the current structure that is in place now. banning mountain biking would be a significant dis-service to the community as well as the forest.

M 2 days ago

More bike paths and trails please

pb 4 days ago

Having traveled fairly extensively and realized that some of the best areas I have been in have had walking and biking trails that connect different parts of the city and different cities. It is amazing to travel through nature to meet someone for lunch in a different part of town. Having well marked and connected natural areas can really change the experience of living/visiting a place. For example, it would be great to see the West Toronto Rail Path connect all kinds of places through side road, natural trail areas etc. Thanks.

Jup 4 days ago

I am Trail Director, and Chair of Trail Development and Maintenance for the Bruce Trail Conservancy. I am concerned that, in the Hills of Headwaters area, you are showing the present route of the Bruce Trail, which includes major sections on Escarpment Sideroad and Airport Rd, but there is no indication that this is NOT our desired future route. The BTC does not like to make its future Optimum Route public, because this sometimes offends landowners across whose land we hope to establish the trail. Nevertheless, I think TRCA should be aware that it is our intention in the future to have a trail on secured land, in a location different than shown on your map. We have already purchased a number of properties on the Optimum Route, to the north of Escarpment Sideroad and west of Airport Rd, but these have not yet been connected by trail. I would be happy to meet with you to discuss our future plans, and the best way in which they could be incorporated into your trail strategy.

Dave Moule 5 days ago

How about partnership with local mountain bike clubs to help build trails?

Belinda 8 days ago

I attended the open house yesterday evening. I was very pleased to see the plans. I had one concern as someone that uses the trails on a regular bases as a hiker. The shared paths often become dangerous/frustrating during the times of year when they become busy. It was not clear during the talk if there is a plan to have separate areas for cyclists and pedestrians on the trails. As the trails become busier, it is important that this separation exists preferable with a space between.

Hiker 9 days ago

Use trails and ravines in city for variety of rec activity and they continue to be a fantastic resource. expanding these beyond (and to connect) the city to the region will naturally drive up use, drive connection and build community.

john fleck 9 days ago

test feedback

corinnadarby 10 days ago
bkulba-3s77pbh 17 days ago

I have several specific suggestions for the proposed trails within the draft Trail Strategy. They have been compiled in a blog post here: https://metroscapes.ca/2018/12/21/regional-trail-strategy/

trevor.heywood 20 days ago

From Facebook: https://facebook.com/TorontoConservation/posts/10158020522418242?comment_id=10158023528713242&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R6%22%7D

Toronto park users are advocating for a strategy for dogs in public spaces, covering dog park design, location, multi-use off-leash areas, enforcement, the environment, stewardship and more. It would solve a lot of problems. Would this be something you might consider looking at at a larger scale? There will be dogs on all those trails and Toronto's urban areas are certainly getting "full". I think everyone in City of Toronto - Municipal Government and all users of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation would benefit. Waterfront Toronto parks, as well.

Check out these links. Some will lead to webpages. Others will download PDFs.

Surrey (big focus on environment):
https://www.surrey.ca/.../Dog_Off-Leash_Master_Plan_2012.pdf

Calgary (world leaders):
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s...

Vancouver (new, smart, based on two years of research):
https://vancouver.ca/park.../people-parks-dogs-strategy.aspx

Edmonton:
https://www.edmonton.ca/.../park.../dogs-in-open-spaces.aspx

Winnipeg (Canada's latest):
https://www.winnipeg.ca/.../OffLeashAreas/default.stm...

Prince George (great national review):
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s...

Seattle:
https://www.seattle.gov/.../PeopleDogsandParksPlan...

Strathcona County:
Background: https://www.strathcona.ca/.../at-pds-dol-phase1...
Consultation: https://www.strathcona.ca/.../at-pds-dol-phase2-cons-summ...
Strategy: https://www.strathcona.ca/.../at-pds-dol-strategy-final.pdf

Those are just a few.

Unfortunately, Toronto does not have a master plan or strategy for dogs in public spaces. Instead, we have a 6-page policy from 2010 that no longer meets the needs of our changing city. We have more resources and pressures than the municipalities above. Our parks are suffering and so are the people who use them. The best practices are already out there, waiting to be followed.

Toronto:
https://www.toronto.ca/.../8dd0-dogs-off-leash-policy...

Note, about a page of the Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan is allocated to Dogs Off-Leash Areas. However, even that says something. Our gravel pens are indeed facilities. The new ones don't even have trees. Outside Toronto, dog parks are, well, parks. Enjoyable ones, at that. And the thing is, enjoyable dog parks get used. It only makes sense to reward bylaw compliance to encourage responsible off-leash activity.

I know this comment is long and atypical, but please have a good look at these links. The room for improvement is significant and the need is real.

bkulba-3s77pbh about 1 month ago

We would love to have safe areas to hike with our dog off-leash.

Dpsyphr about 1 month ago

Hi,

Mountain biking trail/hiking trail maintenance /improvement and expansion around the Etobicoke Creek and centennial park area would be a huge asset. Mountain biking and fat biking is exploding in the GTA and there are limited options within city limits. The Etobicoke Creek ravine and by centennial area has a fantastic landscape for developing these trails, similar to the down valley. The GTA really lacks more "natural trails" for the more outdoorsy adventure population. There are significantly more paved trails...

Thanks,

Tom

ellscorcho about 1 month ago