Friday, August 25, 2017

Tour York Region's gems with Greenbelt Explore online maps

Greenbelt Explore is a new online tool which allows cyclists and hikers to customize routes and tours.

Community 09:00 AM by Amanda Persico Aurora Banner
Cycle York Region
Greenbelt Explore is a new online tool, which allows cyclists and hikers to customize routes and tours thoughout York Region. Clockwise from top left, cyclists can tour 
1) The Holland Marsh and see one of the York Region's hidden gems. (Photo courtesy Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation).
2) Whitchurch Robinson Tract (Photo courtesy Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority)
3) The Village Roundabout tour that takes cyclists through quaint Main Street Schomberg. (Photo coutesy Country Lane Treasures).
4) Home to 99 Steps, Thornton Bales is a challenging and rewarding hike that showcases a variety of headwater types, nestled in King Township. (Jim Craigmyle Photography). - Submitted Photos

There’s plenty to see in York Region — sometimes you just have to stop and take a look.
Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation are making it easier to explore the Greenbelt as it ripples through York Region.
Greenbelt Explore is a new online tool which allows cyclists and hikers — for the novice and experienced alike — to customize routes and tours.
With a collection of different itineraries and tourist attractions, Greenbelt Explore encourages residents to get out of their cars and experience the best nature has to offer, from beaches and hiking to beer and local food experiences.

“We want people to get out of their cars and make contact with nature,” said Susan Murray, communications and operations vice president with Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.

“The itineraries provide the best of nature that’s protected. It’s the best of what already exists.”
As a cyclist herself, Murray has been working on the online collection for the last several years.

With thousands of points of interest and pins on a map, there is something for everyone — on-road routes and child- and family-friendly trials.
And it’s all curated and mapped with a click of a button.
“We wanted to do the work for people,” Murray said. “It’s about a curated Greenbelt experience and the experience of place.”

There’s no better way to experience this great place than on a bike, said Shawn Smith, active and sustainable transportation manager for York Region.
“You see a lot more on a bike than in a car,” said the avid cyclist from Vaughan. “On a bike, you use all your senses. You can feel the hills, feel the wind on your face.”
There are more than 470 kilometres contained within in the Oak Ridges Moraine, and about 70 km of those are in York Region.
There are several unique Greenbelt routes and tours in the region featuring quaint small-town charm, rich agricultural history, forest trails, and wildlife.
The Tour de Holland comes highly recommended.

“It’s a unique agricultural area,” Smith said. “When riding through, there is rich, dark soil on either side. You can’t find that elsewhere.”

For more information or to start planning your customized tour, visit

There are several unique routes and tours in York Region:
Village Roundabout — a 59 km moderate to advanced cycling loop which travels through Schomberg, Kleinberg, and Kettleby, giving cyclists a scenic tour filled with quaint small-town charm. 
Tour de Holland loop  — a 68 km advanced cycling loop which travels along the rolling rural hills of King Township through to the rich agricultural and farms lands of the Holland Marsh.
Thornton Bales Greenbelt walk — a 1.2 km moderate hike featuring the infamous 99 Steps and showcasing a number of headwater types.
Whitchurch Robinson tract — a 4.4 km easy hike showcasing low forest trails and plenty of signs of wildlife.
Saints and Sinners — a multi-day 595 km trip that starts in Bradford and travels through Georgian Bay, home to a number of breweries, wineries, and cider houses.

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