Representatives from all three levels of government joined the Foundation and HCA in unveiling the park and celebrating the EcoPark Campaign.
The site of the former Ben Veldhuis Ltd greenhouses was officially christened Canal Park on a hot Saturday morning during the Dundas Cactus Festival. The unveiling has been a long-time coming for the Dundas property. After years of demolition, cleanup, grading and planting, the property is now officially open to the public.
The event was also a celebration of the larger EcoPark Campaign to protect sensitive and diverse natural lands at the Hamilton end of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System. Over 100 acres have been protected through the campaign with help from the Royal Botanical Gardens. Donors to both the land acquisition and Canal Park projects were recognized on a plaque unveiled at the event.
While the park is now open to visitors, the site is still a work in progress in need of donations. Recently planted trees and shrubs are expected to grow and add to the park’s scenic beauty. A planned viewing shelter is also expected to begin construction next year to connect park visitors with the Desjardins Canal.
A 2015 volunteer event helped transform the Feeder Lands which will get extra attention once again this year.
A planting and guided hike planned for Saturday, October 1st at 10 am will showcase the diverse features of the Eramosa Karst Conservation Area and its newly protected Feeder Lands. Last fall, volunteers from the Friends of Eramosa Karst planted hundreds of trees on the edge of the Feeder Lands along Rymal Road. The plantings provide a buffer between the busy arterial road and protected meadow habitat. This year’s planting will help to strengthen that buffer.
The Feeder Lands, which form the headwaters of the streams in the Conservation Area, were originally slated for residential development before community pressure led to a long-term lease for the Hamilton Conservation Authority from the Ontario Realty Corporation. The guided hike will help to tell the story of the unique karst features and the diverse species which call the Conservation Area home.
Future plantings along the Feeder Lands are planned by the Friends of the Eramosa Karst which will host a community fundraising dinner on Saturday, February 25, 2017. Details will be posted on the Friends of the Eramosa Krast website as the event approaches.
Dozens of horses and equestrians camped out in the Dundas Valley Conservation Area in mid-August to raise funds for the area’s Trail Fund. Despite hot and sticky weather punctuated by a number of violent downpours, the event drew enthusiastic attendees from Sarnia to Belleville. The Valley’s trail system is known in the equestrian community to have some of the most scenic horse-friendly trails in Ontario.
Funds raised at the event help pay for new horse-friendly bridges and an extensive trail maintenance program which helps keep the 40 kilometre trail network accessible to equestrians, cyclists, joggers and hikers year-round through all kinds of challenges. The volunteer-driven event has been going since the early 1990s and has raised over $100,000 for the Dundas Valley Trails Fund through the years.