News & Updates

Over 200 Conservation Area tribute benches invite you to take a seat

If you’ve ever sat down during one of your trips to an HCA Conservation Area, chances are you’ve sat down on one of the over 200 tribute benches donated through the Foundation. These benches are often dedicated in honour or memory of someone special.

Two years ago, with funding from the Federal Government’s Canada Summer Jobs program, the Foundation was able to hire two students to help improve our bench program.

Travelling from the Jerseyville end of the Hamilton-to-Brantford Rail Trail all the way out to Fifty Point and everywhere in between, the students catalogued all the benches, collecting location data and photographing the benches. From this, they developed the data into a map and database, highlighting benches that require maintenance attention.

Since then, Foundation staff have been reaching out to original donors and prioritizing repairs, which is still ongoing. In addition to installation of new benches that were dedicated in 2021-22, HCA staff repaired or replaced 12 benches last year, primarily at Webster Falls (Spencer Gorge Conservation Area) and the Hamilton-to-Brantford Rail Trail. Another round of repairs is in progress this year.

There continues to be an interest in bench dedications, and the mapping has helped Conservation Area staff identify where benches may be needed. Although Dundas Valley Conservation Area and the Hamilton-to-Brantford Rail Trail are fully subscribed for benches and we are not able to install any more benches in those locations, other Conservation Areas such as Christie Lake, Valens Lake, and Fifty Point, as well as the Chippawa Rail Trail have a number of possible bench sites identified.

The Foundation’s Tribute Bench program provides opportunities to pay tribute to a person or occasion with a bench. Whether placed in memory of a loved one, to commemorate the birth of a child, mark a milestone like an anniversary, graduation, or retirement, the benches create a lasting tribute and provide visitors to our conservation areas with a place to take a seat. To learn more about the Foundation’s bench program or other tribute giving options, please visit our Tribute Giving page.

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