Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 18, 2024
15° Cloudy

One Long Park

Community celebration commemorates the work and the workers that have transformed a ragged former rail line into a 46-kilometre linear park
<p>The Legacy of Barry Davidson was honoured at a Millennium Trail celebration event May 2. PEC Trails Committee member Pat Maloney called Mr. Davidson the &#8220;Heart and soul&#8221; of the trail. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
The Legacy of Barry Davidson was honoured at a Millennium Trail celebration event May 2. PEC Trails Committee member Pat Maloney called Mr. Davidson the “Heart and soul” of the trail. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

The legacy of the father of the modern Millennium Trail loomed large over a bittersweet revitalization celebration in Wellington early this month.

The late Barry Davidson, also known as the father of the Millennium Trail, died April 4, just one week after being awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

The medal is Canada’s highest honour for volunteers, and is presented by the office of the Governor General. Aside from the Trail, Mr. Davidson worked with and supported PECSyria, the Wellington Food Bank, the Wellington Rotary Club, and Hospice Prince Edward, to name but a few of the organizations that benefitted from his strength of spirit.

The soft-spoken man had the vision and the dedication to see the Millennium Trail project through from beginning to very near the end. Before Mr. Davidson’s involvement, lengthy sections of the trail were barely passable for the average cyclist or walker in tennis shoes. Now, the whole, long trail is accessible and easily traversed by anyone.

To celebrate the accomplishment, the Prince Edward County Trails Committee invited trail users, ambassadors, volunteers and municipal representatives for a casual trail ride and walk from the Belleville Street.

The trail trekkers gathered at Highline Hall for a festive celebration
to commemorate the work that has transformed
a ragged former rail line into a 46-kilometre linear park,
one of the County’s special assets,
precious to residents and visitors alike.

The trail trekkers then gathered at Highline Hall for a festive celebration to commemorate the work that has transformed a ragged former rail line into a 46-kilometre linear park, one of the County’s special assets, precious to residents and visitors alike.

PEC Trails Committee member Rob Legge recalled it was a cold day in February 2017 when the municipality and the Committee announced plans to “upgrade” the Millennium Trail. A long and laborious six-year journey has created a smooth and flat multi-use trail enjoyed by cyclists, walkers and ATVers in the summertime and cross-country skiers, those with snowshoes, and snowmobiles in the winter.

While the Trails Committee is not declaring work on the trail finished, the volunteer body gathered to recognize and celebrate everything completed to date.

The Trail’s Heart and Soul

PEC Trials Committee member Pat Maloney called Mr. Davidson “the heart and soul of the trail.” Trail ambassador Ron Waslenko, who represents the local ATV group, recalled Mr. Davidson’s ability to work dutifully and diligently during the brushing preparations even in the highest summer heat and suggested the trail should bear his name as a memorial.

Mayor Steve Ferguson noted Mr. Davidson’s enduring contributions to the revitalization project and noted how volunteer efforts, donations, and grant funding in the amount of $600,000 had transformed the trail into one of Prince Edward County’s cherished assets.

“The Millennium Trail is a joy and everyone gathered here today should be proud of what’s gone into its rehabilitation and what it has become today. This has been an extraordinary achievement.”

The Environmental Services and Sustainability Supervisor, Albert Paschkowiak, noted the high level of engagement of the volunteer Committee. That care and dedication, he said, makes the trail special.

“This trail, in my mind, connects Prince Edward County physically, socially and culturally.”

Future plans

Further work on the trail involves spreading gravel from the trail’s terminus at Lake Street westward to Bloomfield. Chair of PEC Trails Gregor Stuart said development near the trail in Wellington in the coming months and years would interfere with the integrity of the trail, which PEC Trails pledged to ensure was returned to its optimal state once completed.

“You can count on us to stay on top of the County.”

Space for additional kiosks, new signage to help make road crossings safer and ways to connect to other trails across the island are some of the longer term goals for the PEC Trails Committee.  

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 19 edition of The Picton Gazette
Spread the Word

Keep in Touch

Share your email address with us to receive our weekly newsletter and exclusive content direct to your inbox.

We will not share your email without your permission.

Advertisement

Sitemap

Canada’s oldest weekly newspaper
© 2024 The Picton Gazette
Since 1830
Funded by the Government of Canada
Ontario Community Newspapers Association