Thanks in part to the generous support of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport's Bike Parking Capital Funding Program, Niagara Parks has undertaken a series of cycling amenity improvements along the Niagara River Recreation Trail, designed to enhance and promote cycling tourism in Niagara and Ontario.
"These cycling enhancements will serve a wide range of cycling enthusiasts from novices to pros and will meet the needs of the growing tourism and recreational cycling communities," stated Janice Thomson, Chair of the Niagara Parks Commission. "These funds not only build upon the Ministry's Tour by Bike and province's #CycleON strategies, they also align with our own commitment to offering natural, inspiring, healthy and authentic visitor experiences, throughout the Niagara River corridor."
"From the stunning beauty of Niagara Falls and surrounding parklands to exceptional dining, golf courses, and restored heritage sites, Niagara Parks offers so much for visitors to experience. New and improved cycling infrastructures will now make it easier for people to choose clean and active transportation to explore this exciting destination and the surrounding area by bike. This investment is another example of our government's work to make Ontario a cycling leader in North America to grow tourism in our province," said Daiene Vernile, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
In total, $207,190 has been allocated to Niagara Parks in support of this initiative, which will result in the installation of over 40 new bike racks and 12 new bike repair stations, as well as, equipment lockers, water refill stations, bike lockers and additional waste receptacles, to be located at various sites from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake. The project also includes the installation of permeable surfaces, bollards and onsite lighting for greater rider safety, environmental stewardship and convenience at these new locations.
The objective of the Ministry's Bike Parking Capital Funding Program is to increase bicycle ridership to support provincial tourism and culture agencies and attractions. Niagara Parks has become a key destination for cyclists, offering the 54-kilometre Niagara River Recreation Trail, which spans the entire length of the Niagara River corridor from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.
The Recreation Trail boasts gardens, recreation, hiking, bouldering, golf courses, restaurants, heritage and historic sites, gift shops and, of course, Niagara Falls. The Recreation Trail also serves as a connection point to adjacent destinations including wine routes, the escarpment, vibrant towns and villages, rural landscapes and urban centres. Quite literally, something for everyone to enjoy.
Since its establishment in 1986, Niagara Parks and the Niagara River Recreation Trail have become a key partner and signature route with other trail associations, such as the Greater Niagara Circle Route, the Waterfront Trail, the 475-kilometre Greenbelt Route and the Trans Canada Trail.
Other important cycling initiatives with which Niagara Parks is involved, include the annual Ride to Conquer Cancer and Ontario Waterfront Trail rides, as well as the newly established promotional partnership with Metrolinx formed in 2017, to support the growing number of cyclists taking advantage of the summer bike-friendly GO Train service to Niagara.