Summer 2023 marks the launch of two new Footprints In Time (FIT) Trails at Bonnechere Park, specifically designed to provide outdoor opportunities for those living with accessibility issues including mobility challenges, low vision and hearing loss.
Thanks to funding from the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the Friends of Bonnechere Parks (FBP) is spearheading this $340,000-project comprising a new 0.3 km FIT Trail at the waterfront and a second 0.8 km FIT Trail near the park entrance.
“Support for the Friends of Bonnechere Parks, has helped them to enhance their tourism attractions, create new trails specifically for people with accessibility needs, share knowledge and experiences, and prepare for a strong future,” said the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. “With an investment of more than $120 million for the southern Ontario tourism sector, our government has been making smart investments that put people first and grow local economies that work for everyone. These new trails will allow families to spend time outdoors and experience beautiful, accessible parks and learn more about the history of the Indigenous peoples of the area.”
Working with Algonquin Elder Aimee Bailey, the FBP chose trail names from the traditional Anishinabemowin language. The waterfront trail has been named the Nàdòbìkana FIT Trail, pronounced nah-doh-bee ka-na, which translates to a trail used to get water or sap. The woodland trail up near the gate house is called Nòpiming, pronounced noh-pi-ming, which describes an inland trail; in the woods or in the bush.
The Nòpiming FIT Trail focuses on the Algonquin People, the original custodians of Turtle Island (North America). Visitors will learn about the importance of land acknowledgement, traditional hunting practices, invasive species and plants and pollinators. A full-size medicine wheel complete with accessible seating provides a quiet respite.
Interpretive content along the Nàdòbìkana FIT Trail features the discovery of a Woodland Era pot, the natural diversity of the mouth of the Little Bonnechere River, land use management supporting ecological integrity, and regional travel and trade through the ages. A new barrier free washroom is located at the head of the Nàdòbìkana FIT Trail. Accessible parking spots are available at both trailheads.
The new Pimosedà App provides access to enhanced online content, while the BlindSquare Event App is a free navigational tool for those living with low vision or blindness. Both apps are available for free download at each trailhead, or in advance wherever there is wifi access. Remote visitors can also use the Pimosedà App to tour the trail online.
All interpretive content on signs and in the Pimosedà App is available in English, French and Anishinabemowin. BlindSquare navigational content is available in English and French.
To learn more, browse TRAILS.
Photo: Acting Assistant Park Superintendent Randy Chaffer, and FBP accessibility consultant Allison Draves assessing the Nàdòbìkana FIT Trail during construction, April 2023.