Click image below to view full-size pdf of original
Erie & Ontario Railway map

The legacy project: Upper canada heritage trail

The Legacy Project's Vision
  • Installation of two main or signature information signs at the key “ends” of the Upper Canada Heritage Trail.  The ends are identified at the King St. / John St. intersection and the “parking area” along York Rd. near the Concession 2 intersection.  Additional signage along the length of the corridor (at key points) could be installed.

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  • Partial restoration of the Upper Canada Heritage Trail between King/John intersection and East-West Line.  This restoration could involve resurfacing works in conjunction with additional signage.  


  • Potential ownership transfer of trail from Region to Town.  The Region still owns the section of the corridor between Line 9 and York Rd.   


  • An Ontario Heritage Act designation for the rail embankment at the York Rd. / Concession 2 intersection.  Other rail legacy works are already designated including the Dock Area engine house, turntable and culvert.  Remaining hardware along the corridor should be studied and if warranted, designated for commemoration and ongoing preservation.


  • Visioning Workshops – collaborative process involving the Town, residents, affected landowners, user groups, etc. to prepare a formal Vision for the trail.  This Vision would serve as the foundation for any action plan moving forward.   
Archival images of railway construction and map
Historical Significance

Created in 1854, this corridor linked the wharf in Old Town to Clifton and beyond; connecting the steamships from Toronto to Niagara Falls and the U.S.  It was a Town-sustaining force and a conduit for commerce, tourism, militia, agriculture and prosperity.  The Erie & Ontario Railroad was the first steam powered railway in Upper Canada.  The UCHT is an historical, distinct trail worthy of recognition and endurance.   


Issue

This 66 foot wide corridor may be legally intact but it is visibly broken and even unknown to many residents of Niagara-on-the-Lake.  The utilization of the trail has been compromised in the last few years by erosion and washout between Line 9 and York Road and in other sections by the unintended actions of adjacent landowners.  The overall integrity of the corridor is eroding due to an inability for people to use it.  Vegetation and grass are growing where people used to walk, run, cycle and ride horses.  The trail is losing its “visibility” in both a physical sense and in the overall consciousness of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake.

It is the only unimproved multi-use trail in the entire Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake; it offers a safe off-road cultural, agricultural and environmental experience as it winds through Old Town, the vineyards of the Greenbelt protected area and through the Niagara Escarpment between Queenston and St. Davids.  It encompasses the urban-suburban-rural transect as it connects the heritage of the dock area to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of the escarpment. As an historically significant corridor that is 162 years old, its commemoration on Canada’s 150th birthday seems timely and urgent. 

Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake

Celebration of Canada's 150th Birthday!

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