Canada turns 150 years old on July 1, 2017. To celebrate this amazing birthday The Avon Trail hosted a 150 km multi-day hike. Walkers completing THE CANADA 150 CHALLENGE will receive a special badge to mark the occasion.
Dates: June 10, 2017 to June 16, 2017
Tour start/end: Stratford, Ontario
Average daily distance: 22 km
Pace: moderate 3.5 km per hour
- walk along the Grand River
- walk the entire Avon Trail
- historical settlements
- beautiful Ontario farmland
- receive a special commemorative badge
- be one of the first to walk a new Avon Trail section
Over the 150 km we will complete a stretch of the Grand Valley Trail and walk the whole length of the Avon Trail. After a shuttle from Stratford on June 10, 2017 we will set off from near Belwood, Ontario. On June 16th we will arrive in beautiful St Marys, Ontario.
We will spend our first night on the trail in charming Elora, dining at a restaurant perched on the edge of the Grand River. Other than that first night, Avon Trail volunteers will get us daily to trailheads and back to Stratford in the late afternoon. A minimum of two Certified Hike Leaders will lead our expedition and we will walk together so that we all arrive safely at the end to enjoy a celebratory meal with new friends.
Among others, our walk will take us through or past these points of interest: Fergus, Elora, the Grand River; the covered bridge in West Montrose; the Blackberry campus; St Jacobs Market; an Amish farmyard; a brand new wooded section of the Avon Trail near Amulree; the oldest forest plantation in the province; Wildwood Conservation Area and a Grand Trunk Railway bridge over the Thames River. We
end our trek near two massive decommissioned quarries.
Space is limited. Participation is limited to 22 walkers so book early to ensure your place. You don’t want to miss the experience of this unique commemorative journey!
- Seven days guided hiking
- Daily shuttles to hike’s start and from hike’s finish
- One riverside dinner in Elora
- One night in Elora (double occupancy)
- One breakfast at t• he Box Social, Elora
- One packed lunch
- Commemorative CANADA 150 CHALLENGE badge
- Travel tip pack including “What to wear”, “What’s in my pack” and “Road walking survival guide.”
- Lunches on day 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
- Celebratory meal & drinks at Little Red’s, St. Marys
- Walker’s clothing & equipment
Cost: $259.00 per person (double occupancy). Each participant will receive a tax receipt for $50.00
FULL ITINERARY – THE CANADA 150 CHALLENGE
June 10, 2017 – Saturday
After assembling in Stratford, leaving any overnight bags with a volunteer, we will be transferred to our trailhead south of the village of Belwood. This first day will see us follow the Grand Valley Trail into the 184-year-old town of Fergus where we join the Grand River. We will follow the river through the parks of Elora and continue southwards and will end the day at Wilson Flats. We will be shuttled to our hotel in Elora, where we rejoin our overnight bags, have a quick clean up and off to dinner. Our restaurant is on the edge of the River and if the weather is fine, we can dine outdoors. 21 km
June 11, 2017 – Sunday
This is a walking holiday and first thing in the morning, after leaving our overnight bags with a volunteer, we will walk to the Box Social restaurant for a substantial breakfast. From there we will then be shuttled back to Wilson Flats and commence day two. Still following the GVT and the Grand River, alternating between riverside walking and road walking, we cross the Kissing Bridge Trailway, visit the village of West Montrose and its covered bridge, and continue south to the village of Conestogo. Here we leave the GVT and join the Avon Trail. Now walking westwards we arrive at the north end of Waterloo and the end of our second day. We will then be shuttled back to Stratford where our overnight bags are waiting. 25 km
June 12, 2017 – Monday
We assemble again in Stratford and shuttle back to the north end of Waterloo. We will walk for a while along the Conestogo River and moving westwards will pass the St Jacobs Market and move into farmland. Surprisingly, after walking through a sugar bush, we find ourselves in suburbia, but it is only a brief bit and we continue into less populated Southern Ontario farmland. On our way we’ll pass a wonderful viewpoint overlooking Sunfish Lake and traverse the gorgeous Schneider and Musselman Woods. We end our day at the Josephsburg crossroads and will be shuttled back to Stratford. 24 km
June 13, 2017 – Tuesday
After assembling in Stratford, we shuttle back to Josephsburg and commence day 4! We have a fair piece of road walking at first and then we arrive at the “half-way” point of our trek. Soon we cross the Nith River and enter a fine unbroken stretch of walking path that includes several newly blazed paths. Lisbon Cemetery may be a nice spot for a later lunch. Wood lots, fields, marshes and gently rolling terrain all add up to a perfect day’s walk. We finish the day at Amulree where we will be shuttled back to Stratford. 24 km
June 14, 2017 – Wednesday
The shuttles are getting shorter now and we are off for Day 4! Today we continue along the Avon Trail, along the edges of cultivated fields and along a good example of volunteer work: the Avon Trail boardwalk through cedar bush. We may meet some dairy cows or sheep or long horned cattle today and we will cross the Avon River as we near to Stratford. We carry on westwards then pass south of Stratford and end our day at Harmony where a short shuttle returns us to Stratford. 22 km
June 15, 2017 – Thursday
Returning by a short shuttle ride to Harmony, a bit of road walking gets us to beautiful stretch of woodlot and we cross the “telephone pole bridge” constructed by Avon Trail volunteers in 2016. Shortly after the bridge we enter the oldest tree plantation in Ontario and join Trout Creek. We’ll have some road walking then enter what many consider the most beautiful section of forest along the Avon Trail. We’ll pass a horse paddock and after a little more farm walking and some more forest walking we will arrive at Wildwood Conservation Area and the end of day. Shuttle back to Stratford will be a little earlier today! 18.5 km
June 16, 2017 – Friday
One final shuttle ride to a trailhead and our final day of THE CANADA 150 Challenge. The walk on the north side of Wildwood Lake meanders through lovely woods and offers a viewpoint of a rehabilitated quarry. Once again after our bucolic hike we are bit surprised to find ourselves in housing, this time a trailer park but soon enough we walk under highway #7 then pass the foot of Wildwood dam, a sulphur spring, cross Trout Creek twice, view a decommissioned railway station and find our way into St Marys. We’ll walk out onto the out of service Grand Trunk Railway bridge high over the Thames River, then descend to the riverside walkway, past charming downtown St Marys with its bridges and opera house and finish our expedition at two water filled and decommissioned Quarries which marks the start of the Avon Trail (the end for us!) This is not quite the end, however, as we will still have a 15 minute walk over to Little Red’s where we will have snacks and a libation to celebrate both our shared accomplishment and Canada’s upcoming sesquicentennial! Shuttle back to Stratford.