We Get Outside in Guelph

Dated: 05/19/2020

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We’ve all heard that getting outside is important for our mental and physical fitness. Have you considered that there is another benefit to getting outside which we don’t often hear about? A stroll around our neighbourhood, a wander along urban paths, or a hike on a rural trail on the outskirts of town can do wonders to strengthen your knowledge and connection to our community.Group Hike in Westminster Woods and Pine Ridge Subdivision #LoveGuelph

Time spent outside can take you along pathways through historical parts of our city that were (and still are) critical to giving Guelph a unique personality. You can also experience an almost hidden wilderness where plants and animals flourish just steps away from our busy roads, our schools and even our urban homes.  

Guelph's Preservation Park is a well-known natural oasis in the city. But did you also know the south-end communities of Pineridge, Westminster Woods, and Clairfields have a connected network of trails and greenways?  Known as the Westminister Woods Subdivision Wetlands, the trail system was designed to be a stormwater management area and to preserve some sensitive conservation lands. These outdoor spaces provide a flourishing habitat for flora and fauna that are as much a part of the community as any of the humans and domestic pets living in the suburban neighbourhoods. These trails allow urban hikers to walk for hours, leading them around a kettle lake and through wetlands and forests. Remnants of our rural past such as pioneer fences and stone walls can be found just off the trails. If you are fortunate and walking the trail at the right time of year, you may be able to pick fresh raspberries from long-abandoned vines or possibly spot a deer.  

I recently spent an hour on a portion of the Westminister Woods Subdivision Wetlands trail and experienced an incredible taste of the urban wildlife living there. Birds were singing, frogs were croaking and the breeze rustled the leaves of the tree canopy.  It was interesting to see how a modern subdivision used the natural environment for both practical reasons and recreation for the people living in the city.

In Guelph, we are fortunate to have access to the above-mentioned trails along with over 1000 hectares of parks and open space; 70+ km of trails and paths, two rivers and Guelph Lake which is maintained by Grand River Conservation Authority. The renowned University of Guelph Arboretum also offers an incredible natural space to anyone looking for a place to get a taste of nature. Ranging from maintained, stroller, and wheelchair friendly pathways to wilder trails left almost in their natural state, there is a get-outside option for everyone in our beautiful city.







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Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett knows Guelph as well as he knows his own backyard. In fact, you could say that this city IS Michael’s backyard. Born and raised here, Michael has developed a passion for Guelph, its ....

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