The latest guide book is 2006
; there are no hard copies available at present. Apparently an online version is being prepared.
I still use my 2001
edition and check the website for trail changes
The guide has excellent descriptions of the flora and
fauna you might expect at certain sections. It also has good maps.
Gould Lake on a wet
day, April 1, 2009, with ice still on the lake. The rain was
steady all day, it was a bit chilly, everything glistened with wet
beauty — a perfect
day for a walk. With warm dry clothes, a bit of a lunch and a comfort
of your choice (we like cider) what more could a walker want?
1971, Doug Knapp proposed a hiking trail to the Kingston Field
Naturalists, to run to the north of the city. The idea expanded to run
a trail all the way from Kingston to Ottawa.
Two public meetings were
held in Kingston and Ottawa respectively and the idea was
In March of the same year, some
university students heard of the proposal and suggested the trail be
built over one summer, using an "Opportunities for Youth" grant. These
were federal grants made by the Liberal government of Pierre Trudeau in
which thousands of young people were employed doing all manner of
things. (I know: My wife, Carol, and I started the Double
Touring Theatre in Peterborough Ontario and I and nine others got $90 a
week to put theatre on in the area. Unfortunately, we didn't get a
double-decker bus. Close, though.)
Back then, grants were much
more easily approved and all sorts of fine community work was done. The
Rideau Trail Association was set up, with committees in Kingston,
Ottawa and Smith Falls.
In mid-May, 1971, 27 students began building the
trail, with volunteer route and negotiation committees working to keep
up with them.
The Marion Webb Boardwalk on in the Gould Lake
Conservation Area. I do go on about it, but I love this
section and the associated blue trails. Between Gould
and Frontenac Park just to the north, it's a walker's dream.
By June an inaugural hike was held in the Gould
Lake Conservation Area north of Sydenham (still one of the best
sections of the trail I have encountered so far, and overall one of the
best trails in southern Ontario). A continuous trail was set up by the
end of August.
The opening ceremonies were held north of
Westport at the Foley Mountain Conservation Area in November of 1971.
The trail association
already had about 250 members at the time.
There are three clubs associated with the trail. Members organize trail
and other walking events throughout the year.
The three clubs are Ottawa central (Perth) and Kingston. Check out the
association's site for specific information. The club has about 1,200
It's not all nature: there are
plenty of discarded bits and pieces of buildings
and machinery along the way. This Volkswagon bus has long
ago seen its last days
on the road and grazes peacefully in a field just north of McIvor
(This information —
except for the stuff about me, which the guidebook inextricably left
out — is drawn from page one of the 2001 guidebook and from the
association's web page.)
Map - Kingston to Frontenac Provincial Park
of the Trail: