The Britannia Winter Trail is now open. Come and try it out!
Join us for the Official Opening on Feb. 16th. Activities start at 11:30 am.
Ribbon cutting with special guests at 1 pm
You can also enjoy the Winter Garden Party at Ron Kolbus from 11:30 am to 2 pm.
What is it?
The Britannia Winter Trail (BWT) will be a groomed multi-purpose winter trail designed for enjoyment and accessibility by the communities and schools in our area, and to enhance the National Capital winter experience for Ottawa. The opening of the groomed trail is planned for February 2020.
This multi-use urban trail will be a welcoming and inclusive to all forms of winter activity, be it cross-country skiing, winter biking, snow shoeing, or walking! This is an opportunity for everyone to get out into the fresh air during the snowy months and to promote winter active living.
Based out of Britannia Park’s Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre, the trail will extend east along the Great Trail (Trans Canada) to the Parkway and west to the Belltown Arena.
The salt-free trail respects the environmental sensitivities of the area: it will not include any grooming of the Britannia Conservation Area of Mud Lake.
The planned route for 2020 provides about 6 km of trail. We hope to link with the Sir John A. Macdonald (SJAM) Winter Trail in the future.
Why groom snow?
Snow creates both opportunities and difficulties for accessible winter outdoors activity. Deep snow can make it a lot harder to walk, ski, bike, or even snowshoe.
A compacted and groomed winter trail is much more practical and enjoyable for moving on the snow. It also brings the accessibility and enjoyment of the trail to a broader range of abilities.
Who can use the trail?
All non-motorized users are welcome as per the NCC and City bylaws. There is no cost for using the trail.
Walkers, skate skiers, snowshoers, winter cyclists, and sleds should stay in the middle part of the trail, out of the classic ski tracks.
Sit-skiers on adaptive sleds are welcome to use the classic tracks. This is to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
It would be appreciated if winter cyclists use the bikes with the wider tires (4” or more) at lower pressure (10 psi or less). This increases safety for all and your enjoyment, and it reduces deep gouging of the trail.
Dogs are welcome on the trail. They should be on leash with responsible owners who are considerate of multi-use safety and courtesy. Please observe the same poop “stoop and scoop” and carry out practice that is done at any time of the year.
Who will be organizing and grooming the trail?
The Britannia Winter Trail Association (not-for-profit) is a group of keen volunteers who are working to bring the groomed trail to reality.
For 2020, grooming will be mostly provided by professional ski grooming services as the association does not yet have the funds for all the equipment required. In this first season of operation, with limited funds and experience, we will not be able to provide the frequency or quality of grooming that we would like, but we will improve as we learn and increase our capacity.
This effort has received great encouragement and support from Bay Ward Councillor Theresa Kavanagh, The City of Ottawa, the NCC, the Britannia Village Community Association, the Belltown Neighbours Association, Queensway Terrace North Community Association and the Lincoln Heights Parkway Community Association.
Who pays for the grooming?
The Britannia Winter Trail Association (BWTA) has received start-up funding to run a small-scale pilot in February 2020. The City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission, and a number of individuals have contributed to this effort.
The BWTA has created a GoFundMe page to allow those of you who wish to contribute to be able to do so. More details are provided on the BWTA Facebook group, Britannia Winter Trail. We want to have the funds to move beyond a pilot to a great and sustainable winter trail experience for our communities.