Voyageur Cycling Route
The Véloroute Voyageur Cycling Route is Ontario’s next major cycling tourism experience spanning over 630-km from Sudbury to the National Capital Region. Following the path of the Voyageurs over 400 years ago along three heritage waterways and 200-km of the Trans Canada Trail, the Route celebrates a national significance experienced at a human-powered pace. With a strong Francophone culture within many of the communities along the Route and direct connections to Quebec’s La Route Verte, the Véloroute Voyageur has the potential to serve as a major attraction to a diversity of market segments.Full album here
The vision is that the Voyageur Cycling Route will become part of the foundational provincial cycling network with direct connections to the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, the Georgian Bay Cycling Route, and the National Capital Region.
The Véloroute Voyageur supports the goal of the Province to establish Ontario as a premier cycle tourism destination while creating healthy, active and prosperous communities. Development of the Route encourages regional cooperation to expand and diversify provincial tourism offerings and increase tourism visitation. The Route will enrich the quality of life in Northeastern Ontario communities through environmentally sustainable economic opportunities while promoting awareness and behavioural shifts, improving cycling infrastructure and making highways and streets safer.
In 2015, the Voyageur Cycling Route Feasibility Study and Implementation Plan was completed for the 380km northeast arm of the route. The study identified the benefits to local communities such as increased tourism, infrastructure investment, improved recreational opportunities and greater community connectivity. The report confirmed the preferred route alignment and estimated the level of funding required to implement the route across northeastern Ontario.
Working under the direction of a stakeholder-based working group, Discovery Routes Trails Organization has assumed the role of coordinating agency for the implementation of the Véloroute Voyageur / Voyageur Cycling Route. Keeping in line with the long-term vision of the Voyageur Cycling Route to create a continuous cycling route to Ottawa to close an essential gap in the provincial cycling network, Discovery Routes has developed a partnership with the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance and Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Network partners to coordinate cycling route expansion across Eastern Ontario.
Over the summer and fall of 2017, the work plan involves:
Marketing and Awareness
- With funding support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, a Mobile Workshop took place September 19-22, 2016 to test ride of the route between Mattawa and Coniston (avoiding sections of Highway 17). Route Evaluation reports were completed for all road authorities along the route including municipalities and the Ministry of Transportation. A summary of the Evaluation Report is available to download.
- The first edition of detailed route maps for the Northeast arm were used to navigate during the Mobile Workshop in September 2016. They are available for review, but require editing based on feedback received during the Mobile Workshop.
- Discovery Routes and partners will work to build and expand the Ontario by Bike Network to include more tourism businesses and attractions to register as bicycle-friendly
- A Marketing Plan is needed now as the route is becoming established with signage and infrastructure improvements. Funding to support marketing efforts is a priority.
- In consultation with road authorities, roadway trail signage guidelines consistent with the relevant Ontario Traffic Manuals have been developed and incorporated into the existing Discovery Routes regional Trail Signage Program.
- The first wave of wayfinding signage along 208-km of the route was installed in 2017.
- In support of communities along the route developing their regional bicycle tourism product, information kiosks with bicycle supports including bike fix work stands and air pumps have been installed in St. Charles, Noelville, Lavigne, and Sturgeon Falls. Communities to the east will have their kiosks installed in the Spring of 2018.
With funding support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Voyageur Cycling Route southeast expansion will include:
- Establishing a Voyageur Cycling Route Southeast Expansion steering committee to oversee route expansion through the Ottawa Valley
- Community and stakeholder consultation to determine preferred route alignment between Mattawa and Ottawa through Renfrew and Lanark counties
- A route study to determine required cycling facility improvements along the route east of Mattawa
- Development of an implementation plan
- Evaluation of cycling rates on the route prior to implementation and promotion of the Voyageur Cycling Route to measure changes in frequency of cycling subsequent to implementation
- Evaluation of physical activity levels of individuals to demonstrate an increased participation in an active lifestyle
A dedicated webpage has been developed to track progress of the expansion.
PROJECT AND FUNDING PARTNER: