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New signage will direct cyclists through Holland Marsh

Signs advertising the Tour De Holland will soon spring up throughout the marsh
Sample signage provided to councillors for the Tour De Holland wayfinding signs to be installed in Bradford West Gwillimbury

More cyclists could soon be rolling through the Holland Marsh.

Bradford West Gwillimbury councillors agreed to install wayfinding signs for the Tour De Holland, a cycling route between King City and Bradford. The 68 km route will wind its way through the Holland Marsh, with links to the GO train stations in each municipality.  

The route would enter Simcoe County at the Sideroad 20 from Highway 9 in Schomburg, travelling to Line 3. From there, it would continue to Line 5, before reaching Canal Road. Once on Canal Road, it would travel to Pumphouse Road before reaching the York-Simcoe boundary.

Mayor Rob Keffer was eager to support the route, lauding the scenic views cyclists would enjoy along their journey.

“It’s good to have them in our area and be able to enjoy the countryside,” he said. “I think this will be a great tourist opportunity to let people know about Bradford West Gwillimbury.”

Deputy Mayor James Leduc acknowledged that while sometimes motorists can get upset with “cycle gangs,” on the roads, he too was in complete support of the initiative and where it would be located.

“This is a great opportunity for us to promote cycling,” he said.  “It’s great for the Marsh. I don’t think the cyclists bother the farmers that much. It’s not speeding vehicles pushing the tractors off the road.”

The Tour De Holland route was first established in York Region in 2016 and has been included in its Cycling Tour Map, as well as promoted by several provincial tourist organizations. Adding signage to the route was one of the recommendations made in King Township’s recently finalized Active Transportation Strategy.

In total, 22 signs would be placed in Bradford West Gwillimbury. There would be no costs associated with the actual signs, only their installation, as the signs are provided through the Greenbelt Connector Program.

The Tour De Holland would be the first connection to the Greenbelt Route for Simcoe County. The Greenbelt Route currently stretches from Niagara to Northumberland County and is comprised of 475 km of signed trails for cyclists.

Coun. Mark Contois was also on board with the proposal but didn’t want the town to face any extra liability should something happen to a cyclist while riding on the route. Clerk Rebecca Murphy assured him that wouldn’t be the case.

“There’s no increase in liability,” she said. “It’s just the standard use of our public highways…we do have to be aware of multiple users of our highways. The thing with bicyclists, or promoting any of those things, we do have to be aware that they are being used by those users and that our highways have to be maintained for that purpose.”

King Township, York Region and Simcoe County had all previously provided their support to the project, which Bradford West Gwillimbury councillors also endorsed unanimously. Coun. Gary Lamb just hoped the cyclists behaved themselves.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” he said. “I would hope that they follow the rules of the road because cars and tractors are supposed to as well.”