2021 Hike Series for New Canadians

“Thank you!!! The McIntosh Run was gorgeous, I have never loved a forest before. Each area was more beautiful than the other. You have an amazing job… it’s a beautiful forest and have done an awesome job with the trails for everyone to enjoy” (Jennifer, Arabic interpreter from Lebanon who attended every hike.)

MRWA has been collaborating with ISANS to host a series of hikes on the singletrack trails, with the aim of sharing our love of the outdoors and wilderness with new immigrants and refugees, and helping everyone feel welcome.

2021 was the second annual series, and featured five hikes of various lengths. Getting people outdoors and active has been especially important these past few years, but also extra challenging owing to changing public health rules. Thanks to ISANS and Elyse Quann (also a MRWA trail crew member) for helping to make these hikes happen.

A few cool details:

  • Groups ranged from 10 to 30 participants
  • Hikes were held across the singletrack system, from Norawarren, to Duck N Run, to Clark Kent
  • Plenty of different languages spoken, with the most common Farsi, Kurdish and Arabic (thank you to the translators, and to everyone for the good humour)
  • Groups were typically close to equal mix of male- and female- presenting people, and ages ranged from toddlers to grandparents on most hikes (we don’t record demographics, so this is observational)
  • Besides the hikes, activities ranged from “get to know you bingo” to “find the orange-jelly fungus”
  • Basic information about trail etiquette and safety is shared, eg. yielding, stay on trail.
  • Sometimes we learned other things.. such as “the sun goes down fast!” and “keeping 30 people together isn’t easy” :-)

Elyse sent a few photos from the hikes.