No one can say for sure what Prince Township will look like in 25 years, but judging from the August turnout at Gros Cap Marina Park to celebrate Canada 150 along The Great Trail, Joanie McGuffin expects it to be a magnet for visitors craving some ecotherapy.
“What you have uniquely in this township is that, on The Great Trail across Canada, you have hiking, cycling and paddling, and that’s a pretty neat package of things to do here,” said McGuffin, who doubles as the administrator of the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy.
TCT Ontario will partner with Prince Township to assemble a Time Capsule, a project funded in part by the Province of Ontario and Ontario150
The capsule – a sturdy metal box – will be filled with documents, photos and keepsakes, all specially prepared to resist deterioration. Its exterior will be coated with a waterproof substance. The capsule will be buried two feet underground in an unmarked spot, whose GPS co-ordinates will be recorded and kept at the township office.
It will remain untouched until 2042.
McGuffin also told council she’s confident that Gros Cap Marina Park will see an influx of low-impact tourism long before 2042. “Prince Township is absolutely on the radar in southern Ontario with its accessibility dock,” she said, referring to a design feature of the dock that enables individuals with mobility issues to transfer safely from wheelchairs to watercraft and back.
The park’s other amenities include picnic tables, a composting toilet, a dog waste bit, bear-proof garbage and recycling bins, and a signage kiosk, all purchased by the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy, with funding from Trans-Canada Trail National, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the TD Bank, Tourism Northern Ontario, and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp.
The Prince Township road crew landscaped the grounds and built wheelchair accessible paths. The next addition, McGuffin said, will be a secure storage locker for canoes and kayak and she’d like to see someone bring in a food truck. But that’s just the beginning, she hopes.
“We’re trying to connect the water trail economically with the community. I want to see a Voyageur canoe down there, and guides hired locally, and the Boots ’n Saddles so busy it can’t (keep up)” she said. “You have a gold mine down there.”
After the presentation, Prince CAO Peggy Greco thanked McGuffin and Sharmina Yasmin, the township’s special projects intern, for their teamwork in organizing the Aug. 26 event, which was also funded by TCT.
“It was a fabulous, fabulous day,” Greco said. “A lot of people asked if we could do it again, so I think our recreation committee chair should be looking at that.”