Feds and Whitby to spend $6.5 million to renovate Waterfront Trail


Published October 11, 2023 at 3:34 pm

Whitby’s Waterfront Trail is getting a makeover courtesy of a federal funding grant of $6.5 million.

Mayor Elizabeth Roy and MP Ryan Turnbull announced the funding in a press conference on Oct. 11. The trail through Whitby is part of the much larger 3,600-kilometre Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. This network runs along the lakeshore of all five Great Lakes from the Ontario-Quebec border to Thunder Bay.

Great Lakes Waterfront Trail map

A map of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail via Waterfront Trail.

The project will widen more than 600 metres of the asphalt trail and replace more than 150 metres of boardwalk and 80 meters of the pedestrian bridge. Upgrades will include regularly placed seating, rest and viewing areas, and wayfinding and interpretive signage.

“By widening the pathway and making improvements, the waterfront will accommodate locals and visitors of all ages and abilities safely.  The improved trail will create a safe and fun space for everyone — young people, adults, and seniors — to enjoy, while also encouraging everyone to get out, get active, and enjoy nature,” the government said in press release.

The federal government is spending just under $2,600,000 or about 40 per cent of the total bill and the town is investing the other 60 per cent of about $3,900,000.

“Canada is committed to making travel by active transportation easier, safer, and more convenient for Canadians. Improvements to the Waterfront Trail in Whitby will make the trail more welcoming for people of all ages and abilities. Whether by bike, walking, or rolling, the improved trail will encourage residents to enjoy the outdoors and be active,” Turnbull said.

According to Roy, the trail is a “popular attraction for residents and visitors who use it for sightseeing, walking, and biking. This funding from Infrastructure Canada will help ensure the trail continues to be a focal point of our waterfront, offering active transportation and recreation opportunities for Whitby and the many communities connected to us.”

The project is part of Canada’s National Active Transportation Strategy which “aims to create and improve pathways, bike lanes, and pedestrian bridges all over the country,” per the feds. “It’s a big step towards healthier living and creating tight-knit communities,” they continued.

The project will invest $400 million over five years on similar active transportation projects “to make travel by active transportation easier, safer, more convenient and more enjoyable.” This funding began in 2021.

The strategy is “the country’s first coast-to-coast-to-coast strategic approach for promoting active transportation and its benefits. The strategy’s aim is to make data-driven and evidence-based investments to build new and expanded active transportation networks and to create safe environments for more equitable, healthy, active and sustainable travel options to thrive.”



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