On a typical 2011 August day I walked the Millennium Trail. When I started out it was sunny and warm. I stopped at a favourite spot to read an interpretive sign. All of a sudden it started pouring.
Ah, just wait a few minutes and the weather will change. It did. As I finished my walk the sun was shining again.
I was not the only person on the trail that day. There was a young family – mum, dad and little toddler getting his walking legs; a man with shopping bags obviously using the trail to return to Riverdale from downtown; a dog walker (in fact, 14 walkers in all); two roller bladers; and nine bicycle riders.
If this was a regular afternoon, the Millennium Trail is a very successful addition to our community.
I like to think of the city as a house. Individual homes are rooms, the streets and roads hallways, and our natural walkways and beautiful landscape much the same as our house plants which help soothe the human spirit.
I like clean houses, as well, and was very pleased to see the Trail free of litter and dog doo. It is a testament to Whitehorse pride to keep the trail in a pristine condition.
Whitehorse residents can thank Father Jean-Marie Mouchet for the Millennium Trail. This multi-use, five kilometre-long non-motorized trail realizes a dream of Father Mouchet, who proposed the idea to city council as a 2000 millennium project.
Mouchet came to the Yukon in 1946 as an Oblate missionary. He introduced many young Yukoners to an active lifestyle through the TEST ski program.
Mouchet believed that a well-maintained trail in the heart of the city would provide an opportunity for all, regardless of ability, to get outdoors and be active.
I am enjoying the research I have started about the memorial benches along the trail. Thanks to all who have called so far. I am busy writing about many fine former Whitehorse residents.
At the same time I am fascinated with the newest addition to the trail.
The Edible Garden is a joint venture by Yukon College, Northern Climate ExChange, Canada Northern Strategy Trust, Yukon Research Centre of Excellence, City of Whitehorse and Riverdale Community Association.
Heidi Marion of Foodscrapers designed the garden and planted the vegetation. The result is a beautiful, horseshoe-shaped rock-pansy configuration with berry bushes interspersed.
The interpretive signage provides information about the six different edible berries – mooseberry, strawberrry, haskap, saskatoon, nagoonberry and pin cherry.
In response to concerns expressed by the Riverdale Community Association about food security in the North, the Edible Garden demonstrates that berries do grow here and the harvest can be used for pies, preserves and jams.
The hope is that it will encourage people to plant the berries in home gardens.
Not only can a person walk, run, roller blade or bike the wonderful Millennium Trail, there is a lovely garden to view and memorial benches the help keep alive the memories of past Whitehorse residents.
If my afternoon count of participants on the trail is an indication of its use, I believe Father Mouchet would know his goal is being met.