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Our Centennial Legacy Projects

October 23, 2020
Carolyn Weatherson, club past president 2019-2020, and Jim MacKenzie, chair of our club's centennial committee, provided the following  update on our club's Centennial Legacy Projects with the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) and the City of Guelph.  
  • The Rotary Forest
  • The new Nature Centre
  • The Observatory and Planetarium
  • The Rotary Forest Trail
  • The Link Trail
The Rotary Club of Guelph's Centennial Legacy Project turns our 100-acre Rotary Forest into an exciting hub for the entire Guelph community.
It will clean our air, our water and capture carbon.  It promotes science and will be used to educate youth and all ages. It will provide opportunities for healthy active living for all ages and physical abilities.
Adds Jim: COVID-19 pushed the GRCA into lockdown and layoffs which impacted planned progress on our projects.  
For 13 years, we’ve been planting a wide variety of indigenous trees, shrubs and wildflowers to create a magnificent 100-acre forest by Guelph Lake. These groves have been thoughtfully planned out and envisioned, there’s a walnut grove, a special maple grove outlined in cedar in the shape of a maple leaf, a birch grove, a wildflower meadow and so on … all designed to be a magnificent lasting legacy enjoyed for generations while enhancing awareness about our natural world.
The GRCA’s new Nature Centre will be a gathering place for park visitors to take part in nature programs and access information. The Centre will have modern learning spaces for the 20,000+ young people who will benefit each year from hands-on programs. The large, open community room will be the main hub of activity in the nature centre and will be dedicated for all to see to the Rotary Club of Guelph Charitable Foundation.

The Rotary Centennial Observatory at Guelph Lake will be an ideal location for stargazing where everyone can broaden their minds and be inspired by the wonder of the universe. The observatory space will include 3 powerful telescopes.

The inflatable planetarium for the Nature Centre will promote STEM and be an awe-inspiring, portable, educational tool for all ages.

Great news! As of mid-October 2020, the Rotary Forest Trail is now open to the public!  It’s a fully-accessible all weather trail looping around our 100 acre forest that will support a range of activities all year round.  It will also connect the Rotary Forest with the future Nature Centre and observatory within the park. 

Adds Jim: This trail is not on GRCA property and is therefore FREE to the public.  

The second trail, the Link Trail, will provide further opportunities for active living for all ages and abilities. It will link the City-wide network to the lake, the Rotary Forest, the new nature centre, observatory & planetarium.

Adds Jim: The City is putting $158,000 towards this trail. The City and GRCA met recently to start looking at design requirements. 

The Centennial Project will be enjoyed for generations, long after each of us has left this earth it will live on, and be a healthy and uplifting resource without exclusion for every member of our community.  Numerous studies have shown that spending time in nature reduces stress, uplifts your mood, revitalizes, refreshes, and rejuvenates us - it is excellent and vital for human mental health. The Japanese even have a word for it: shinrin-yoku, which means nature soaking or forest bathing. When all your senses are immersed in nature,  it uplifts your spirit.