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Kanata Nordic and Wesley Clover Parks Working Together to Build a Destination Nordic Ski Centre for the National Capital
By:  Kanata Nordic   (2015/01/06)


OTTAWA, 6 January 2015 — Two Kanata-based organizations that promote outdoor recreation and healthy lifestyles have partnered to create a full-service Nordic ski centre. That’s good news for all outdoorsy types living in the city -- less time traveling to find trails, more time for the fun stuff.

In 2013 the Wesley Clover Foundation took over the former Nepean Equestrian Park and the adjacent Ottawa Municipal Campground to establish Wesley Clover Parks (or ‘The Parks’) at the combined site.Kanata Nordic Ski Club is based at the YM-YWCA Bonnenfant Outdoor Centre in Dunrobin and has long been looking for a location with a longer trail network and clubhouse, so the club could answer the growing demand for its learn-to-ski and racing programs.

According to Marlene Alt, who is leading the relocation committee for Kanata Nordic, “In an early meeting Karen Sparks (Executive Director at Wesley Clover Parks) said, ‘give us your dream plan.’  With that lead, and inspired by the grand plans for the Ian Millar School of Horsemanship, Kanata Nordic delivered it’s vision for a premier, destination Nordic centre.”

The Nordic centre, which will be phased in over 5-6 years, will offer 15 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails, with separate ones for snowshoers and walkers. The network connects to the Trans Canada Trail, for even longer options. Ski-specific features include a children’s snow play park (unique in the region), ski and snowshoe rentals, onsite instructors, plus the facilities needed to host regional, national and even international events, including a stadium, waxing area, and banquet hall. Sparks comments, “We were impressed with the plan Kanata Nordic produced. It confirmed they are exactly the type of partner we want to work with.”

Kanata Nordic will be the Nordic centre’s resident ski club, hosting programs and events, but the facility will be open to the public and offer many compatible winter and summer possibilities, such as orienteering and ski orienteering, snowshoe racing, interpretive and story trails, trail running, winter duathlons and triathlons, high school racer training, weekday and evening ski programs, children’s school break camps and more.

Alt is enthusiastic about the potential for new programs. “We hope to add Para-nordic classes for youth, evening and weekday adult lessons, and xc ski packages custom-designed for groups like the Boy Scouts, active singles clubs and churches. We could also partner with local hotels to offer tourist outings. Plus we suspect there’s a pent-up demand for family-oriented winter activities that are low cost and within easy reach. Wesley Clover Parks will offer that too.”

Bay Ward Councillor Mark Taylor, whose ward encompasses The Parks, commented, “Getting more groomed trails so close to residential neighbourhoods and easily accessible by public transit is wonderful for the community. I’d love to see a whole range of activities there, from competitions to a moonlight ski followed by fireside refreshments in the planned restaurant.”

When asked about the need for more ski trails in a region already rich in them, Alt’s co-chair, Michael Duivenvoorden, responds, “Have you tried to get a parking spot in Gatineau Park on a sunny winter weekend? The region has a large and dedicated xc ski community. The Parks’ improved trail system is filling a gap: There’s Mooney’s Bay Ski Centre, a great in-town facility with 5 km of groomed trails. Then there’s Gatineau’s 200 km of world-class trails across the river, but many casual skiers never venture over. The Parks is a perfect intermediate facility, right in Ottawa.”

Some trails are already groomed and the public is welcome to preview this first phase of The Parks network. Trail fees are mandatory and are included in Kanata Nordic annual membership, which is only $45 per adult. Non-members can join anytime or buy a $5 day pass, to help offset the cost of trail grooming and maintenance. Kanata Nordic has also launched an Indiegogo campaign, which runs until February 12, to help buy the new equipment required to maintain this larger trail network.

Under Wesley Clover Park’s stewardship and with Kanata Nordic’s xc ski expertise, trails will be much improved and groomed regularly. This beautiful property will become a major hub for winter activities.  For Kanata Nordic, which started out at the Mlacak Centre skiing on trails in what is now Kanata Lakes, the move represents the next phase of growth for the 35-year old club. For Wesley Clover Parks, the improved trail network not only expands its winter offerings but also diversifies summer ones. It’s a partnership both groups are excited about, and Ottawa residents can start appreciating right away.

For more information, please contact:

Marlene Alt, Relocation Committee Chair
Kanata Nordic Ski Club
(c) 613-608-0116

Tony Dunn, Chief Operating Officer
Parcs Wesley Clover Parks
(c) 613-913-8337

About Kanata Nordic Ski Club

Kanata Nordic is dedicated to promoting life long activity, fitness and enjoyment of the outdoors through a variety of cross-country ski programs offered in a friendly club setting.The club is a member of Cross Country Ontario and its programs are based on Cross Country Canada’s skills development model.

Established in 1979, Kanata Nordic also arranges ski outings, including to the NCC Greenbelt trails, which it helps to maintain, and to the world-class Gatineau Park facility. Cross country skiing is a great way to get out and get active in the cold weather and is a sport the whole family can enjoy together.

About Wesley Clover Foundation

Wesley Clover Parks is an outdoor recreation and learning hub that promotes health and education through connections with nature and the outdoors, within Canada’s National Capital Greenbelt. The facility was established in 2014 when the Wesley Clover Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Ottawa Matthews’ family, took over operations of the former Nepean National Equestrian Park and the adjacent Ottawa Municipal Campground. The new combined site is planned to grow into a robust community asset that benefits Ottawa residents and all Canadians with education, positive health effects and local economic impacts.

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