An idea is born
In 1960 the idea of a public footpath spanning the entire Niagara Escarpment was born. Never before in Canadian history had a trail of this scope been realized. Raymond Lowes articulated this vision of a footpath to friend Robert Bateman at a meeting of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists.
The first meeting of the Bruce Trail Committee was in 1960. The four members attending: Dr. Norman Pearson, Ray Lowes, Dr. Robert MacLaren and Dr. Philip Gosling, each became instrumental in building the Bruce Trail.
Gaining access to the Niagara Escarpment was the critical first step in building the Bruce Trail. From 1960 to today, Escarpment landowners have been key to the existence of the Bruce Trail. Understanding that building relationships was essential, then Trail Director Philip Gosling, visited major towns along the proposed trail route to solicit help. Literally going door-to-door, Philip Gosling and his team of volunteers discussed their vision of a trail along the Niagara Escarpment with landowners. Happily, they were greeted with support all along the way. Regional Clubs were established by 1963. Each Club was responsible for organization, landowner approvals, construction and maintenance.
In Tobermory, 1967- Canada's Centennial Year - the cairn at the northern terminus of the Bruce Trail was unveiled. Seven years of determination, support, vision and hard work were realized when the Bruce Trail was officially opened.
Who is Bruce?
Although many Bruces have walked the route of the Bruce Trail over it 50 plus year history, and many have been members of the Bruce Trail Conservancy, the Bruce Trail does not get its name from any of them.
The Bruce of the Bruce Trail refers to the Bruce Peninsula through which the northern-most section of the Trail passes. In the early 1960s, as the Trail was being conceived, the thought was that this footpath along the full length of the Niagara Escarpment would be a trail "to the Bruce" - a popular vacation destination.
The Bruce Peninsula and Bruce County are named for James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, who was Governor General of the Province of Canada from 1847 to 1854 and who never had the good fortune to walk the Bruce Trail.