On June 5, GCAT and 2Rivers Festival hosted a Cycling tour of Riverside Gardens…and a Pint.
We knew rain might be a problem, but we sure weren’t expecting the deluge of rain 15 minutes before the event started! The decision to proceed was made by Stan Kozak, 2Rivers Festival organizer, who is definitely one not to be deterred by “a bit of weather.”
Co-organized by 2Rivers Festival sponsored by Wellington Water Watchers and GCAT, this event brings people together to celebrate their love of Guelph Rivers, gardens, and community. Plenty of all three were to be had, with a group of 17 who came to enjoy conversation and camaraderie despite the threatening weather.
The first stop was at Leigh Taylor’s garden, whose small plot of land hosts several varieties of fruits, veggies, hydroponic agriculture, and even aquaculture. No one had seen that many species of edible food grown in such a small space.Leigh’s project is truly the future of urban agriculture. We were able to have a good view before the rains came, and then luckily, stopped. The sun came out at that point and stayed with us for the rest of our voyage.
We continued our tour along the Royal River Trail, down Neeve Street, and up Arthur Street. Here we enjoyed Stan and Leanne’s beautiful backyard river garden, complete with a gorgeous pond and a large variety of beautiful pollinating flowers. The participants were enjoying it so much that we eventually had to encourage them to keep moving as there were other gardens to see.
Our last stop was a very large vegetable garden that is visible along the Trans Canada Trail beside the Speed River. This labour of love by the Swantek family is arguably the biggest urban garden in Guelph. The family has worked tirelessly to get the land ready and now produces a mountain of seasonal vegetables every year.
During the whole event, there were many opportunities for casual conversation. It became obvious with each kilometre ridden that all participants had a passion for cycling, urban farming and meeting new people.
Our last stop was the Woolwich Arms, or the Wooly. Here, we hoisted a pint and some kombucha and talked about the great day. Thanks Stan for not cancelling the event because of rain.. We would have missed out on all that fun!
Now, what should we do for an encore?