Canal Nature Area
The Canal Nature Area is a large area adjacent to the Trent Canal, offering excellent hiking and views of the canal. In winter one can walk out on the ice on the canal from the trails. In August 2019 wetlands that cross this Nature Area were identified as Provincially Significant by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. View the full report here (PDF).
A) Satellite Imagery
1. Created in ArcGIS Pro (click to view full size). The red outline in the centre (between University Road and the Trent Canal) delineates the nature area boundary. In this winter image various cedar forests can be seen, along with the stream that flows from University Road southwest to the Canal.
2. Via Google Maps (shows latest satellite image available via Google Maps; will not show boundary).
Location and Use
The Canal Nature Area is located at the south end of Nassau Campus, Trent University, bordered by the Trent Canal, Nassau Mills Road, University Road, and the southern boundary of Trent University Symons Campus property. This area is well-used for hiking.
Trails, Access, and Points of Interest
The Canal Nature Area features a large trail network branching out from a main access point off University Road. Parking is available in the Wildlife Sanctuary parking lot across the road; some also park on the side of University Road (be careful, as traffic is busy at times).
Two main trail systems traverse the Canal Nature Area, offering views over the Trent Canal and its banks (some from a significant height above the Canal), and others of the Otonabee Valley. Be careful in spring and after ice storms and melts, as some of the trails can become very slippery. The trails are sort of split into a north route and a south route (with connections between):
- The John de Pencier Trail is the northern trail route in the Nature Area, crossing the stream flowing from University Road into the Canal.
- The Morton family trail system includes the southern routes, including two main routes with several connections between them.
This Nature Area includes a stream that flows from University Road (coming originally from the Archaeology Centre Wetland Nature Area) through to the Trent Canal. Several of the trails have boardwalks that cross the river and wetland areas.
Ecosystems and Species
Many different ecosystems can be found in this Nature Area, from cedar forests to deciduous forests to wetlands. There are three wetlands in this nature area.
This Nature Area is fairly well used, and experiences some stress from this at times. We ask all dog walkers scoop and take out your dog's poop!
There are also issues with invasive species (such as dog strangling vine, present in the south of the Nature Area). This is also subject to stress from the busy University Road and Nassau Mills Road corridors, both from traffic and road maintenance when performed. It is in the City of Peterborough Transportation Plan that in the near future University Road will undergo a significant re-construction.
Nature Area History
Originally this Nature Area was known as the Snow and Biological Research Area; its name was changed to the Canal Nature Area in the late 1990s. In 2008 Trent University established the John de Pencier Nature Trail in the Canal Nature Area, in honour of John de Pencier, who passed in late 2018 (read Trent's News about him here). In 2011 the other main trail in the Canal Nature Area, the Morton Family Trail, was revitalized, widening the trail paths adding benches for sitting along the Canal, and an updated trail map (read Trent's news release about this update).
Updates to Come!
Coming soon: maps and physical descriptions of this Nature Area.