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History of the Memorial Trail
In 2001, one of our dear members, Joyce Cushman, died suddenly. We established a committee (Ian McLaren, Tom Enright, Charlene Quinlan and Janet McGugan) to develop a way to honour Joyce and other members past and future who pass away.
After much consideration the idea of a trail was launched. We felt it was something that people of all ages could use and we could honour our members with trees along the trail. We contacted the Conservation Authority and they suggested putting a trail to connect the conservation trails that already exist through Alexandra Park over to the Skateboard Park. Since this was going to cost a fair bit, Ian suggested that we try to get a Trillium grant. This of course was more complicated than we’d hoped. We had to send a proposal for the project and the committee had to come and check us out. We also set up a separate bank account and made all the other necessary arrangements. All in all, it took us an extra year or so to get the trail completed and it was ready to use in 2003.
We had an opening ceremony to which we invited the families of the three members, Marcel Daerdale, Hill Stewart and Joyce Cushman. We received six maple trees from Fiddler’s and they were planted along the trail. Plaques have been placed under three of the trees to honour our members.
Since this project was such a success, the Town of Strathroy-Caradoc was interested in having us continue the project and they were willing to give us $10,000 to go towards extending the trail system. In cooperation with the Town and the Conservation Authority we created “The Loop” at the North end of town. DOW chemical donated a set of steel stairs to be used on one of the steep slopes. The Bank of Montreal donated $5,000.00 towards the project. This section was opened in 2008.
The next section was proposed to connect “The Loop” to Second St. and thereby the High Schools and the Gemini Arena. The committee struck out on a reconnaissance mission to see if this would be possible. Part of it was easy since there is a road allowance is an extension of Adair Drive. It got a little tricky in the woods when we tried to cross the ditch. We being the “Fit Four” that we are had no trouble but we were concerned for the teenage cross-country runners from the High Schools...we thought we needed to make it easier for them. Also there is the flooding problem in that area. We thought of a wooden bridge but that would potentially lead to vandalism. The Town and Conservation folks said that it would also be an issue with the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans! If we built a proper culvert it could cost $40,000. Also we were dealing with private land so we needed permission from the landowner. We thought of giving up the idea but then when we took another look at the map there was an easier and cheaper....if not as scenic....path that we could take at the other side of the field. Charlene checked with the landowner, Joanne Van Engelen who graciously allowed us to continue the project. It was completed in the fall of 2009, just before the snow starting to fly. Due to a series of excuses the sign did not go up until September 2010 and the official opening was almost a year later!!!
The Rotary Memorial Trail Developed by The Rotary Club of Strathroy, in partnership with:
 The Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc
 St. Claire Region Conservation Authority
 BMO Bank of Montreal
 Dow Chemical
 Ontario Trillium Foundation