The Dorothy Medhurst Side Trail is named after one of the Bruce Trail’s pioneers. When Bruce Trail Founder, Philip Gosling, popped in to see Dorothy in July 1963 at her home near the Credit Forks, she was excited to hear that the Bruce Trail might cross her property. Eagerly, she volunteered to help with trail scouting and building.
In fact, Dorothy remained active with the club over nearly 50 years, volunteering as a Trail Captain up to the age of 90! Independent, physically strong, remarkably energetic – these are all words that describe Dorothy. She served on the Caledon Club’s Board in various roles, her longest tenure as secretary and treasurer. She led many hikes, looked after end-to-end check points for CHBTC’s Thanksgiving E2E weekend, maintained trail, and trimmed Christmas trees for our fund-raising project. But probably the most important of Dorothy’s Club achievements was to initiate mid-week hikes with her co-conspirator, Sallie Smyth in the late 1980s. While the first hike was not a wonderful success (the weather was dreadful and no-one but the hike leaders showed up!), the mid-week hikes (now known as Tuesday hikes) have become a very popular option for CHBTC hikers, sometimes necessitating two groups. Sallie says that Dorothy was the original heart and soul of the Tuesday Hiking Group.
Dorothy’s career was as a child and art educator, initially working with Group of Seven artist Arthur Lismer at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Not surprisingly, natural environments were her inspiration. She taught well into her late seventies, inspiring generations of young nature lovers.
Dorothy welcomed many other volunteers at her cottage near Credit Forks and inspired many. She was delighted when she completed her goal to hike the Bruce Trail from end to end in 1988 – a youthful 73-year-old. At the age of 80, she hiked the entire 47 km of the nearby Elora-Cataract Trailway in 1 day!!
Dorothy was an original thinker and a fascinating story-teller. Her story of being rescued by Roy Trimble in an early winter blizzard near “The Forks” after her car wouldn’t start was in the 1996 Caledon Comment. She ended her tribute to Roy with: ‘I will remember Roy Trimble as a man of great imagination. He could imagine how other people felt – he
could truly “put himself in their shoes.” A rare gift indeed!’ Dorothy, too, had that rare gift.
In a 1981 documentary film, “Notes on Seeing, a film with Dorothy Medhurst”, Dorothy says, “One of the most important things is that one’s ordinary life is a delight, an excitement.” Words that serve us all. Dorothy was true to them.