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Partnership Announcement: The Trail Research Hub and the Ontario Trails Council

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

The Trail Research Hub and the Ontario Trails Council are pleased to be expanding their working relationship!

In the Winter 2021 Academic Term, the Ontario Trails Council partnered with faculty from the University of Waterloo's Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, including Kelsey Johansen, a founding member of the Trail Research Hub currently serving as the Hub's Chair. This partnership entailed a series of joint community-based research projects and educational initiatives undertaken by students in the University of Waterloo's Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in partnership with the Ontario Trails Council and in service to several trail organizations across Ontario.

To support this initiative, Patrick Connor, Executive Director, Ontario Trails Council, helped recruit trail organizations from across Ontario with identified research needs that the students could address, and provided an invaluable guest lecture to students centred on the economic impact of trails in Ontario.

On November 17th 2021, Kelsey and Dr. Karla Boluk from the University of Waterloo will deliver a Trails Talk on the success of this partnership project and provide an overview of the process and the Winter 2021 projects, including an update on project outcomes, and will discuss opportunities for Ontario trail organizations to be involved as the Winter 2022 project partners.

Additionally, in the Fall 2021 Academic Term, the Trail Research Hub and the Ontario Trails Council will share a Co-Op Student from the University of Waterloo. In this dual role, the incumbent will serve as a Research Assistant for the Trail Research Hub's Trails and Social Enterprise Research Project, and will Intern with the Ontario Trails Council's Marketing and Communications Committee.

This position will be funded by the Government of Canada's Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) and through a grant from the Ontario Trails Council. The SWPP program provides funding to hire students for the purposes of experiential learning and is administered by Employment and Social Development Canada through a partner organization.

Please note, due to the nature of the funding provided for this position, the following eligibility requirements will be in effect:

1. Students from all co-op programs (undergraduate and graduate) from the University of Waterloo will be eligible.

2. University of Waterloo students must also be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or a person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for the duration of employment to qualify for funding from SWPP.

Look for a job advertisement coming soon to Waterloo Works.

The Trail Research Hub is excited to continue building its relationships with the Ontario Trails Council. When reached for comment, Kelsey Johansen, Chair of the Trail Research Hub and a Lecturer at the University of Waterloo, said

Partnerships like this help enable universities and research centres to leverage their financial and social capital in direct service to industry partnership while providing meaningful and engaging learning experiences for students that help them to gain job-ready skills prior to graduation.

Furthermore, Patrick Connor, Executive Director for the Ontario Trails Council stated

This is a valuable opportunity to inspire and train the next generation of trail ambassadors while continuing to build our existing relationship with the Hub and the University of Waterloo while improving services to our Member organizations.

For more information on the Trails and Social Enterprise research project, please email Please consider joining us for the Trail Talk on the Ontario Trails ICD Projects on November 17th, 2021. To register to attend, please email

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