The aim of torontohiking.com is the promotion of hiking and walking everywhere in the great outdoors and more specifically along the many trails around Toronto (and Southern Ontario) and along the Niagara Escarpment” -Jack Candido
Thanks goes to the Bruce Trail Association and their many volunteers for the outstanding job they do in acquiring, protecting and maintaining the Bruce Trail.
I hope you find this site helpful in planning your hikes in the Toronto area and Southern Ontario. Your suggestions are always welcome. The website is now responsive in nature, meaning it will display properly on mobile phones and tablets. Currently we feature a waterfalls series with 35 waterfalls including a classification system and a newly developed rating system for each waterfall. The over 60 hikes on the site include a detailed topographic trail map, an elevation profile, satellite view map, Google road map, photo album, hike location finder and gps hike track log. Our new Pick-a-Hike makes it easy to select a hike by location, difficulty, and length. The news section contains hiking related events, trail updates and hiking news. Links pages include lists of hiking info around Ontario, walking/hiking clubs and groups, equipment suppliers and world travel items. Also included are the tutorials, ecology items and hiking gear essentials. Our urban walk series presents walks around the Toronto area. Numerous youtube videos throughout provide some great waterfall views and aid with hiking gear and tutorial presentations. Our new easy-blog series gives members the opportunity to post a blog on their own on the site. In addition our new COMMUNITY area gives members an opportunity to interact with other hikers. Social media has also been integrated into TorontoHiking.com
We began in 2001 with the name "JacksHikes" with our URL http://jackshikes.8k.com on the free host site NBCi.com but they didn't stay in the website business for long. We needed to look for a new pay host. Our first hike on the "JacksHikes" site was L01 Bennett Heritage Trail followed by the Downtown Water Features walk.
Since we were going to pay for our webhost this time, we decided we needed a new name that included Hike or Hiking in the name. We finally settled on TorontoHiking.com on host Powweb. We stayed there for 6 years.
New in Spring 2004 are latitude and longitude coordinates for all hike and walk starting points, a hike locator map showing the entire southern half of the Bruce Trail with hike locations pinpointed, new style Trail Maps with waypoint information to guide you better along the correct path, along with new walks and hikes. Your contributions (and yes, even donations to help support the site) are most welcome.
New in 2005 are hikes further afield, more detailed trail maps, waypoint-to-waypoint hike descriptions and waterfalls video clips along with a complete redesign of the look of torontohiking.com.
Another complete redesign was introduced on 13 June 2008 with version 6 of the site. This was accompanied by a move to a new site host - LunarPages where we stayed until Jan 1, 2011. The site grew significantly during this period with many new hikes added with other features as well.
In 2011, a complete rethink and redesign of the site was introduced as version 7. This was by far the most significant update in virtually every way with the site being redeveloped on a new content management system for the first time. Work began Version 7 in the Spring of 2010 and the update went live in the Spring of 2011. Many new features were added and some old redundant features dropped.
Special thanks goes to John Boydell for his help in scouting out the hikes and aiding in the acquisition of data and colour.
In 2012 (Sept - Dec) much work was involved in migrating the site to the new version of the CMS system. It involved adjusting the code in every page on the site in various ways. While doing this, the tables were all improved for readability, a pdf was produced for each trail guide, security features were added and new polls introduced. Numerous other small improvements were made.
A massive update was begun in March 2015 to make torontohiking responsive in nature as Google was urging website owners to begin this task with the increasing popularity of mobile phones and tablets. A major problem was how version 7 was designed using tables throughout to display data. Tables do not resize in cell phones and so much scrolling would be needed. So all tables needed to go. When tables were used in v7, I did not have the skills to code the site in a better way. That had to be learned in tackling making the site responsive. Each and every page on the site had to be redone.Along the way numerous changes were made which are outlined below in "New Features in Version 9 in 2016." 2016 because the work spilled over into the first few months in 2016 as well.
Here are some of the features included in our hiking resources:
Photos: Initially the photos are all taken using a Canon Powershot G1 (3.3 Megapixels) at the highest resolution (2048x1556). They are reduced to 550x 450, 80% quality for the website and even smaller for the thumbnail versions. The G1 died when it got wet.
Photos taken in 2003+ are by the Canon Powershot G3 (4.0 MP). and Canon Powershot 2S IS. [ the G3 broke down :( ] The 2S IS was a real in the field workhorse that began to show it's age and high usage. In 2010, it was time to replace it with a new Canon Powershot SX20 IS. Currently, I prefer using my smaller Sony DSC-HX30V.
Photo galleries: These were initially done by BreezeBrowser. All photo albums in the new version 7 have been redone using JAlbum with slideshow capabilities and larger image sizes. The albums have all been redone for version 9 of the website using a responsive format and design.
Trail Maps: To produce the new Trail Maps (2005+), the routes are tracked on a Garmin GPS60CSx and edited in MapSource using both free and purchased topo maps for map detail. The Trail Maps are then exported to Photoshop for final additions of waypoint descriptions, additional labelling and legend. All hikes will be upgraded using this method to provide superior map information in time. Most of this has been done now in Version 7. Trakmaps are now being used for the trail maps as they provide more useful information to the hiker.
Road maps are now all done using links to Google maps where you can obtain driving instructions, best route to trailhead and driving time and distance. Accordingly the previous driving time maps are no longer available.
Graphics and banners are done in Fireworks and Photoshop.
Google Topograhic maps are produced using Google Earth Plus for higher resolution than the free version. The Plus version is no longer available so the regular free version is now used.
Video Clips: These were made using Windows Movie Maker 2. These have all been abandoned in Version 7 since the quality was quite low in terms of current standards. In their place, youtube videos are used which have relatively high quality.
Waypoint-to-Waypoint hike descriptions: Data is recorded on a waypoint data sheet during the hike along with a digital voice recording of relevant trail features. The individual voice segments (sometimes up to 70) are then typed into the site trail Waypoint-to-Waypoint description tables. All hikes have now been updated to this more detailed system of trail description.
Length of Hike: This is an approximate estimate of the hike length in km.
Rating: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced.
Beginner -distances up to 10 km and pace of 3 km/h with stops every 15-20 minutes
Intermediate: distances up to 15 km with a pace of 3-4 km and stops every 20-30 min
Advanced: distances greater than 15 km with a pace of 4 km (less if very hilly).
It should be noted than many experienced and fit hikers often cover 20 km or more at a pace of 5 km/h and up.
Time: based on length of hike and pace of 3 km/h
Terrain: A general description of the type of terrain.
Directions: How to get to the hike starting point by car from the Toronto area.
The Site: Notes any special features or items of historical significance concerning the site.
The Hike: Detailed instructions on the route to follow with note of any special features along the way. Of course you do not have to follow the arrow directions on the pdf maps and you may alter the length of the hikes but these are my recommendations.
New Features in Version 7 in 2011
- Waterfalls Series with about 45 waterfalls with classification and rating for each waterfalls plus much more
- Use of youtube videos
- Update of all Essentials, Tutorials and Ecology items
- Latest News featuring the latest in hiking news
- Newsfeeds: RSS feeds on hiking related topics
- Login system for limited functions
- Comments system plus Blog
- Translation services
- QwikFind has been replaced by category lists and our Site Map in the Site Information menu.
- The Photo of the Month appears on a TV like screen on the Home Page
- Newflash screens appear in other locations
New Features in Version 9 in 2016
- Site becomes responsive to display correctly on mobile phones and tablets
- New template is needed to accommodate this change
- As a result site has a new more streamlined modern appearance
- Tables which are not responsive removed from all articles
- Every page is redone in new format
- External RSS feeds on hiking topics are discontinued as unreliable
- Photo of the month remains on home page in new position
- Newsflash screens removed
- Social logins introduced along with more social integrations
- Updated comments system in use
- New easy-blog addition for admin, guest and members blogs
- A members COMMUNITY area is introduced for members to share and post items
- New more secure Contact Us form introduced
- Site is now protected by https:// security