Meet Me in the Middle

Riding Central Ontario Trails at OFATV AGM

Each year, clubs across Ontario gather together for the Ontario Federation of All-Terrain Vehicles Annual General Meeting. The location of the event moves around the province, and this year it was held in Midland, Ontario, and hosted by the Central Ontario ATV Club.

Not to miss out on an opportunity to gather with ATVers from across the province and share thoughts and ideas on the future of ATVing in Ontario, Nation Valley ATV Club was all about it.

For me, it was a great opportunity to check another item off my bucket list of Ontario ATV club trails to try. I had been very close to Central Ontario’s trails numerous times, but had yet to partake in their trail system! I’d been to Central Ontario ATV Club-hosted events and rides, but they were special events hosted on Base Borden. Now was a chance to try out their actual trails!

Festivities began Friday night, and went through until Sunday at noon-hour, so we decided to make a day out of the trip to Midland. Instead of sticking to 400 series highways, we took the scenic route and went up Highway 7, to take in some of the sights.  

We hit the road early. After snaking across some back roads, we found ourselves in Perth, Ontario to hit up the local Tim Hortons. The Tim Hortons in Perth is a popular stopping place when heading to Ottawa Valley ATV Club’s trail system or the Ompah Ontario Firefighter rides, due to the spacious parking for trucks, trailers, buses, and us super-sized vehicles.

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Fuelled up on breakfast sandwiches and coffee, we trekked along Highway 7, enjoying the slower pace and scenery along the way.

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Arriving at the Best Western Inn Highland Conference Centre in Midland, we settled in to our hotel room. Friday night’s festivities included a finger-food dinner for the weary travellers arriving for the weekend, and an informal meet-and-greet with the weekend participants. Many tall tales were told, and a lot of ATV enthusiast networking took place. The true legend of that evening was one of the representatives from Thousand Islands ATV Club, Henry Dekroon. After his truck broke down en route to the AGM, he had CAA tow him to a dealership, where he purchased a brane new truck just so he could carry on and attend the AGM! Henry was several hours behind schedule, but he made it and a legend was born!

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Saturday morning we were up bright and early for an extensive continental breakfast courtesy of the Best Western, followed by formal meeting with all of the clubs in attendance, with announcements from the provincial organization and a round table for clubs to discuss local issues, concerns, and ideas.

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Afterwards, we got onto what everyone was waiting for – the ride. We gathered our gear, and jumped in our vehicles for a short jaunt over to Springwater Township to unload and hit the Central Ontario Trail system.  After unloading and meeting up on our ATVs in the staging area, we started off with a trailside lunch – and what a lunch it was!

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If a picture says a thousand words, I think this one shows how the meal was!

After we filled our bellies with a delicious lunch, Central Ontario ATV Club wardens took us on a guided tour of the trails that the Simcoe County Forest had to offer!  A good mix of sand and rock, the trails were well maintained and the bridges were beautiful and functional. After spending the afternoon exploring the trails the wardens led us back out to where we had begun. And just in the nick of time, as the weather had started to turn. It was a wet time loading up our ATVs.

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We returned to the Best Western to shower and compose ourselves before we were treated to a banquet dinner fit for kings! Dinner made way to a casino night—those with the most chips at the end of the night determined your door prizes for the day! It was a very unique way to dole out the prizes and a lot of fun!

Sunday rolled into the business of the weekend, the Annual General Meeting. Guest speakers included representatives from the O.P.P. Provincial S.A.V.E Unit, Simcoe County Forest, National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council, and the Canadian Off-Highway Vehicle Distributors Council. The AGM also took an opportunity to recognize volunteers across the province, and award the OFATV Volunteer Family of the Year and OFATV Volunteer of the Year.

A quick luncheon took place after the AGM, and then it was time for everyone to part ways for another year. Time to head back to the local clubs to share stories, adventures and ideas learned at the AGM.  The trip up Highway 7 was scenic; however, when it was time to head for home, we took a different route and checked out the new Cabela's Store in Barrie to stock up on things we convinced ourselves we needed!

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Who knows what this year will bring for ATVing, but we do know one thing for sure – we sure look forward to seeing who will be hosting the AGM next year so we can check out their trails! 

About Dave Baker

An avid outdoors enthusiast, Dave is active in hunting, fishing, trapping and ATVing. He has been involved with the Nation Valley ATV Club since its inception, and is a past president of the Ontario Federations of ATV Clubs.

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