Bike Rally 20th Anniversary 6-Day Ride
Catherine Nasmith tells Bike Rally Route Stories
Amount Raised
Fundraising Goal $20,000.00

My Message

This will be my fifth year of participating in the Friends for Life Bike Rally, and my fourth ride. I began supporting PWA after my brother Carl died in 2014, because it was his favourite charity, because I love to ride, and this was a way of making time to think about Carl, riding along with his picture on my back. As I rode the 600 km to Montreal I fell in love with the charity, the cause and the route. Ontario’s history was one of the interests Carl and I shared. The Bike Rally goes through the earliest settlement areas of Ontario, fascinating for a heritage architect. 

Last summer, to satisfy my own curiosity, instead of riding I spent time researching the history and driving with my husband Bob slowly along the route, taking photographs and reading all the plaques. It is so interesting; French trading and settlement, the British treaties with Indigenous Peoples, Loyalist settlers (refugees), the history of transportation and settlements, and of course the architecture and cultural landscapes left by all those people and processes. 

As someone who has twice been President of Architectural Conservancy Ontario (ACO) I hope to bring my two favourite charities together. I am excited to say that a partnership between ACO and PWA is emerging which will have ACO sharing stories about the places we ride with Bike Rally participants, a new audience for ACO’s work. Over the next few years the research and stories will be compiled, at first to be read on tiny screens in tents. We’re starting small, expecting that the partnership will evolve into something that will benefit both organizations.

This year I am hoping to raise $20,000.00 for the People with Aids Foundation. To entice you to support my fundraising efforts, for the next ten weeks I will be sharing some of the stories I have compiled about the route. I hope you find the stories interesting enough to hit that donate button. I’m training hard to be able to do the distance at 65, but your support will be the wind at my back.

Route Story Number One

Danforth Avenue/Danforth Road/Kingston Road (HWY2)

The ride out from Toronto passes along all three of the above roads, which have an interconnected history. 

The first connecting road between York and Kingston (Catarqui) was laid out by Asa Danforth Jr., starting in 1799, an American entrepreneur (some might say carpetbagger). He took major financial risks signing contracts with the British governors to deliver several early roads. He was paid $90.00/mile, completing 106 miles in just over a year. The contract(s) completion was disputed by the British, nearly bankrupting Danforth. His trail, which followed indigenous routes in places, proved to be poorly located and unpopular with settlers. On Day 1 we ride along it as Lakeshore Road between Newcastle and Port Hope. Danforth's road was used for military purposes during the War of 1812.  It was replaced further north with a straighter Kingston Road (HWY 2) in 1817. The Kingston Road was on the same alignment in several sections as Danforth’s road. Much of our route on Days 1, 2, and 3 follow either Danforth’s road, or the later 1817 Kingston Road. 

Just to totally confuse you, Danforth Avenue is NOT part of the 1799 road, nor the Kingston Road (1817). Danforth Avenue was named after Asa Danforth, because it was one of the roads he had planned but never executed. Danforth Avenue was built circa 1850. 

Route Story Number Two

Intrepid Park, Camp X: Bet you Didn't Know that Whitby was the Home of the Original 007

Along the Waterfront Trail in Whitby we ride through Intrepid Park, established in 1976 to commemorate the site of Camp X, the second World War spy training centre that was operated by the British Special Operations Executive. Established in Canada to co-ordinate British efforts with American involvement prior to the U.S. entering the Second World war, intelligence officers for Britain, Canada and the U.S. were trained here. The land (a farm) for the camp was bought from the Sinclair family, and the location of the camp was highly secret. To the north of our cycle route at 1313 Boundary Road (how’s that for a mysterious address) is a monument to Camp X and Sir William Stephenson, Director of British Security Co-ordination from 1941-6, as well as a historic plaque.

Ian Fleming trained at Camp X for a period, and Stephenson, is reputed to have been the inspiration for James Bond. Apparently, to this day, the CIA refers to its training camps as “going to the farm”. The camp buildings were demolished in 1969, but many books have been written about it. There is a movement to establish a museum in Whitby. There is also a small collection of Camp X artifacts at Casa Loma in Toronto. Camp X inspired the 2017 CBC drama series X Company. 

Route Story Number Three: Ontario's First Full Scale Fish Hatchery 1868

Just after we cross 115/35 on Hwy. 2 there is a small parking area and Archaeological and Historic Sites Board of Ontario (Ontario Heritage Trust) plaque commemorating the first fish hatchery in Ontario. Samuel Wilmot, after whose family Wilmot Creek is named, in an effort to rebuild the Atlantic Salmon stock in Lake Ontario, began experimenting with breeding salmon for release in his basement. With support from the Canadian government in 1868, The fish hatchery was founded and continued to produce salmon stock for 50 years, producing 155 million baby fish, and serving as a model for fish hatcheries in the rest of Canada and the world. His residence, Belmont House is a bit north of the highway overlooking the creek, and was written about in a recent Toronto Star article.  

Route Story Number Four: 

The Carrying Place, Prince Edward County/

Site of the Gunshot Treaty between the Mississauga and the British

The name says it all. Carrying Place was the traditional portage point between Lake Ontario, Presquil Bay and Bay of Quinte before the Murray Canal was constructed in the 1880’s. The portage route became the road route. The text that follows is from the National Historic Site Plaque located at the intersection of Loyalist Parkway and Old Portage Road, Carrying Place, Ontario. The Loyalist Parkway more or less follows the route of Asa Danforth’s 1799 Road, generally Highway 33.

"Carrying Place of the Bay of Quinte National Historic Site is located on the isthmus at the west end of the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario. The site, at the intersection of the Trenton and Carrying Place roads, marks the location where Sir John Johnson and the Chiefs of the Mississauga negotiated a treaty in 1787, known as the Gunshot Treaty, that permitted settlement as well as guaranteeing Indigenous Peoples water access, hunting and fishing rights. The site is comprised of a small plot of land owned by Parks Canada containing a solitary Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canadacairn and plaque. Official recognition refers to the property owned by Parks Canada."

The significance of these early treaties to Ontario cannot be underscored enough. They were signed at a time of massive refugee migration after the American War of Independence. Loyalist refugees came by water with little more than their experience and a few tools to a place with little to support them.  They were blacks, former slaves who had fought with the British and been guaranteed freedom, people of German, British and Dutch extraction, and large numbers of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy who were British allies, principally Mohawk. The Gunshot Treaty was signed in peace before a huge gathered assembly of participants and witnesses. John Ralston Saul has suggested in his book, Canada: A Fair Country, that the Canadian tradition of welcoming newcomers arises from Indigenous traditions. Others suggest it was more complicated than that, but what is certainly true, is that this part of Ontario was settled peacefully. Betrayal of the treaties by Canada was yet to come.  

The Bike Rally is the sustaining fundraiser for the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation (PWA). Your donation helps PWA to fund services for thousands of men, transmen, transwomen, women and children living with HIV/AIDS.

All donations over $20 will receive a charitable tax receipt.

Event Date
Jul 29, 2018 9:00 AM
Location Name
Toronto to Montréal

Rider Number


My Team

Catherine is part of The Friendlies (Philip & Michael)
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My Supporters (69)

s left a message
Jun 17, 2018 6:10 PM
looking good so far! good luck with the ride
Anonymous donated an undisclosed amount
Jun 17, 2018 6:09 PM
Deanne left a message
Jun 16, 2018 2:24 PM
Go Cath, go. xox
Michael Hollingsworth donated $100.00
Jun 16, 2018 2:24 PM
Sandra Shaul left a message
Jun 16, 2018 2:08 PM
What a great way to mark 65 years and I love your stories.
Sandra Shaul donated $100.00
Jun 16, 2018 2:08 PM
Sue Dexter donated $100.00
Jun 16, 2018 1:28 PM
Gee donated $100.00
Jun 14, 2018 8:36 PM
Nina Chapple donated $50.00
Jun 12, 2018 10:37 AM
Margie Zeidler donated an undisclosed amount
Jun 10, 2018 12:50 PM
Alysson Storey left a message
Jun 8, 2018 3:35 PM
Love the stories! Love the cause. Go Cathy go!
Alysson Storey donated an undisclosed amount
Jun 8, 2018 3:35 PM
Sheila left a message
Jun 8, 2018 1:43 PM
You are amazing Catherine. Have a great ride.
Anonymous donated an undisclosed amount
Jun 8, 2018 1:42 PM
Anonymous donated $250.00
Jun 8, 2018 9:30 AM
John McQuaker donated $100.00
Jun 7, 2018 2:32 PM
Carol Kleinfeldt donated $100.00
Jun 7, 2018 2:12 PM
Carol Kleinfeldt left a message
Jun 7, 2018 2:07 PM
You go, girl! Most impressive.
Rollo Myers donated $100.00
Jun 5, 2018 9:24 AM
Sheila du Toit donated $100.00
Jun 4, 2018 5:45 PM
Joe Lobko donated $100.00
Jun 4, 2018 3:04 PM
Pat Nasmith left a message
Jun 4, 2018 1:08 PM
Thank you for the stories and good luck with the ride
Anonymous donated an undisclosed amount
Jun 4, 2018 1:07 PM
Augustus Butterfield donated $50.00
Jun 3, 2018 6:44 PM
Anonymous donated an undisclosed amount
Jun 2, 2018 10:04 PM
Bill left a message
May 31, 2018 9:20 PM
Keep it up both peddling and the stories.
Anonymous donated $50.00
May 31, 2018 9:17 PM
Janet Walters donated an undisclosed amount
May 30, 2018 12:55 PM
Judy Goldstein left a message
May 30, 2018 12:28 PM
Judy Goldstein donated $40.00
May 30, 2018 12:27 PM
Anne left a message
May 30, 2018 11:40 AM
Congrats on doing this Cathy. Have a great ride
Anonymous donated $50.00
May 30, 2018 11:38 AM
Nella Fiorino donated $150.00
May 30, 2018 10:48 AM
Taylor Hazell Architects donated $200.00
May 30, 2018 9:02 AM
George + Anne donated $100.00
May 30, 2018 8:22 AM
Helen left a message
May 29, 2018 10:36 PM
Good luck on your ride, Catherine. I know how much this means to you.
Helen Edwards donated $500.00
May 29, 2018 10:35 PM
Anne McIlroy donated $200.00
May 29, 2018 10:07 PM
Mark Guslits donated $50.00
May 29, 2018 9:24 PM
Catherine Nasmith donated $100.00
May 29, 2018 9:16 PM
Gerard Gauci donated an undisclosed amount
May 29, 2018 4:38 PM
Liz left a message
May 28, 2018 9:01 AM
Cathy Congratulations on year five! We will be the wind at your back!
Liz Rykert donated an undisclosed amount
May 28, 2018 9:00 AM
Mary Anne Carswell donated an undisclosed amount
May 27, 2018 12:50 PM
Alison von Criegern donated $50.00
May 27, 2018 10:22 AM
John Sewell donated $100.00
May 25, 2018 8:41 AM
Anonymous donated an undisclosed amount
May 24, 2018 5:52 PM
Jenny Nasmith Yandt left a message
May 22, 2018 8:44 PM
Looking forward to the stories!! And way to go for a 5th year! All the irises make me think of Uncle Carl constantly this time of year, not to mention his upcoming birthday. Lots of love from Mark and I.
Jenny Nasmith Yandt donated an undisclosed amount
May 22, 2018 8:43 PM
Penina Coopersmith donated an undisclosed amount
May 22, 2018 2:02 PM
Robert Buckingham donated $100.00
May 22, 2018 1:21 PM
Jessie left a message
May 22, 2018 11:58 AM
So excited that you're doing the ride again this year! You're an inspiration!!
Nigel and Jessie Barham donated $100.00
May 22, 2018 11:58 AM
Lorelei Jones donated $75.00
May 18, 2018 10:05 AM
Eliot McRae donated $50.00
May 18, 2018 8:23 AM
Scott James donated $100.00
May 17, 2018 10:15 AM
Leith Hunter donated $100.00
May 16, 2018 7:53 AM
michael mcclelland donated $200.00
May 15, 2018 2:57 PM
yes donated $100.00
May 15, 2018 11:21 AM
Pam and Ron left a message
May 15, 2018 10:02 AM
Love the link between the ride and history! Congrats, Cathy
Ron and Pam donated $200.00
May 15, 2018 10:00 AM
Robin B left a message
May 15, 2018 9:16 AM
Ride strong, Catherine, as you always do.
The Buyers Chosen Family donated $300.00
May 15, 2018 9:15 AM
Bruce Wither donated $250.00
May 14, 2018 11:01 PM
Bob left a message
May 14, 2018 10:37 PM
Proud of you!
Robert Sirman donated $1,000.00
May 14, 2018 10:35 PM
Joanne and Jim left a message
May 14, 2018 10:06 PM
Go Cathy, go! xo
Joanne donated $20.00
May 14, 2018 10:03 PM
Alan Carlisle donated $50.00
Jan 29, 2018 3:42 PM