Toronto and Region Conservation Authority Success Story

Toronto, Ontario, is where Avenza Systems calls home. Even though it is one of the densest and most populous cities in the country, there is ample green space for outdoor enthusiasts like us to explore. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) plays a pivotal role in conserving this greenspace, so it was only natural that we work together to help everyone enjoy the beauty the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has to offer.

TRCA has been working with Avenza Maps since 2012. TRCA’s Daniela MacLeod, Senior Analyst, GIS & Data Solutions, and Deanna Cheriton, Senior Program Manager, Conservation Lands & Trails, are one of the earliest proponents of an Avenza Maps/TRCA partnership. We spoke to Daniela and Deanna to learn more about TRCA and how they’re implementing Avenza Maps QR codes to improve the visitor experience at their sites.

East Duffins Headwaters Trailhead map

“We have a goal of building communities that drive local action and improve well-being,” Daniela tells us. “TRCA contributes to this by providing responsible access to nature on the lands that we manage.” With roughly 11,000 hectares of property to manage and a population of close to six million people in the GTA, their goal is as multi-faceted as the city it benefits. 

“Many lands are secured for managing flood and erosion risk or for other environmental reasons, so not all the lands that TRCA manages are suitable for recreation. In the locations that are suitable for recreation, we have carefully identified how people can safely experience nature via trails or other public areas,” Deanna shares with us. This is where Avenza Maps QR codes come into play.

Not only is TRCA using Avenza Maps to allow their visitors to experience the lands they manage safely, but they also see Avenza Maps as a means to educate visitors about the lands and mark areas of interest. This enhances the visitor experience.

Phone scanning QR code
Woman looking at map in Avenza Maps on her phone
Avenza Maps will be another tool where we can communicate where it is safe to go. It will help people feel safe while out on the trail because they will be better able to find where they are if they are unfamiliar with the area." - Daniela MacLeod

“TRCA trails offer great experiences where you can discover fascinating parts of nature and significant places of cultural heritage. We love in-person guided walks to teach people about the unique things they can see on the trail, but having a scheduled guided walk doesn’t work for everyone. The ability to mark places of interest through the Avenza Maps app can provide an alternative that can be used by people who are interested and requires less invasive signage to maintain. We are excited to explore this in future phases of the project,” Deanna tells us.

With 18 of TRCA’s site maps available in the Avenza Map Store and more being added in the future, users can simply scan the Avenza Maps QR code on the trailhead signs at TRCA sites to get the specific location map and head out on the trails. “We want people to have safe and enjoyable experiences while exploring our trail network. We have put effort into having the most up-to-date trail information on the maps at our trailheads and available on TRCA’s website,” Deanna says.

William Grange Greenway map on a phone using Avenza Maps

As a means of being environmentally conscious, many organizations are moving towards distributing maps via QR codes to prevent litter on their lands. This is where Avenza Maps and the Avenza Maps QR codes come in handy. “We don’t always have the capacity to print and install updated trail maps with every small change that happens with the trail network. We are excited that the Avenza Maps QR codes will provide direct links to TRCA’s maps for the most current trail network and uses.”

Avenza Maps is proud to partner with TRCA to make it as easy as possible for visitors to access their maps. “Trails play an important role as they connect our growing communities to nature, to culture, and to each other, thereby contributing to active living and enhancing our conservation legacy. QR codes are one way to share maps at our parks and trails, and we’re interested to see if it becomes a go-to method for visitors to access TRCA’s most up-to-date trail maps.”

Two people looking at forest

We would like to thank TRCA for being one of our early adopters of the QR Code Program. If you are interested in learning more about how Avenza Maps QR codes can benefit your organization, please fill out this form, and we will be in touch.