Launch Event – Highwheel Way Cycle Route & Doolittle Mural
June 14, 2022
For Immediate Release
Central Elgin, ON – The County of Elgin will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the official launch of the Highwheel Way Cycling Route and the unveiling of the Doolittle Mural on June 28, 2022 at the Port Bruce Pavilion at 1:30p.m. This event coincides with Ontario Bike Month, a month dedicated by the Province to demonstrate the importance of cycling for maintaining healthy lifestyles, reducing traffic congestion, and increasing economic development through cycle tourism.
Cycling has become an ever-popular form of transportation within the County of Elgin for residents and visitors alike. When the County’s Engineering Department created a cycle route on Imperial Road (Highway 73), from the Town of Aylmer to the village of Port Bruce, staff from the County’s Economic Development and Tourism department leaped at the opportunity to brand this route. Drawing upon knowledge from other County departments, as well as politicians from the Town of Aylmer and the Township of Malahide, the name Highwheel Way: from Pedal to Paddle was formed. This name celebrates Elgin’s cycling history through not only a branded bike route but also on a mural that honours a historic local cyclist, Mr. Doolittle.
Perry Doolittle, born on March 22, 1861, near Luton, a few miles north of Port Bruce, is thought to be the first person to have built and ridden a bicycle in the County. In the mid-1870s, Mr. Doolittle sought the expertise of a local blacksmith to help him build a high wheel bicycle, later became a competitive racer, and was part of a group that founded the Canada Wheelman’s Association in St. Thomas.
Through funding received from the Estate of Donna Vera Evans Bushell, as a bequest to the Elgin County Museum, murals on the walls of the washroom building at Wannacott Park in Port Bruce now illustrate Mr. Doolittle on his high wheel bicycle and denote the beginning and end of the Highwheel Way cycle route. This mural was painted by an extraordinary local artist, Candy McManiman, a retired art teacher from the area.
“It’s projects like these that bring together several departments, and history, to create something wonderful for all to enjoy for many years to come,” said Mary French, Elgin County Warden. “Cycle tourism is an important component of Elgin’s local economy. With several attractions and local businesses along this route, cyclists can immerse themselves in Elgin’s rich culture and exceptional cuisine, all while exploring some of the most stunning views that Southwestern Ontario has to offer.”
Members of the public are invited attend the ribbon cutting ceremony:
What: Launch Event: Highwheel Way Cycle Route & Doolittle Mural
When: Tuesday, June 28, 2022
Where: Port Bruce Pavilion
Time: 1:30 pm
For further information, contact:
Mike Baker, Manager of Museum & Archives
County of Elgin
(519) 631-1460 x159
Lindsey Duncan, Tourism Officer
County of Elgin
(619) 631-1460 x163
Mary French, Warden
County of Elgin