Prior to the inception of the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs in 1967, snowmobile clubs across the province operated independently from one another. This is an overview of the many historical milestones that have contributed to the growth and sustainability of snowmobiling in Ontario today.
Prior to 1967, the snowmobile clubs in the provinces operated independently of each other.
On February 4, the Huronia Snow Riders of Midland hosts a gathering of representatives from 16 snowmobile clubs across the province at the Four Seasons Holiday Inn in Victoria Harbour. At the meeting, John Power, President of the Huronia Snow Riders, stressed that only through the cooperation of all clubs sending a representative to a provincial meeting would snowmobiling grow. At the meeting, a majority vote made the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs a reality.
- The ‘zone’ concept is introduced as the basis of OFSC board representation.
- The first paid employee is hired by the OFSC.
- Club Membership fee of $15 and individual membership fee of $2.50.
The Ontario Trails Council is started in the early 70’s.
- The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs becomes incorporated.
- OFSC contracts with Ontario Snowmobiler, owned by Reg Fyfe, to communicate with its members.
- Membership grows to 70 clubs.
- Snoplan, supported by Bombardier, is introduced to simplify and encourage the establishment of well-groomed, marked trails.
- The OFSC publishes its own newsletter to better communicate with members.
- Bill 161 transformed into the Motorized Snowmobile Act and Driver Training Program concept is discussed by the Provincial Government.
- The Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO) is formed.
- OFSC names the Easter Seal Society as a Preferred Charity.
- Membership grows to 160 clubs.
Driver Training Program is founded.
Membership grows to 250 clubs.
Trail Signage Program is started with grant monies from the government.
The organization known later as Ontario Trail Builders Alliance (OTBA) is incorporated in September as the Public MSV Trail Builders Alliance.
- The OFSC Driver Training Program flourishes and trains an average of 4,500 students per year by the end of the decade.
- Driver Training Program is implemented following Bill 161 which makes it law for snowmobile operators to be licensed.
- The SNO Trails concept is established.
- New trail SNO One (East to West from Alexandria to Kincardine) is opened.
- The Ontario Government cancels snowmobile funding.
- The Ministry of Natural Resources ceases snowmobile trail operations.
- New Trails SNO Two (Huronia to Thunder Bay), SNO Three (Niagara to SNO One) and SNO Four (Kincardine to Sarnia) are opened.
- Government decides to discontinue funding for trail maintenance and development. Under the Trespass and Occupier’s Liability Acts the clubs became the landowners’ agents under a signed Landowner’s Permission Agreement.
- OFSC adopts a user-pay Trail Permit system and Trail Funding Program.
- The OFSC Trail Warden Program is implemented.
OFSC partners with the Ontario Snowmobiler Magazine published by Terry Kehoe.
- OFSC zones increase from 16 to 23 regions.
- Ontario Trail Builder’s Alliance and OFSC re-unite as one provincial organization.
University of Waterloo Study confirms economic impact of organized snowmobiling.
- Phase 1 of SNO-TRAC (Snowmobile Trail Rehabilitation and Construction) is implemented using the $14 million presented by Shelley Martel at an AGM. This funding placed 37 new groomers and 16 new drags on the snow. Phase 1 and 2 of Safe Smooth Trails (SST) is implemented.
- OFSC moves into first office outside of a private home.
- Ross Edmonstone is hired as OFSC’s first General Manager.
- OFSC adopts a new Five Year Strategic Plan.
- The Northern Ontario Snowmobile Development Study is completed.
- The Ontario Snowmobile Safety Committee is formed and launches the ‘Ride-Safe, Ride-Sober’ campaign.
- OFSC launches the SledSmart Public Education Safety Program.
- Main Trail, a publication for member clubs and volunteers makes its debut.
- OFSC Districts (17) were set-up following and Operational Review conducted by F.J. Galloway and Associates.
- The Snowmobile Trail Officer Patrol (S.T.O.P.) program is launched as a pilot project in Sudbury.
- The 95/96 season marks the 30th anniversary for the OFSC and is celebrated with 7 months of snow in many parts of Northern Ontario.
- Snowmobile Trail Officer Patrol (S.T.O.P) Program receives a green light from the Solicitor General to expand province-wide.
- The $100,000 “Conserving Ontario’s Last Frontier” Environment Campaign kicks into high gear.
Official launch of the new border to border TOP (Trans Ontario Provincial) Trail system. Three years and $21 million in the making under the SNO-TRAC partnership between the Province and the OFSC, these showcase trails were the backbone of a dramatic new winter opportunity for Ontarians.
- TOP Trail Guide takes a quantum leap forward transforming from a conceptual overview to a more accurate cartography.
- OFSC hosts the 1997 Summit on Snowmobiling II in North Bay.
OFSC participates in Rendez-Vous 98, launching the Trans Canadian Snowmobile Trail with a cross Canada ride.
- 100,000 permits sold in 2000.
- OFSC launches a custom Permit Tracking System (PTS) to significantly improve tracking, reconciliation, and reporting of the 150,000 permits distributed and returned by member organizations.
- The OFSC website reaches 2.6 million hits.
- Online tools and resources introduced for member clubs.
- Snowmobiling ranked by Ontario tourism experts as having the second highest overall growth potential of any recreational activity in that sector (fishing was #1).
- Bill 101 makes it a legal requirement for most snowmobiles using an OFSC Prescribed Snowmobile Trail to have and display a valid permit.
- OFSC has representation on the Board of Northern Ontario Marketing Corporation and on Winter Tourism Committee of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership.
- The OFSC partners with OTMPC to host the Winter Experience Symposium for provincial government officials and Ontario and international media.
OFSC enters into partnership with OTMPC launching the Snowmobile Paradise Ontario Campaign.
With the support of the media and snowmobile manufacturers, OFSC developed the “Save Ontario Snowmobiling” (SOS) Campaign to give frustrated snowmobilers a chance to add their voice and weight of numbers.
- The OFSC’s Trail & Safety Sustainability (TSS) partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation ends March 31.
- OFSC launches the new Groomer Replacement Program in an effort to be fair to all member clubs.
- To better protect insurability, the OFSC developed snowmobiling’s first and most comprehensive Risk Management program.
- OFSC moves its corporate office to 501 Welham Rd in Barrie.
OFSC celebrates 40 years and launches Team OFSC and Go Snowmobiling.
The first issue of Go Snowmobiling Ontario Magazine (in partnership with Supertrax) is mailed to every permit buying household in Ontario.
- With support of many partners, the Go Snowmobiling Campaign benefits from the equivalent of $1 million in donated advertising. This initiative attracted many first timers, brought former riders back and expanded participation within families by encouraging more people to ride in Ontario.
- Online permit sales go live fall 2009.
- Classic permits made available for 09/10 season for snowmobiles 15 years or older.
- $205,505 raised for the Easter Seal Society of Ontario through Snowarama.
- OFSC makes history and elects first female president, Brenda Welsh.
- $6.5 Million invested in trail Improvements with the National Trail Coalition (NTC) funding program.
- Interactive Trail Guide goes live November 1, 2010 providing riders with a state-of-the-art, online mapping tool for trip and ride planning.
- Online permit sales saw significant growth along with Classic permit sales, both of which make permit buying easier, while offering customers more choice.
- Groomer Fleet Tracking technology installed in provincial fleet.
- Permit sales reach target of 75,000 while Classic permit sales saw an increase of 38%. This speaks to increased participation among families, who are putting permits on more sleds, and to returning riders who are sampling our trails again with their older sleds.
- OFSC partners with OTMPC and Ontario Snow Resorts to launch a pilot project campaign to promote winter throughout the broader GTA via The Weather Network.
- OFSC offers the no cost Try Our Trails permit for the Family Day weekend. Over 15,000 sleds registered to experience Ontario trails.