Thanks to Anne Schlarp-McArthur for this article about Hike Leader Greg Vincent’s volunteer contributions working with so many young students and introducing them to the Bruce Trail and the outdoors. At the end of the article you can sign up for a tribute memorial hike on June 11, 2023 in honour of Greg and leave a message of condolence.
As a former dept head of Health and Physical Education at St. Paul CSS in Mississauga and member of the Bruce Trail Association, I was always looking for new ways to inspire my students to develop lifestyle activities that would carry-over to a lifetime of well-being. Since I loved hiking the Bruce Trail, I decided to implement hiking into the PHE curriculum at our school. I needed to find a leader and when I contacted the BTA, they gave me the name of Greg Vincent. That was 1998 and the rest is history.
Gregory Paul Vincent was born and raised in Toronto, The Beach and the city was his playground. Gregory was destined to be on the move and at the age of 15 and 16, he hitchhiked to New York City and Los Angeles. After high school, Greg started his career as RCAF Navigator and by the age of 35, he was Chief Air Traffic Controller. During that time, Greg completed a degree in psychology at York University. At age 40, Greg went on his first Bruce Trail hike and said to himself,” This is what I am going to do for the rest of my life.” Greg became a certified hike leader for the Toronto Bruce Trail club and led hikes for over 40 years.
From 1998 to 2013, Greg Vincent lead thousands of my students on a variety of Bruce Trail hikes. Greg was a dynamic leader; he lived and breathed hiking and upon meeting the students, he immediately inspired them all with his charming, charismatic ways. His love of life and hiking left a mark on them that would connect them to the Bruce trail, forever. Greg Vincent was an exemplary ambassador for the Bruce Trail. He led three end to end hikes on the Bruce Trail in 1996, 1998 and the year 2000. He also led other end to end hikes on various trails, day hikes, weekends away, as well as hiking holidays abroad. Greg was involved as a hike leader trainer for the Bruce Trail Club and helped develop the program. He developed and taught map and compass courses and authored” The Right Stuff-Hiking Safety and Tips”
Photo, Courtesy, Jamie Hember
Greg demonstrated what it meant to be fit and maintain an active lifestyle; to be passionate about the outdoors and the Bruce Trail. Year after year, the students were in awe of how he was able to climb those hills at the Forks of the Credit, as they huffed and puffed their way over Devil’s pulpit. Every year the students let me know, that the hike with Greg was one of their favorite activities of the year. Everybody was able to experience success in completing the exhilarating 10k hike that Greg Vincent planned for the class. Hiking brought out the best in the students, as they developed confidence, made new friends and definitely felt the stress relief of being in the outdoors and challenging themselves. They all came home recharged with a renewed sense of appreciation for Mother Nature and gratitude for the Bruce Trail. Such a simple, accessible activity as hiking, brought so much joy.
My connection with Greg in 1998, was the beginning of a wonderful friendship that has continued for the past 22 years. Now that I am at the Faculty of Education at York, Greg led my Teacher Candidates on hikes; and I am confident they will plant that same seed of loving and connecting with nature and the Bruce Trail with their future students. Greg had that magical connection that was able to cross language barriers and diverse cultures.
Once I retired from high school teaching, a former student, Alana Driscoll, became a PHE teacher and reconnected with Greg Vincent. For another six years, Alana invited Greg to lead her class hikes with Father Redmond CSS and the cycle continued.
What is especially wonderful, is that the passion for hiking that Greg instilled in so many student’s hearts, now continues as they have grown up, married, had families of their own and continue to hike the Bruce Trail with their youngsters. That is a gift that keeps on giving.
Every summer, I looked forward to connecting with Greg Vincent and his wife Jeanette, to complete a hike, reminisce over the many fun times we shared, hiking with decades of students.…
Greg Vincent remained an incredible advocate for the benefits of hiking and is a real inspiration as a wonderful, caring human being. Greg has touched so many hearts and souls with his joie de vivre and I thank him for saying yes to that first hike in 1998. He exemplified all the very best of the Bruce Trail Conservancy.
Condolences – leave a message here:
We have planned a tribute hike in June – details below:
Purpose: A Tribute Hike for Gregory Vincent in honour of his contribution to the Bruce Trail Conservancy, Toronto Bruce Trail Club,
Grand Valley Trails Association and other similar organizations which he enjoyed.
Please join Jeanette Vincent, family and friends to celebrate Greg’s love of hiking, nature and the outdoors.
Hike: Sunday, June 11, 2023, Time: 10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location: Crawford Lake Conservation Area. 3115 Conservation Rd, Milton, ON L9T 2X3
Please visit the Toronto Bruce Trail hike calendar for details and to register at https://hikes.brucetrail.org/
B.Ed, BPHE, OCT