The Ignatius Jesuit Centre features over 15 kilometers of trail – places to walk, run, hike, snowshoe, and ski; natural settings that allow people to reconnect with the land. Our trail system draws from the geography and history of the Centre and trails traverse the many diverse landscapes and ecosystems.
Download a map of our trails in print-friendly PDF format.
West Side Trails
The Chardin Trail was named after Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., one of the first Jesuits to write about ecological issues. A section of the Chardin Trail was dedicated to the memory of Jane Buse, a former member of the Ignatius Farm Community who lost her life to cancer. Known as the Daffodil Path, it serves as a celebratory walk for other cancer survivors and their families.
The Chardin Trail features a former gravel pit that is slowly being rehabilitated as native plants take hold in the arid landscape. To assist in this process, and to create a buffer from the sound and sight of Highway 6, trees have been planted in the gravel pit and adjacent fields that were formerly used for cattle grazing.
Great Auk Trail
The predominant features of this trail are the wetlands of the provincially significant Marden South Wetland Complex. The trail was named in honour of the Great Auk, a flightless bird that became extinct in the mid-19th century. Great Auks walked slowly and sometimes used their wings to help them traverse rough terrain — appropriate qualities for trail hiking. Another interesting feature of the Great Auk Trail is the stone labyrinth. Built in 2011 with stones from the Centre’s fields, it is a smaller model of the grass labyrinth located near Loyola House.
The Catherine Donnelly Walk
The Catherine Donnelly Walk leads to the entrances of the “Stations of the Cross” and “Stations of the Cosmos” located adjacent the community gardens.
Martin Royackers, SJ Trail
The Martin Royackers Trail is dedicated in memory of Martin Royackers, SJ. Fr. Martin was a member of the Ignatius Farm Community and chaplain at the University of Guelph in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. He moved to Annotto Bay, Jamaica in 1994 to join the pastoral team at St. Theresa’s Parish. He helped to establish a co-operative for farmers and strove to improve education for local children. Tragically, Fr. Martin was shot and killed on the doorsteps to St. Theresa’s in 2001. His brutal murder at the hands of an unknown assailant is widely believed to have been triggered by his efforts to secure land for indigent farmers.
The Martin Royackers Trail runs along the western edge of Marden Creek with sections overlooking some of the farmland Fr. Martin once worked.
The Back 40 Trail
Fondly nicknamed the “back 40,” these 40 acres of woodland and field are home to deer, wild turkeys, songbirds and honeybees. The back 40 is the site of a remnant sugar maple grove, once used by the Jesuits for the production of maple syrup. This trail is located along the western property boundary.
The North Star Trail
Named after the North Star, sometimes referred to as Polaris, the North Star Trail runs along the northern property boundary and passes one of the Centre’s hermitages, the Old Orchard Hermitage.
The River Cardoner Trail
The River Cardoner Trail is named after the River Cardoner in Spain, where in 1522 St. Ignatius of Loyola had the most significant vision of his life. The vision opened his eyes to see creation in a new light, endowing all things with deeper meaning. Finding God in all things would ultimately become one of the hallmarks of Ignatian spirituality.
The River Cardoner Trail traverses over farmland, past the Centre’s New Creation Hermitage and continues through a cedar and silver maple swamp before connecting with the North Star Trail.
East Side Trails – Ignatius Old-Growth Forest
Old Villa by the Speed Trail
Named after the ruins of the former Villa located on the east side of Highway 6, this trail follows the old laneway to the Villa ruins on the banks of the Speed River. The Old Villa was a summer home for the Jesuits who were studying and living on the west side of Highway 6 at the St. Stanislaus Novitiate.
The Holzer Trail
The Holzer Trail is named after Fr. John Holzer, SJ, one of the first Jesuits to arrive in Guelph. In 1852 along with a small group of Jesuits, he came to Guelph to serve as pastor of the Church of Our Lady. Fr. Holzer and this group of Jesuits played an important role in establishing area churches, schools, convents, and Guelph’s St. Joseph’s Hospital.
James (Jim) Profit, SJ Trail
“There is an amazing ability of humans to receive spiritual healing from the earth…” James Profit, SJ
James (Jim) Profit was born in Summerside, P.E.I. on August 12, 1956. He entered the Jesuits on August 23, 1980 and was ordained May 25, 1991. Jim’s commitment to healthy sustainable agriculture and his connection to the land would mark his entire life. After a long struggle with cancer, Jim died in his native P.E.I. on January 11, 2014. His faith-filled struggle against his cancer, which he believed was related to the illness of the earth itself, has been a source of inspiration to many.
This trail was one of Jim’s favourite places to walk and is a representation of his connection to water. The trail follows Marden Creek to the Speed River and continues along the Speed, under mature pines and cedars and through hemlocks and hardwoods, to the eastern boundary of the Old-Growth Forest lands.
The Creation Trail
In gratitude to the Ursuline Sisters of Chatham, Ontario; for their calling and work in ecology, education and care of the natural world. May all who walk these trails experience and connect with the intricate and abundant beauty of creation.
The trail journeys through a mixed hardwood forest of cherry, ash and beech, many of which are impressively old and gnarly. Lined with conifers, it follows the banks of the Speed River for a short distance to the Old Villa and then opens up into a meadow that has been planted with over a thousand native trees and shrubs as part of the restoration work of the Ignatius Old-Growth Forest project.
In consideration of the activities and routine operations of the Centre, we ask that you try to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Please stay as much as possible on trails and roadways.
- Dogs must be on a leash at all times. We do not have any off-leash areas on the property. Our trails are meant to provide a safe and peaceful environment that can be enjoyed by all.
- Please refrain from feeding the wildlife abundant on the property.
- Leave gates and doors in the same position you find them.
- Please report any damages or unusual activity to our Property Manager at 519.824.1250 Ext.277
- If you see an injured animal or one acting in a strange manner, please contact us immediately.
- Please refrain from taking flower cuttings or picking fruits and berries from plants.
- Please refrain from uprooting woody or herbaceous plants for transplanting.
- Please bring garbage home—help us keep our lands free of debris!