It is with regret that we note the passing of Dr. Norman Pearson, a founding member of the Bruce Trail, on August 8, 2014 in London, Ontario.
Trained at the University of Durham, England, as a Town and Country Planner, Dr. Pearson was Director of Planning with the former Hamilton-Wentworth Planning Board, Commissioner of Planning for the City of Burlington, and Founder of the School of Rural Planning at the University of Guelph. Dr. Pearson held the position of President at numerous academic institutions including Greenleaf University, Colorado-Canada Pacific Western University, Greenwich University, and the International University of Advanced Studies. He published 15 books and about 200 papers in refereed journals and chapters in books.
Dr. Pearson had an early passion for conservation and environmental matters, and became a member of the Hamilton Naturalists Club at the same time as Ray Lowes, the person who originated the idea of the Bruce Trail. Dr. Pearson sat on the inaugural Bruce Trail Committee with other Bruce Trail founders Ray Lowes, Philip Gosling and Dr. Robert MacLaren, and the first meeting of the committee was held at the Pearson residence in September 1960. He went on to become the first President of the Bruce Trail Conservancy (known at the time as the Bruce Trail Association). Regarding the beginnings of the Bruce Trail Association, Dr. Pearson commented "We decided to become operational. Dr. MacLaren produced a brown paper bag, we each threw in $100 and suddenly we were one entity with three hundred dollars capital".
Dr. Pearson's Bruce Trail legacy includes his written tribute to the Trail he loved, "The Making of the Bruce Trail 1954-2004". Conservationists and recreationists alike who enjoy and appreciate the value of the Bruce Trail owe a debt of thanks for Dr. Pearson's role in the creation of the Bruce Trail and the preservation of our irreplaceable Niagara Escarpment.