Canada’s trail-building legacy

Neil Yeates says that connecting the Trail wasn’t the end of our journey – it just marked a transition into the future. Chris Istace

Neil Yeates says that connecting the Trail wasn’t the end of our journey – it just marked a transition into the future. Chris Istace

Making a passion for the outdoors part of our way of life

A message from Neil Yeates, Chair of the TCT Board

Trail-building has always been an important part of Canada’s heritage. A country as big as ours would remain largely impenetrable without the efforts of generations of trail-builders – from Indigenous people, pioneers and explorers to dedicated agencies and trail associations.

A passion for the outdoors is deeply ingrained in what we have come to see as the Canadian way of life. Building on this foundation, Trans Canada Trail (TCT) is committed to providing people with opportunities to connect with one another as well as with the Canadian landscape.

Like many Canadians, I personally treasure the time I spend on The Great Trail. My wife and I often cycle along the Trail near the Ottawa River, enjoying sights like the Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill, the Canadian War Museum and the lovely views of Gatineau across the river. I also love venturing into the wilderness, especially when I hike along the Trail in the Rocky Mountains.

Just over 12 months since our cross-Canada connection, we’re thrilled to see more and more Canadians becoming aware of The Great Trail. Most recently, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society chose to bestow their prestigious Gold Medal to the Trail in recognition of our efforts over the past 26 years. Our achievements are thanks to countless donors, volunteers, Trail groups and all levels of government. In particular, I’d like to thank the TCT Board and all our past board directors for their valued contributions over the years.

With such a wide variety in experiences, scenery and activities – including cross-country skiing, hiking, cycling, paddling and horseback riding – The Great Trail offers something for people with different interests, abilities and preferences. Nevertheless, we know that the Trail can be even better, and we continue to fundraise to support its enhancement.

This year, we published our new strategic plan for 2018 to 2022. Our plan involves developing new Trail sections that showcase the majestic beauty of Canadian landscapes, converting roadways to greenways where possible, and assisting in the repair of damage caused by natural disasters. We are also working to increase accessibility and strengthen our bonds with Indigenous communities, Trail groups and partners at all levels, as well as with tourism associations.

I feel a great sense of gratitude for the Trail whenever I enjoy a section of it across Canada. I invite you to use the Trail as well, no matter where you are, and to discover your own connection to it.

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