The Trans Canada Trail will be the world's longest, spanning all 13 provinces and territories
Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 4:16 PM - Canadians have plenty of outdoor opportunities to look forward to year-round on our national Trail, the Trans Canada Trail (TCT). Right now, the TCT is 75 per cent connected, providing Canadians with more than 17,000 kilometres of free, recreational trail. The TCT’s goal is to fully connect the Trail and Canadians by 2017, to coincide with Canada’s 150th birthday. When complete, the TCT will be the world’s longest and grandest network of multi-use recreational trails, spanning almost 24,000 kilometres, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic oceans.
The Trans Canada Trail was launched in Prince Edward Island in 1992 with the goal of uniting Canadians and celebrating the country’s natural beauty and diverse cultures and heritage. Now, the Trans Canada Trail travels through nearly 1,000 Canadian communities, preserves green space and promotes environmental stewardship. There are approximately 500 individual trails in the TCT network.
Take a look below to learn about the progress of the Trans Canada Trail and discover beautiful TCT sections in each of Canada’s provinces and territories. To find the section of the Trail nearest you, visit their interactive map at www.tctrail.ca.
British Columbia: NorthStar Rails to Trails
On the NorthStar Rails to Trails section of the Trans Canada Trail in southeastern British Columbia—located between Cranbrook and Kimberley—cyclists, walkers, skateboarders and rollerbladers can enjoy breathtaking scenery year-round. Rich greenery covers the landscape at the halfway mark on this 26-kilometre section of paved trail. With the stunning Purcell Mountain range as a backdrop, the Trail offers a view of rock formations dating back almost 1.5 billion years. The Trans Canada Trail in British Columbia currently spans over 2,000 kilometres through dozens of distinct communities, from Victoria to Elk Pass at the Alberta border. Currently, 675 kilometres need to be connected by 2017 in order for B.C.’s section of the Trans Canada Trail to be complete.
Photo Credit: Al Skucas
Manitoba: Pinawa Trail
The Pinawa section of the Trans Canada Trail in Manitoba offers hikers and mountain-bikers 30 kilometres of scenic trail through the boreal forest and Canadian Shield. Starting from the Pinawa Dam Provincial Heritage Park, the Trail traverses peaceful forests and runs along granite ridges, to the Seven Sisters Generating Station. The Trail is home to diverse wildlife such as bear, deer, marten and foxes, as well as a wide variety of migratory and native birds in an environment so pristine many say it seems untouched by humans. The Trans Canada Trail in Manitoba will stretch across almost 1,500 kilometres, with only 118 kilometres to connect in time for 2017.
Photo credit: Trails Manitoba
New Brunswick: Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge in Fredericton
The Trans Canada Trail in New Brunswick touches three other provinces, starting at the Québec border in Dégelis and connecting to Nova Scotia then PEI via the Confederation Bridge. In Fredericton, the Trail runs along the Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge, crossing the St. John River. Spanning almost 2,000 feet, the structure may very well be the longest railway bridge ever converted to a pedestrian bridge. The bridge was originally built in 1888, only to be carried away by a spring ice jam in 1936, and rebuilt at a higher elevation in 1938. In 1997, after the last train crossed it, it officially became a walking bridge. The Bill Thorpe Walking Bridge got its name from a former Fredericton city councillor and advocate of walking trails. New Brunswick’s section of the Trans Canada Trail is almost 60 per cent connected, with almost 370 kilometres to complete in time for 2017.
Photo credit: Kevin Maillet
Saskatchewan: Elbow View Trail
The late Canadian author Farley Mowat once described the village of Elbow, Saskatchewan as “a typical prairie village with an unpaved main street as wide as the average Ontario farm.” The main street has since been paved, and just beyond the village, nestled in the lush green fields of southwestern Saskatchewan, Trans Canada Trail’s Elbow View Trail stretches north along Lake Diefenbaker —named after John G. Diefenbaker, the 13th Prime Minister of Canada— and ends in Danielson Provincial Park. Elbow’s name was derived from the bend in the South Saskatchewan River, where the village was built. The Trans Canada Trail in Saskatchewan is currently 34 per cent complete, with almost 1,000 kilometres left to connect in time for 2017.
Photo credit: Trans Canada Trail
Newfoundland and Labrador: Wreckhouse Trail
Located on the southwestern coast of the island of Newfoundland, Trans Canada Trail’s Wreckhouse Trail stretches from Port-aux-Basques to the Codroy Valley. The Trail section is named after train wreckages caused by the 200 k.p.h. winds that sweep across this former stretch of railway. One former resident was said to possess the ability to smell the Wreckhouse winds and determine whether it was safe for trains to pass through. Today, hikers and cyclists on the Wreckhouse Trail can enjoy scenic beaches, views of the Long Range Mountains, windswept coastal barrens, and tuckamore, the local term for trees that have been severely twisted by the Wreckhouse winds. Newfoundland and Labrador is the first among the Canadian provinces and territories to lay claim to a fully connected section of the Trans Canada Trail, spanning almost 900 kilometres.
Photo credit: Newfoundland T'Railway Council
Nunavut: Itijjagiaq Trail
The Trans Canada Trail’s Itijjagiaq Trail in Nunavut starts at the south entrance of Katannilik Territorial Park and spans 120 kilometres all the way to Nunavut’s capital of Iqaluit. Rivers, lakes and hills on the plateau above the river valley mark the Trail on either side, providing beautifully austere scenery for the hikers and snowmobilers who use the Trail year-round. The Trans Canada Trail in Nunavut used to be the route of choice for dog-sled teams, which were once the only means of transportation in the region. Today, snowmobilers are said to travel in some eight hours what used to take dog-sled teams five days to accomplish. The Trans Canada Trail in Nunavut is currently 99.9% per cent complete, with less than one kilometre left to connect in time for 2017.
Photo credit: Nunavut Territorial Parks
NEXT PAGE: SEE THE BEAUTY OF TRAILS 7-13
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