Trans Canada Trail spans all 13 provinces and territories
Friday, March 24, 2017, 3:00 PM - Canadians have plenty of outdoor opportunities to look forward to year-round on 'The Great Trail,' also known as the Trans Canada Trail (TCT). Currently, the TCT is 91 per cent connected, providing Canadians with more than 21,500 kilometres of free, recreational trail. The TCT’s goal is to fully connect the Trail and Canadians by August 2017, to coincide with summer celebrations of 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.
A Moment on The Great Trail PHOTO CONTEST: Explore the Trans Canada Trail and upload your best images until July 1, 2017 for a chance to WIN!
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. 80 per cent of Canadians live within 30 minutes of The Great Trail, and 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 Great 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
Prince Edward Island: Brudenell River Bridge on the Confederation Trail
Prince Edward Island's Confederation Trail currently spans 410 kilometres across the entire province. It passes through the rural community of Brudenell, over their namesake river on a pedestrian bridge which was once a railway structure. Brudenell is just one of the many attractions along PEI’s Confederation Trail, where visitors and residents alike can enjoy many activities including walking, hiking, running and cycling. The Confederation Trail opened for use in 1994 and has continued to develop ever since, making PEI the second province to complete its section of the TCT. Full connection is in sight for September 2014, when the final 30 kilometres of the Confederation Trail will be built, and PEI will have over 450 kilometres of operational trail.
Photo credit: Doug Murray
Alberta: Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park
Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park spans over 12 kilometres along the north shore of the Bow River between the City of Calgary and the Town of Cochrane, Alberta. A long-time ranching family, the Harvie family, gifted the land to the Province in 2006, with the vision of preserving this spectacular natural working landscape that was integral to the history of the area. For trail advocates and recreational users, the Park provided an important opportunity for a trail connection between the two communities. The Park also provided a unique opportunity to celebrate and showcase Alberta’s rich ranching history and culture. In 2011, a new trail through Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park was officially designated as part of the Trans Canada Trail, allowing visitors to experience the area’s native flora and fauna and breathtaking views of the Bow River valley landscape. The Trans Canada Trail in Alberta is currently 59 per cent complete, with 1,200 kilometres left to connect in time for Canada’s 150th Birthday celebrations in 2017. Once complete, the Trans Canada Trail will stretch some 3,000 kilometres through the province, connecting to Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.
Photo credit: Betty Anne Graves
Yukon Territory: Whitehorse Copper Trail
The Whitehorse Copper Trail is the main line of the Trans Canada Trail in Whitehorse, Yukon. It runs north to south, just west of urban Whitehorse. The Copper Trail is named after the old Copper Haul Road, running through a copper belt last mined in the 1970s. The Trail connects many of the major multi-use trail areas around Whitehorse, from Fish Lake Road in the north down to the Peter Greenlaw Memorial Bridge over Wolf Creek in the south. This Trail serves snowmobilers, skiers and dog-sledders in winter, and hikers and cyclists in the summer. Main access to the Trail is via the Fish Lake Road, Mt Sima road and several urban connector trails that lead to the various residential areas of Whitehorse. The Trans Canada Trail is currently 92.1 per cent connected in the Yukon, with a total of 125 kilometres left to connect by 2017.
Photo credit: Klondike Snowmobile Association
Quebec: Parcours des Anses
The city of Lévis is located on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, looking across to Quebec City directly opposite, and is home to the Trans Canada Trail’s Parcours des Anses trail. Officially inaugurated as a section of the Trans Canada Trail in 2007, this picturesque fully-paved Trail spans 13 kilometres and winds along the St. Lawrence River, offering visitors the opportunity to walk, cycle or rollerblade. Trail-users can enjoy views of magnificent bridges, old wartime fortifications as well as Quebec City’s world famous hotel, the Chateau Frontenac, along this urban trail. Quebec’s section of the Trans Canada Trail is nearly complete at 96.3 per cent, with just over 50 kilometres left to connect by 2017.
Photo credit: Conseil québécois du sentier Transcanadien
Ontario: Toronto Waterfront Trail
The province of Ontario is home to almost 3,500 kilometres of the Trans Canada Trail, including the Toronto Waterfront Trail. Currently 100 kilometres long, this section of the TCT runs from the town of Pickering to Hamilton, connecting approximately four million Canadians. The Toronto Waterfront Trail is considered an urban gateway to Lake Ontario, as it runs along its shore, with spectacular views of Toronto’s downtown core, including tourist attractions like the CN Tower. The Trans Canada Trail in Ontario is currently 68 per cent complete, with just over 1,600 kilometres left to connect by 2017. Once fully connected, Ontario will have the longest section of the Trans Canada Trail in Canada, spanning over 5,000 kilometres.
Photo credit: Trans Canada Trail Ontario
Northwest Territories: Slave River
In the Northwest Territories, the Trans Canada Trail is composed of mainly water trails that traverse more than 2,200 kilometres. Among these trails is the entire Slave River, which stretches from Great Slave Lake all the way to Peace-Athabasca Delta in Alberta. The Slave River was once the trade route followed by First Nations and the earliest European explorers. Now, in the summer, it turns into a playground for boaters, kayakers and canoeists. The Trans Canada Trail in the Northwest Territories is currently 98.2 per cent connected, covering almost 3,000 kilometres, most of which are water trails; only 52 kilometres remain to be connected by 2017.
Photo credit: NWT Recreation and Parks Association (NWTRPA)
Nova Scotia: Celtic Shores Coastal Trail
The Trans Canada Trail’s Celtic Shores Coastal Trail in Nova Scotia is a 92-kilometre multi-use trail stretching from Port Hastings to the Town of Inverness on the west coast of Cape Breton Island. This flat trail is open year-round and is ideal for cyclists, hikers, runners, skiers, snowmobilers and horseback riders. It traces the coastline, winding through picturesque wilderness, skirting streams, and connecting several communities. Attractions include some of the best live Celtic music on the island and a unique Gaelic culture. The Trans Canada Trail in Nova Scotia currently spans almost 400 kilometres and is 41 per cent complete, with just over 500 kilometres left to connect for 2017.
Photo credit: Celtic Shores Coastal Trail