A message from Deborah Apps, President & CEO, Trans Canada Trail, National Champion
This year has been a memorable one, marked by wonderful milestones that led to an unforgettable culmination – a celebration of the cross-Canada connection of The Great Trail. Canada is now home to the longest recreational trail in the world, thanks to the generosity, dedication and hard work of people across the country.
So what does connection mean? It means that 80 per cent of Canadians, or 29 million people, are now within 30 minutes of The Great Trail. Across our country, everyone can enjoy access to a trail that promotes better health, environmentally friendly activities and diverse culture. With connection, we envision The Great Trail becoming a “bucket list” destination for tourists and fellow Canadians, bringing economic benefits to every province and territory in the country.
Amid our celebrations, we acknowledge the steadfast support of volunteers, donors and all levels of government. Without local trail groups, outdoor enthusiasts and generous individuals and organizations, there would be no Great Trail.
I’m so grateful to Valerie Pringle and Hartley Richardson, two focused and passionate individuals who served as co-chairs of our visionary Chapter 150 Campaign. Without their dedication, and that of the Foundation board and Cabinet, connection would not have been possible.
Outgoing TCT board chair Paul LaBarge, TCT’s longest-serving volunteer, has been a passionate advocate for TCT. Although his term as board chair recently ended, his enthusiasm for the Trail remains as strong as ever.
Adding to the celebratory sensation, the photos of people who attended connection events all across Canada convey the same palpable joy and zeal that we felt at our August 26 celebration in Ottawa. This nationwide enthusiasm is a testament to the importance of this grand project – and evidence that The Great Trail will be enjoyed and protected for generations.
As we look to the future, we still have much to accomplish. Our goal is to continue our work to make the Trail more accessible, to develop more greenway sections and to add new loops and spurs for adventurous Trail users. We also look forward to continued collaboration with Indigenous peoples, whose culture and traditions are deeply ingrained in our land and our history. We have much to learn from them, and look forward to many more opportunities to collaborate.
As we celebrate this phenomenal 25-year success, it’s time to look ahead. Our next steps will be crucial in venturing onto a new path to ensure the protection of The Great Trail for future generations. Only with this vision can this legacy project continue to give back to Canadians, now and always.