Sharing personal connections to The Great Trail

Darren Yelton

Historical connection

Darren Yelton was born in North Vancouver, B.C. and began carving alongside his father and brothers at the age of 13. He has studied under numerous artists from the Squamish Indian Band, and took over the duties of totem pole carving before continuing to create as a freelance artist. His works reflect a rich ancestral and cultural history, as well as a deep connection to Canadian land that has been forged over thousands of years. 

“The welcome designs that I created symbolize towards all people, that they can use this trail in peace and friendship”

Karen Edwards

Deeply balanced

When she needs to reflect, recharge and re-centre, Saskatchewan artist Karen Edwards turns to The Great Trail, situated not far from her home in Saskatoon. A lifelong biker, runner and paddleboarder, Karen considers the inspiration she draws from the Trail an essential part of her artistic process, as well as a powerful source for her meditation practice. The Trail gives her access to both nature and humanity, fuelling a vibrant sense of connection, creativity and well-being. 

“It’s so much more than a trail, it’s balance in my life”

Timothy Léger

Deeply inspired

Timmy Léger’s 8,000-kilometre bike ride across Canada is intended to honour the memory of his grandmother, and also to support his 98-year-old grandfather, who is battling bladder cancer. Timmy’s mission on The Great Trail might be solo, but it’s definitely not lonely. Though he’s only a few weeks into his journey, he has made many new connections along the Trail as he raises funds for a future where no family has to suffer from the devastating effects of cancer.

“I really think that, one day, kids won’t have to suffer… and that, one day, the word cancer will be erased.”

Daniel Baylis

Deeply moved

Professional photographer Daniel Baylis sees his relationship with the Trail as an extension of himself.  A west coast native and nature enthusiast, Daniel grew up surrounded by the serenity of the outdoors, and went on to hike trails around the world. He believes that walking in nature can be a moving experience with the power to calm, teach and transcend differences – ultimately to unite us all.

“I think in our day-to-day life we’re pretty focused on our deliverables, and how we can be more productive. The Trail – wilderness in general – really is an antidote to that. The Great Trail is a great way for Canadians to access wilderness.”

Melanie Vogel

Deeply immersed

Few get to fully explore Canada in its entirety.  German-born Mel Vogel has made it her mission to get to know our country in one of the most immersive ways possible – by crossing The Great Trail on foot. After moving to Ontario, Mel originally intended to take to the Trail for up to two years, but has since extended her journey to three years as she continues to make her way from Newfoundland to British Columbia.

“What I experienced is the power of the Canadian people… this Trail actually makes you understand how good people are, because you will experience so much kindness and hospitality.”