A salute to those who love the TCT
The Trans Canada Trail belongs to us all.
In each province and territory, we head outdoors with our friends and families to enjoy the Trail on foot, bike and horseback, in our canoes and kayaks, and on skis, dogsleds and snowmobiles.
We volunteer our time to maintain, build and celebrate our local sections of the Trail.
We retrace journeys that have been important to our communities throughout history, literally walking in the footsteps of our forebears.
It truly is our Trail.
The following people hail from far and wide – British Columbia, Yukon, Germany and points in between. They are Trail volunteers and Trail explorers, young and not-so-young; they are equestrians and snowmobilers, paddlers and hikers; they are long-distance trekkers and locally minded community organizers.
What they all have in common is a strong and vibrant connection to the TCT that does us all proud.
COMMUNITY: Prince George, British Columbia
CONNECTION TO TCT: A Trans Canada Trail ambassador and long-distance hiker, Dana crossed the country from east to west – a six-year journey of 26 million steps through large and small communities across Canada – and is tackling the northern leg of the TCT this summer.
“Hiking across the country has been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done, by far. The TCT is designed to connect communities, history, beauty, geography – and I love that idea.”
COMMUNITY: Stratford, Prince Edward Island
CONNECTION TO TCT: Doug is a true Trail champion. As a director of Island Trails (TCT’s provincial partner) for the past 21 years, Doug helped to set the wheels in motion for the Confederation Trail, a project he saw through to 100 per cent connection last year.
“One of the things I most value about the past 21 years has been working with local communities to develop sections of the Trail. Another is that I’ve had the opportunity to learn so much about the history of my province. The Confederation Trail is primarily built on the former bed of the P.E.I. railway, which first connected the island in 1875. So when I ride my bicycle in the countryside today, I feel a real connection with our ancestors, who would have travelled the very same route.”
COMMUNITY: Oakville, Ontario
CONNECTION TO TCT: After breaking his spine in a mountain-biking accident in 2008, Robert Buren went on to become the first Canadian paraplegic to complete a full Ironman Triathlon. He regularly uses the TCT for long-distance training, as part of a group that rides to Niagara Falls and back. Several times a month, he uses the TCT’s Waterfront Trail to zip in and out of Toronto to meet up with friends. Robert is also an avid mountain biker who is helping to redefine Trail accessibility and inclusion.
“Trails were an important part of my life before my accident. I loved hiking and camping – and every Sunday, I’d go mountain biking. When I broke my back, I was suddenly cut off from all that. Then, I got an off-road handcycle. That piece of equipment allows me to go back into the forest – it gives me access to my happy place.”
Melba Seto, Adam Kochanek, Magee Walker and Cedric Schell
COMMUNITY: Cedric & Magee are from Whistler, British Columbia; Adam & Melba are from Calgary, Alberta
CONNECTION TO TCT: As Woods Canada’s Dream Job Explorers, these two couples are on a five-month, 14-stop journey across the Trans Canada Trail. With Team Calgary starting in British Columbia and Team Whistler in Prince Edward Island, they will meet in the middle (Ontario) in July. Along the way, the teams will be sharing updates, videos and pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (follow the hashtag: #WoodsExplorer).
“Our goal in doing this is not just to have the adventure of a lifetime, but to encourage other Canadians to get outside and to explore the Trans Canada Trail.” –Magee Walker
COMMUNITY: Munich, Germany
CONNECTION TO TCT: Marco is a 27-year-old German student who embarked on an epic solo journey along a northern stretch of the Trans Canada Trail in 2014. Over 54 days, he paddled 2,700 kilometres from Fort McMurray, Alberta, along the Athabasca River, Slave River, Great Slave Lake and the Mackenzie River trails, all the way to Inuvik, Northwest Territories.
“I endured wind, rain, mosquitoes, deerflies and blackflies. I met bears, wolves, moose, caribou, beavers and eagles. I experienced the hospitality of northern people. I enjoyed the wilderness and the solitude, and feeling small and insignificant compared to these wide, beautiful and rough Canadian lands.”
COMMUNITY: Whitehorse, Yukon (born in Halifax, Nova Scotia)
CONNECTION TO TCT: As a volunteer with the Klondike Snowmobile Association, Harris tends roughly 200 kilometres of the TCT year-round, working six or seven hours a day, six days a week. In the winter, he packs the snow and grooms it for multiple uses, complete with a traditional cross-country ski track along the side. In the summer, he cuts fallen trees, repairs bridges and checks TCT’s signs.
“I do what I do because I love the outdoors. I love the TCT and I love to work on the trails. It can get a little cold in winter, but I can’t complain. I will groom until hell freezes over, then I’ll groom there, too.”
COMMUNITY: St-Basile-de-Portneuf, Quebec
CONNECTION TO TCT: As volunteers with the Club des randonneurs équestre de Portneuf, Gagné and her husband, Pierre Fiset, help plan Trail development, clear paths and build new stretches of the Trail.
“I volunteer because it benefits everyone who uses the Trail in my community, including myself! It’s really hard work, but it’s worth it. There’s nothing like being out on the Trail on your horse. I look forward to the day when we equestrians can go anywhere and everywhere – that’s what we’re all working for.”
Mayor Bryan Matheson
COMMUNITY: Lumsden, Saskatchewan
CONNECTION TO TCT: Mayor Matheson is a TCT Champion and volunteer who is putting the Trail on the map in his community.
“I have a lot of pride in my community. The Trans Canada Trail connects us to our country and represents many recreational pursuits, including walking, hiking, biking and canoeing. Having the TCT running through our community makes it an even better place to live in and to visit.”
COMMUNITY: Castlegar, British Columbia
CONNECTION TO TCT: Lawrence is a longtime director and past president of the Castlegar Friends of Parks and Trails Society.
“We’ve been trying to connect the Trail through our region for years. Now I know it will be connected in the next year or two, thanks to the support of the TCT. I am very excited to have Canada’s national Trail running through our town. It will be the backbone of our regional trail system. Trails are part of the economic diversification all communities need, and they improve people’s health – I see people from age two to 92 out enjoying the Trail. It’s a win-win for all of us..”
Oskar Nowicki and Sarah McCauley
COMMUNITY: Brampton, Ontario; Oskar immigrated to Canada from Lodz, Poland, ten years ago
CONNECTION TO TCT: From May to September 2014, Oskar and Sarah left their life behind to hike from Inuvik, Northwest Territories, to Drumheller, Alberta, a distance of 3,650 kilometres – mostly along the Trans Canada Trail.
“Sometimes we just need a wake-up call: we need to go out there and explore ourselves and nature.” –Oskar Nowicki
COMMUNITY: Paradise, Newfoundland and Labrador
CONNECTION TO TCT: President of the Newfoundland T’Railway Council.
“I like to see trails being developed as assets within communities. I volunteer because I like to give back to the community and I enjoy being part of something bigger than myself. I also volunteer because it is fun – probably the most important reason. Right now, we are looking at how we can celebrate the connection of the TCT nationally in 2017, and how we can keep the Trail vibrant and evolving for future generations..”
Joanie and Gary McGuffin
COMMUNITY: Goulais River, Ontario
CONNECTION TO TCT: Joanie and Gary McGuffin are conservation photographers and explorers who have spent years paddling across northern Ontario and photographing its wild landscapes, fodder for their captivating series of photography books. As founding members of the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy, they were instrumental in establishing the Lake Superior Water Trail section of the TCT.
“When Gary and I canoe or kayak on Lake Superior, we always feel as though we are paddling into history. This part of the TCT follows an ancient route through one of Canada’s most scenic landscapes, with billion-year-old headlands, soaring cliffs, volcanic rock islands, red sandstone and sweeping sand beaches. It is the greatest expanse of fresh water on the planet, one of the great paddling places on earth – and it is part of the Trans Canada Trail.”
The O’Neill family
COMMUNITY: Pictou County, Nova Scotia
CONNECTION TO TCT: Sally and Mick O’Neill, along with their kids Ben and Joe, volunteer with Active Pictou County in Nova Scotia. Working as that organization’s trail development co-ordinator, Sally is passionate about the benefits of the Trail for the community. Meanwhile, 13-year-old Ben is an energetic participant in Trail-building events, clearing brush, laying gravel and building benches.
“Why would I bike on a sidewalk when I could be exploring in the woods? Plus, it makes me proud to show my friends what I built. Trenton Park is the best!” –Ben
“We have energetic young people doing good work and trying to build a strong future for Nova Scotia, including working on the TCT in our community. It’s amazing to be a part of such a grand thing.” –Sally