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The Trans Canada Trail

Canadians Build a Recreational Trail Through Every Province and Territory

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Trans Canada Trail - Caledon Trailway, S. Ontario

Trans Canada Trail - Caledon Trailway, S. Ontario

© Flickr user Michael Gil (CC BY 2.0)

Updated: 05/15/14

About the Trans Canada Trail

The Trans Canada Trail is the world's longest network of shared-use recreation trails that, when completed, will go through all provinces and territories in Canada, and stretch more than 23,000 kilometres (over 14,000 miles) from the Atlantic to Pacific and Arctic Oceans. The Trans Canada Trail is being used for walking, hiking, cycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and, in some areas, snowmobiling and canoeing.

Whether you want some healthy exercise, want to teach your class about Canada's biodiversity, are interested in exploring Canada's capital cities or the Canadian wilderness, love mountain biking, want to visit national and provincial parks and historic sites, or just want to go for a walk at lunch, you'll find something to do on the Trail.

Glance through the Trans Canada Trail Favorite Photos on Flickr and you'll be inspired.

Begun in 1992 to celebrate Canada's 125th birthday, the Trail is nearly 75 percent complete. The aim is to have the Trail fully connected by 2017, the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation.

The scope of the Trans Canada Trail project stirs memories of building the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Trans Canada Highway, earlier projects that tied Canada together. It seems appropriate that Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) donated more than 1600 kilometres (nearly 1000 miles) of dormant railway corridor lands to the Trans Canada Trail project. CN also donated about 560 kilometres (about 350 miles) of former rail corridors in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta to help develop the Trail.

A Confederation of Trails

The Trans Canada Trail is a "confederation of trails," tied together by communities across Canada. Where possible, existing trails are used and extended. Sections of the Trail are owned and maintained by local organizations, municipalities, and provincial and national agencies. The Trail goes through or near about 1000 Canadian communities and is within half an hour of about 80 percent of Canadians. To find out more about the work done at the local level, contact the Provincial and Territorial Partners.

How to Find the Trans Canada Trail

The quickest way to find access to the Trans Canada Trail nearest you is to go to the Interactive Map on the Trans Canada Trail site. (The map works best in Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer 9+.) Click the blue Search tab at the top of the map and enter the city, town, address or postal code. Close the Search box and click on the map to zoom in on the location.

 

Interactive Map - Trans Canada Trail

 

For more information on how to use the map, check the Interactive Map FAQ. For extra features, like being able to bookmark your map, or access printable Trail maps, you can create a free account.

Help Build the Trans Canada Trail

Volunteers: The Trans Canada Trail organization does not own or operate any of the Trail. It is represented by provincial and territorial partners who work with local trail-building organizations across Canada to make sure the Trail meets the needs of local communities. To find out about volunteer opportunities in your area, contact the Provincial and Territorial Partners.

Funding: Funding of the Trans Canada Trail has come from all levels of government in Canada and from major corporations, many of whom have developed partnerships with the Trans Canada Trail.

Donations: Major initiatives have included

  • Through the Inscription Program, more than 125,000 Canadians sponsored a metre of the Trail. The program was closed in 2012, partly because of declining popularity, many pavilions were running out of space, and the program was becoming just too expensive to maintain.

  • The BioKit is a collaborative effort by the Biosphère, Environment Museum and the Trans Canada Trail. It offers interactive activities for families and educators to learn and teach about the environment along the Trail.

  • Two thousand Discovery Panels on the Trail provide information about indigenous plants, animals, ecosystems, the weather and geography. The Discovery Program from the Claudine and Stephen Bronfman Family Foundation developed and installed these interpretive panels.

  • The Bridges for Canada Program saw the Canadian Military Engineers use their specialized skills and labour to help communities build bridges across gullies, ravines, rivers and streams to make the trail navigable and safe.

Individuals and families can also make a donation to help build and promote the Trans Canada Trail in a variety of different ways.

 

How to Make a Donation

 

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