From windblown paths with ocean views to routes that follow abandoned railway beds, the passageways that form the Trans Canada Trail are as intriguing and diverse as the country itself.
“Everywhere you go on the Trail, you see these enormous differences from one place to the next,” says Paul LaBarge, chair and founding member of the Trans Canada Trail. “But you also see this amazingly beautiful country that has so much in it, a country that is the envy of the whole world.”
Stretching across nearly 17,000 kilometres of land and water, the Trans Canada Trail – which will be more than 23,000 kilometres long when it’s completed in 2017 – runs through the country like a vital vein, coursing through every province and territory from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north to the Arctic Ocean. The Trail changes from one section to the next, from paved urban promenades that wind through residential neighbourhoods to rail trails and pathways that cut through forests, rivers and lakes.
“The great thing about the Trail is that it offers something for everyone, whether you’re a cyclist, runner, hiker, skier or someone who just wants to have a picnic in a beautiful setting,” says Mr. LaBarge. “What’s even more amazing is that it costs nothing to use the Trail – it belongs to all of us.”
To ride, hike, ski or canoe the Trail is to become immersed not only in Canada’s rich topography, but also in its historical narrative, says Mr. LaBarge. An expedition on Whitehorse Copper Trail in Yukon, for instance, provides a glimpse into the area’s copper mining past. On the 600-kilometre Kettle Valley Rail Trail in Penticton, B.C., visitors journey over terrain where bandits once galloped on their way to rob the steam trains that puffed through the region.
“These Trails tell the story of Canada,” says Mr. LaBarge, co-founder and partner at LaBarge Weinstein, a business law firm in Ottawa. “Every part is embedded with memories of events that have shaped this country.”
By using the Trail, Canadians can continue to build – and become part of – its history, says Mr. LaBarge. Like the footprints they leave behind, their experiences will become part of the lore of the Trans Canada Trail. Advanced mapping and social media technology have made it easy to chronicle and share these experiences.
With Canada’s 150th anniversary just a few years away, Mr. LaBarge urges all Canadians to celebrate this special milestone right on the Trail.
“The Trail has the unique capacity, better than any concert or party, to literally and truly unite all Canadians – to connect us all from every part of the country,” he says. “Be on the Trail, along with your family and friends, on July 1, 2017.”
|BOARD OF DIRECTORS|
The Trans Canada Trail is a non-profit registered charity. Its mission is to promote and assist in the development and use of the Trail in every province and territory. The TCT also provides funding to local trail builders to support the development of the Trail.