Trans Canada Trail | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Trans Canada Trail

The Trans Canada Trail is over 27,000 km of land and waterways connecting every Canadian province and territory. Construction began in 1992 as part of Canada's 125th birthday celebrations. It was completed 25 years later, in 2017, when Canada turned 150. In 2016, the trail’s name changed to “The Great Trail.” However, in June 2021, the name reverted back to the original.

The Trans Canada Trail

Originally, organizers hoped the Trans Canada Trail would be made up of off-road greenways. They envisioned the network would follow existing trails, newly constructed trails, and abandoned railway lines. However, for financial and political reasons, come 2017 only 32 per cent of the trail was made up of off-road pathways. The remainder included roads and highways (35 per cent), waterways (25 per cent), and hybrid routes that allow all-terrain vehicles (7 per cent).

The Trans Canada Trail is funded by private donors and all levels of government. The Trans Canada Trail non-profit organization does not own or operate any section of the trail. Instead, individual sections are operated and maintained by local organizations, conservation authorities and provincial and national agencies. The non-profit is working toward converting the road portions of the trail into greenways.

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