October 2012 Letter from the CEO & President
Fall has arrived! It’s been a busy summer at the Trans Canada Trail and while the building season is not quite yet done, we still have exciting progress to report. Here are some of the notable stories from the Trail that have come from the 2012 building season to date.
As you can see, we’ve been busy – and autumn promises to be just as exciting. We’re feeling energized by all that is happening and the great support we are receiving from so many Canadians. The winter season will mean more activity as we focus on Vision 2017. This in turn means working with our partners as they complete their respective trail plans towards connection, while we finalize our national Strategic Plan, mapping our way to the Trans Canada Trail’s connection in celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation. This plan will outline how we will work with hundreds of communities and thousands of volunteers across the country to make Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation a true national celebration that connects Canadians from coast to coast to coast. We look forward to updating you in the months ahead; please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us for more information about the Trans Canada Trail.
President & CEO
On August 30, CBC/Radio-Canada announced its 2017 Starts Now! initiative to spark a national conversation about Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary in 2017 – and that plan includes the Trans Canada Trail in an important role! The CBC will be announcing meetings over the course of the next few months in which the Trans Canada Trail and other partners will be participating. We’ll keep you posted on the exciting developments.
From beautiful in-depth features to breaking news, the Trans Canada Trail made headlines across the country this summer. Here’s a sampling of our coverage:
- In its July/August 2012 edition, Canadian Geographic published a gorgeous 10-page spread by Hap Wilson, Path of the Paddle: A wild new canoe link on the Trans Canada Trail (pdf), about the 900-km Path of the Paddle in Northern Ontario.
- In August 2012, Ottawa Life magazine posted Get out there and explore: Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast about the TCT, which, it says, “inspires national pride.”
- Via Rail’s Destinations magazine featured the Trans Canada Trail by looking at the rail-to-trail aspect in Once There Were Rails (pdf), which appeared in its June 2012 edition.
- The Canadian Press published a story based on a report from the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee that revealed that MPs say Ottawa needs a to-do list for Canada’s 150th birthday. The story was picked up by several media outlets, including Macleans Magazine. Among other interesting tidbits is this quote: “While MPs aren’t necessarily suggesting any big infrastructure projects for 2017, they did recommend that communities and donors be encouraged to help complete the Trans Canada Trail.”
- Finally, the Trail’s Go the Greenway campaign was a resounding hit, spearheaded by beautiful ads in The Globe and Mail and Air Canada’s En Route magazine. Hundreds of Canadians, inspired by the value and quality of non-motorized summer trails, have submitted and shared their personalised ads describing what greenways mean to them.
In conjunction with our partner Shaw Media, we’ve been shooting footage across the country for a couple of public-service announcements and a documentary about the Trail. In fact, our very first PSA, featuring Mrs. Laureen Harper, Valerie Pringle and ‘Dragon’ Bruce Croxon, began airing in June on Shaw stations and its affiliates. Asecond PSA featuring Olympians Hayley Wickenheiser, Erik Guay, Cindy Klassen and Jon Montgomery started airing the first week of October.
In preparation for the documentary, we headed to the Ottawa home of one of the Trail’s founders, Dr. Pierre Camu, in April, who discussed the origins of the idea of the Trans Canada Trail with TCT Foundation co-chair Valerie Pringle and TCT Chair Paul LaBarge.
In July, Mrs. Harper and country singer Paul Brandt gathered at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, in Alberta, now an important link in the Trans Canada Trail, to sing its praises. In September, Valerie travelled east to Fundy National Park and Dieppe, N.B., to interview Blair Pardy, the Superintendent of the Park, about becoming part of the Trans Canada Trail.
In October, Valerie travelled to Sudbury where she met with volunteers and representatives from the region’s trail group, Rainbow Routes Association, and discussed trail-building projects, the challenges groups are facing, and the value of the Trail to communities and the country. Finally, in the coming days we will be visiting with Their Excellencies Governor General David Johnston and Mrs. Sharon Johnston in Regina.
We’re proud to announce a world-class addition to the Trans Canada Trail: we’re currently finalizing the details of the inclusion of the Fundy National Park in New Brunswick to our network of coast-to-coast-to-coast trails. That’s another 36.82 km towards our objective of connection by 2017, Canada’s sesquicentennial.
Here’s a sampling of some of the other 47 building and engineering projects funded by the Trans Canada Trail that were or will be completed during the 2012 building season:
In June, the TCT was proud to welcome the North Star Trail in British Columbia, which connects Kimberley to Cranbrook over 24.6 km in the heart of the Kootenays.
The ongoing, multi-year project to connect the Charlevoix region in Quebec will soon see an additional 8.8 km added of trail added, for a total of 28.3 km completed out of the region’s 48-km gap.
In Alberta, another multi-year, extensive project – Lacombe County’s Bluebird Trail – will be adding nearly 8 km of trail.
In Prince Edward Island, the Confederation Trail heading towards the southern tip of the island, as an addition to the west-to-east trail, will soon branch an extra 10.55 km, to Iona from Stratford.
And finally, in Ontario, the Peterborough-Hastings Rail-Trail will be completing a remarkable 32.29 km of new trail in the region’s old rail bed.
These are only some examples of the amazing construction and engineering work that is being done in 2012. Moreover, over the course of the 2012 building season, at least 687 km of new trail will show our new way-finding signs and 2066 km of existing trail will be re-signed, which means more than 2753 km of the Trans Canada Trail will be showing the latest official signage, making it easier for everyone to find their way to and enjoy the Trans Canada Trail.
Across the country, Trans Canada Trail volunteers and partners have received special recognition this season. We say it all the time – the Trans Canada Trail would be nothing without its volunteers.
On July 1, Julian Tomlinson of the Northwest Territories received a Diamond Jubilee Medal during Yellowknife’s Canada Day celebrations. As a former chair of the NWT Recreation and Parks Association, Mr. Tomlinson worked to support, develop, and promote trails across the territory.
On August 27, in Sydney, Blaise MacEachern of Judique, Inverness County, also received the Diamond Jubilee Medal. Mr. MacEachern is Chair of the Nova Scotia Trails Federation's TCT Committee. He has been instrumental in the development of the TCT in Cape Breton.
On October 11, the President of the Saskatchewan Trails Association, Cathy Watts, will be receiving a Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Governor General of Canada himself at the Saskatchewan Legislature in Regina. Since the 1970s, Mrs. Watts has devoted countless hours and boundless energy to fostering strong families and healthy communities in Saskatchewan.
We’re absolutely thrilled and proud to see these deserving individuals receive such kudos and hope that all our volunteers can bask in their reflected glow.
On the other hand, we also had to bid adieu to two venerable, long-standing volunteers, whose respective terms were completed. In PEI, Barb Trainor was replaced as President of Island Trails by Bryson Guptil while in Nova Scotia, Ted Scrutton was replaced by Holly Woodill as president of Nova Scotia Trails Federation who alsorecently received a Diamond Jubilee Medal!
The shortest great trek of 2012 starred the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency David Johnston, and TCT Foundation Chair and broadcaster Valerie Pringle, who, with Trail volunteers and cycling enthusiasts from the Niagara Parks Commission, cycled 12 km on the Niagara River Recreational Trail in June. The scenic ride took them from the Laura Secord Homestead to Fort George and was part of celebrations commemorating the Declaration of the War of 1812.
On a rather larger scale, the Trail’s personal ‘Hiking Fool’ Dana Meise saw his busy trekking season cut short this year because of an injury – but he tucked in another two provinces despite it all. On April 12, Winnipeg hosted a handsome going-away party for Dana as he headed west into the Prairies. Five months later, Dana hung up his hiking boots in Saskatoon after having travelled 2165 km. You’ll remember Dana started his cross-country Trans Canada Trail hike at Kilometre 0 in St. John’s, Nfld., in May 2008.
That’s actually the very same starting point that friends Jarett Pichler and Elliott Simpson chose for their own adventure this summer. They cycled out of St John’s on April 28, pedalled hard for 3523 km, and made it to their hometown of Toronto 50 days later, on June 16. That averages out to more than 70 km a day. Speaking of impressive averages – they managed to raise an average of more than $410 a day during their trek, attracting $20,652 in total donations to the Trail! An amazing job.
Nationally, we’re excited to announce that our Chapter 150 Campaign has surpassed $10-million in pledges.
In the publication of our well-received eight-page Globe and Mail insert on June 30, we presented our expanded campaign cabinet, including Mrs. Laureen Harper as Honorary Campaign Chair, and co-chairs Hartley Richardson of James Richardson & Sons, Ltd and broadcaster Valerie Pringle.
Mrs. Harper has been a remarkable ally over the course of the summer, actively championing the Trail to Canadians. She has not only made herself available for events such as the first PSA and the documentary shoot at Glenbow Ranch, she has also spoken kindly of the Trail on numerous public and media occasions. We’re thrilled and honoured to have Mrs. Harper join us on our campaign.