Spotlight on Nova Scotia
The Trans Canada Trail in Nova Scotia
We're shining the spotlight on the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) in Nova Scotia!
See below for stories and trivia about the TCT in the province if Nova Scotia, learn about some of the individuals who have helped to build and care for it, and who have experienced its unique beauty for themselves.
TCT: A big part of what we're doing at the TCT is working with partners at the local level to get the TCT connected across the country by 2017, the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. How does that play into the work you do?
VJ: Here in Nova Scotia our local trail partners are working diligently to connect the Trans Canada Trail in Nova Scotia by 2017. We are working with thousands of volunteers, organizations, all three levels of government, and First Nation communities along the Phase 1 route in Nova Scotia. We are currently 38% connected in Nova Scotia so there is a real sense of urgency in this province. We are looking forward to reaching 100% connection and would urge all Nova Scotian’s to assist us and our partners across the province in reaching that goal.
Vanda Jackson (left), Executive Director, Nova Scotia Trails Federation, with TCT Foundation Co-Chair Valerie Pringle at TCT's 2016 Territorial and Provincial Advisory Council (TPAC)
TCT: How is the TCT most commonly used in Nova Scotia?
VJ: The Trans Canada Trail in Nova Scotia is diverse and consists of a variety of trail types from abandoned rail lines, to footpaths and paddling routes. Users of the Trans Canada Trail in this province vary from walkers, hikers, snowshoers, cross country skiers, cyclists, horseback riders, to snowmobilers and ATVers. There is something for everyone in our province and because we are surrounded by the sea, significant sections of the trail like the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail, Salt Marsh and Atlantic View Trails boast spectacular coastal vistas.
TCT: Tell us about the history of the TCT in the Nova Scotia
VJ: The Nova Scotia Trails Federation (NS Trails) has been the provincial partner in Nova Scotia since the TCT’s inception. The concept of the TCT was introduced in at a national trails conference at Trent University in the early 90’s. Volunteers and provincial government representatives from Nova Scotia who attended the conference brought the idea back and the Nova Scotia Trails Federation agreed to take it on. A committee was formed to work on the project with long time trail volunteer Stan Slack at the helm. A couple of years later, retired school teacher Vera Stone took on the role of Chair and began travelling the province to build support and volunteer capacity in the early years of the project. Most community trails in this province are built and managed by volunteers so getting the project to where it is today has meant developing volunteer capacity to build and manage sections of trail making up the TCT route in Nova Scotia. The support of the provincial and federal governments along with municipalities, corporations, landowners and donors have also been crucial to the development of the TCT in this province.
TCT: What are some of the biggest challenges involved in building trails in Nova Scotia?
VJ: Building volunteer capacity and gaining access to land for the trail have been the two biggest hurtles in our province. Trails in Nova Scotia for the most part are built based on a community development model. Under that model, the community decides to build a trail and takes on the responsibility of developing the trail, maintaining it and managing it. It has long been felt that having community buy-in and ownership make the trails in our province more sustainable in the long term. In some provinces, the route of the TCT is built on former abandoned rail line. While parts of the TCT in Nova Scotia were built on the old rail line, we didn’t have the luxury of an entire route based on rail line. This has meant our volunteers have had to negotiate landowner permissions to develop the route and it is also the reason the types of trail and uses on the TCT here are so varied. In Cape Breton, this was a particular challenge and so we began thinking about the Bras d’Or Lake and the potential of developing a spectacular and culturally significant paddling route around this UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere. When complete, the Bras d’Or Lake Water Route is expected to offer over 300 kilometres of prime paddling opportunities showcasing the history, culture and natural beauty of the area.
TCT: What are the challenges of maintaining the trails?
VJ: Because of our community development model, volunteers are responsible for maintaining and managing their trails. This means our dedicated community-base trail groups must raise the funds they need to not only build the trail but to maintain it for the use of Nova Scotians and visitors alike. Maintenance dollars in this province are not readily available and so that can be a challenge for our volunteer trail groups. The weather has also been a challenge at times as we seem to be experiencing more severe weather which has caused damage over the years to some of the coastal sections of the TCT in Nova Scotia. Thankfully our volunteers are extremely dedicated and have not let the weather-related damage to their trails deter them. Our challenge as we head into the future will be to recruit youth into our trail organizations. Our trail volunteers are aging and our trails in the province can’t maintain themselves. We need to get youth involved and provide them with the training and skill sets to ensure our communities can continue to enjoy the exceptional trails our volunteers have worked so hard to build. The trails movement has so much to offer young people from the ability to gain valuable volunteer work experience, the personal reward of contributing to the health and well-being of their communities, along with the opportunity to connect with nature and other like-minded people and build lasting friendships and memories.
TCT: Tell us about other critical partners, people or organizations invested in connecting the Trail in NS?
VJ: We have so many incredible partners it is difficult to single any particular partner out. Without our thousands of volunteers, the support of all three levels of government, community organizations, corporate and individual donors along with landowners over the course of more than 20 years this dream would not be approaching reality in Nova Scotia. . We still have a lot to accomplish prior to 2017 and we are continuing to welcome additional partners on this final leg of our journey. We are looking forward to celebrating 100% connection with all our partners in 2017.
TCT: What is the best part of your job?
VJ: The best part of my job as Executive Director of NS Trails is working with the thousands of dedicated community volunteers who are passionate about trails and providing recreational trail opportunities in their communities. Our volunteers really care about their communities and are working diligently to not only connect the TCT in Nova Scotia by 2017 but to enhance the health and economic well-being of their communities. It is very rewarding to see our volunteers achieve their personal, group and community goals. Working with the volunteer groups involved in connecting the TCT in Nova Scotia has the added reward of contributing to a magnificent national legacy project that is connecting Canadians and our country from coast to coast to coast. Really, what could be more rewarding than that!
He’s a hiker, a biker, a runner, a financier and a Nova Scotia trail blazer who has made a formidable voluntary and financial contribution to the development of the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) in the Atlantic region since 2001.
He is also a devoted family man and, co-CEO of Oxford Frozen Foods, the world's largest supplier of frozen Wild Blueberries and Canada's largest processor of frozen carrot products.
Meet David Hoffman, President of the Oxford & Area Trails Association in Nova Scotia; former member of the TCT Board of Directors and present member of the Board of Directors of the TCT Foundation.
TCT: Why and how did you first become involved with the Trans Canada Trail?
DH: I have always been a hiker. Exploring the outdoors and walking are longstanding passions. I love to bike and run on the Trail. I really enjoy physical activity on the Trail. In 2001, when the TCT was being built in Nova Scotia (NS), I was invited to take on a role as TCT Board representative for Atlantic Canada.
The first TCT Board meeting I attended was in Whitehorse, Yukon – a spectacular part of the world. Working with the TCT Board offered me an invaluable perspective on the national scope of the Trail.
TCT: What objectives did you set out to achieve when you joined the TCT Board?
I have a finance background so I got involved with the Board’s finance committee. I served as Treasurer and a member of the Trail building committee. I became very interested in optimizing the operational aspects of national trail building.
TCT: When did you join the TCT Foundation and why?
I joined 4 or 5 years ago to raise money to connect and enhance the TCT. I lead fundraising efforts for the Maritimes and I ensure that donor wishes to designate gifts locally or provincially are ensured.
TCT: Tell us about the joys and challenges of Trail building in NS and about the Oxford & Area Trail?
We have terrific trails in NS. This week, our community is completing one of the two bridges in the Oxford area that will connect and span from Tatamagouche on the NS side to the border of New Brunswick. The existing trail follows the old abandoned railway bed that comes in to Nova Scotia from the New Brunswick border. You can enjoy spectacular trails around Sackville, NB which also lead to Prince Edward Island. The Oxford bridge has a 200 ft. span. A crane will be here shortly to lift it onto abutments on both sides. We have worked hard to raise a lot of money locally to accomplish this. We have faced challenges on every level. Finally, the bridge will be in place and phase one will be complete. It’s a huge step forward.
TCT: Who is involved with this project?
An incredibly dedicated group of volunteers. We meet every month and once or twice in between. I think it’s been like this for the past two or three years. Committed volunteers oversee technical details, plan and lead approvals from landowners and engineers. It’s remarkable.
TCT: What are your favourite sections of the TCT outside of NS? Where would you like to travel to next and how would you like to get there?
DH: I have hiked the TCT in every province. I would like to do more hiking out West, in the mountains on the old trestle bridges. I would like to explore more of British Columbia, the interior. And, the Northwest Territories.
TCT: You are a busy man. What sustains your commitment to connecting the Trail by 2017 and beyond?
DH: Working with the TCT fulfills me on 3 levels. I derive pleasure from personal use and being on the trails. I am inspired by the vision of connecting diverse communities through the Trail and by the national aspiration that this project represents. To me, Canadians working together to build the TCT is a reflection of everything that is good or can be good about Canada. We are building a legacy that will be enjoyed by our kids and their grandkids for many years.
Every month, the TCT grants committee reviews project proposals from across Canada requesting strategic support for TCT building, development or enhancements. The TCT is proud to announce it will provide funding support for the Shubenacadie River Water Route in Nova Scotia which will become a part of the TCT in 2016. In an area known for its natural beauty, there is no better way to enjoy traveling though the Municipality of East Hants than on the historic Shubenacadie River, just as the Mi’kmaq and Acadians did centuries ago. Travelers will be treated to views of rolling farmland, sports fishermen casting their line and eagles perched at the river’s edge waiting for their next meal. This 23.5 km of the Shubenacadie River will complete the gap in the Trans Canada Trail between Carroll’s Corner, Halifax County and Stewiacke, Colchester County. This water route will allow the residents to celebrate a river at the heart of their community and to share it with visitors from around the globe.
Three locations will provide access to the river’s edge, a staging area, a small amount of parking and a non-motorized boat launch / dock and will greatly increase the recreational use on the river. Kiosks will be installed at all three locations with information on local history, river information, and a TCT map. In addition to boat launch compatibilities, there will be picnic and restroom facilities and future development of walking trails. This will provide not just a great starting point on the river, but a rest location for travelers coming down the historic Shubenacadie Canal on their way to the sea.
The first location is in Lantz and will be connected to the TCT via Carroll’s Corner. The second location is in Milford and will initially provide the same amenities as the Lantz location, but the municipality sees future development for this location in the form of trails. The third location is an 8.5 acres park and ballfield in Shubenacadie.
One woman's fitness plan has become a quest to walk the entire Trans Canada Trail...without having to leave the province of Nova Scotia.
Meet Jane Maddin, who is using the Trans Canada Trail to walk across Canada-virtually. The retired library technician from Truro has been logging her daily walks for the past three years (both outdoor Trail and indoor treadmill) on the Virtual Walk the Trail section of TCT's interactive map.
Cick HERE read the full story.
So, thinking about beautiful Nova Scotia as your next destination for a Trans Canada Trail adventure?
Here you will find valuable practical information about entering Canada, customs and travel information for air, sea, land or rail logistics for travelers departing from across Canada, the United States or abroad.
Five Things You May Not Know About Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is described as Canada's Ocean Playground on the provincial vehicle-licence plate because it is surrounded by four major bodies of water. Name them!
The Gulf of Saint Lawrence to the north, the Bay of Fundy to the west, the Gulf of Maine to the southwest, and Atlantic Ocean to the east.
What does the name of the village of Tatamagouche mean?
Tatamagouche derives from the Mi’kmaq term “Takumegooch” which means, roughly translated, “meeting of the waters”. The village is situated on the Northumberland Strait along the south side of Tatamagouche Bay at the mouths of the French and Waugh Rivers.
Canada's oldest and largest Black community is located in Nova Scotia. Can you name it?
North Preston. This community traces its origins to the immigration of former African American slaves during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, North Preston has a population of nearly 4,000 people as well as having the highest concentration of African Canadians across Canada.
How many musicians from Nova Scotia can you name?
From popular music from many genres, to folk and traditional based music, Nova Scotia has produced some of Canada’s most unique musicians including Anne Murray, John Allan Cameron, Sarah McLachlan, April Wine, Rita MacNeil, Feist, The Rankin Family, Joel Plaskett, Buck 65, Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster and Stan Rodgers (born in Ontario to two Maritimers from Guysborough County but lived in and sang about NS)
What is the connection between the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic off the Atlantic coast of Canada in 1912, Halifax and modern day forensic identification techniques?
The crew of two cable ships sent to recover and identify bodies from the site of the Titanic sinking, were instructed by Halifax coroner John Henry Barnstead to number the bodies, keep detailed records of their appearance and put any found objects into bags. This process laid the foundation of important modern day forensic techniques. 150 people who died in this tragedy are buried in the Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax. Bonus trivia: Barnstead’s son used the same techniques five years later during the recovery of bodies after the Halifax Explosion in 1917.