We weren’t kidding when we said we were only getting started after connection! The year 2018/19 was filled with phenomenal achievements, inspiring stories and unforgettable moments. Here are just a few:
1. To celebrate the first anniversary of The Great Trail’s national connection, we invited Canadians with a knack for adventure to take part in The Great Trail Treasure Hunt. In partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) and with the support of numerous sponsors, we hid 100 boxes along the Trail across Canada for participants to find. The contest proved so popular that we are organizing an even bigger treasure hunt for the summer of 2019!
2. In September 2018, we joined Parks Canada to officially announce our partnership with the federal agency. We are so grateful to the Government of Canada for their generous support of $30 million through Parks Canada, and look forward to working closely with them in the coming years.
3. We were honoured to receive the prestigious RCGS Gold Medal, in recognition of The Great Trail’s connection and its potential to promote the geography and heritage of Canada. Trail volunteers, partners and supporters from across Canada joined us for the presentation of the medal, which has been awarded to Robert Bateman, Gordon Lightfoot and Sir David Attenborough in previous years
4. After 10 years of effort (and 27 pairs of boots!), Dana Meise became the first person to hike The Great Trail to Canada’s three coastlines. The TCT National Champion arrived in Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories in November 2018. Inspired by his father, Dana began his journey in 2008 and hiked sections of the Trail in stages before reaching this milestone.
5. Meanwhile, many other adventurers took on the challenge of a cross-Canada journey! Cyclist Timmy Léger cycled from St. John’s, Newfoundland, all the way to Victoria, British Columbia, in honour of his grandfather, who is fighting cancer. German-born hiker Mel Vogel is hiking west and, by the end of 2018/19, reached Manitoba. Meanwhile, filmmaker and TCT National Champion Dianne Whelan made her way across the Trail on foot and by canoe, and is now heading north.
6. After the fantastic success of the Chapter 150 Campaign, we launched a new initiative to capture the hearts and minds of Canadians. Our new campaign – Deeply Connected – aims to raise awareness of and funds for the Trail by emphasizing the profound connection we all have with this magnificent national legacy.
7. With the help of local Trail groups and municipalities, Parks Canada and our sponsor Clif Bar, we installed 2,535 kilometres of signage across The Great Trail! Signage this year included wayfinding signs, as well as signs highlighting the flora, fauna and heritage of the area in which they were installed. A total of 81 signage projects were completed, while over 300 signs acknowledging funding from TCT were provided to Trail development projects.
8. Who can say they went on a national tour with Canadian country music star Paul Brandt? In 2018, we teamed up with the TCT National Champion on The Journey tour, which played numerous venues in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario. We also invited Trail supporters to enter a contest to win VIP passes to shows in numerous Canadian cities.