Deborah and George Apps at Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park in Calgary, Alberta – by Andrew Penner
A farewell note from Deborah Apps
As you may know, I will be leaving my role as President & CEO of Trans Canada Trail on February 28.
Lately, I have been reflecting on the incredible opportunity I was afforded to connect with Canada and Canadians. What an adventure we have had! It has been a privilege to work with so many Canadians, dedicated to giving back to our country; and to lead a project, launched in 1992 by Dr. Pierre Camu and Bill Pratt, which became a gift from Canadians to Canadians in celebration of our 150th anniversary of Confederation. Over the past 12 years as President & CEO, I have been honoured to have support from volunteers, national Champions, generous donors, all levels of government, dedicated Board members and staff, and passionate Canadians like you who have shared my love of this project. Together, we have accomplished so much: we have raised over $125 million, connected 24,000 kilometres of Trail and 15,000 communities, and given the ultimate legacy gift to Canada and Canadians – a nationally connected Trail!
Great countries have great trails. Now, Canada has The Great Trail, which is being applauded and feted internationally. This symbolic project has never been for the faint of heart, so we must all keep the faith, and continue to work together to ensure it is a generational gift.
The Great Trail is a passion project for hundreds of thousands of Canadians. There are many stories I could tell about my trips to Tuktoyaktuk, Iqaluit and coastal BC; about the breathtaking and surprising landscape of the prairie provinces, about paddling a canoe to Fort William near Thunder Bay; and about all the beautiful and historic places in Atlantic Canada and the unforgettable places in between. There are stories about Canadians who are passionate about this thread that connects us all, physically and emotionally, and which form, to quote the prolific Stan Rogers, “one warm line through a land so wide and savage.”
At the beginning of this grand adventure, my husband suggested I keep a diary of my experiences, of the people I met, of the communities visited and of the kilometres travelled. Sadly, I didn’t; I wish I had heeded his advice. However, all of you, these memories and the honour of leading this iconic project towards 2017 and beyond, will be forever imprinted on my heart.
I will be launching new adventures in the coming months. I will continue my work in support of projects that are important to me – on the Health Quality Council of Alberta, as vice-chair, focussed on ensuring Albertans receive quality healthcare; with the Rick Hansen Foundation to ensure accessibility through “Everyone-Everywhere”, an important initiative considering our rapidly changing demographic; and with a very important new project launched by my good friend and award winning country music icon, Paul Brandt, to fight human trafficking #NotInMyCity (I encourage you to check this out).
I hope that in some way we will stay connected.