Gordie Howe International Bridge Becomes the First International Bridge to Join the Trans Canada Trail
First-of-its-kind partnership will connect Windsor’s Great Lakes Waterfront Trail to the Iron Belle Trail and Great Lakes Way in Detroit, Michigan
Windsor, February 9, 2024 – Today, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority and Trans Canada Trail proudly announced that the Gordie Howe International Bridge will join the Trans Canada Trail and become the first international bridge border crossing within the 28,000 km trail network. The official announcement took place this morning at Windsor City Hall.
The Gordie Howe International Bridge will link trail networks on both sides of the Canada-United States border, connecting the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail (part of the Trans Canada Trail) in Windsor, Ontario to the Iron Belle Trail and the Great Lakes Way in Detroit, Michigan. Trail users will be able to cross the bridge – and make the official border crossing – via a multi-use path.
“This partnership is a significant milestone for the Trans Canada Trail. We’re thrilled to collaborate with Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority to provide Canadians and visitors with an interconnected and accessible international trail system,” says Eleanor McMahon, President & CEO of Trans Canada Trail. “As part of the Trans Canada Trail network, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will be a catalyst for recreation, active transportation opportunities, tourism and economic development in both border communities – and beyond.”
The Gordie Howe International Bridge is poised to play an important role in regenerative, cross-border tourism experiences. The active transportation infrastructure on the Gordie Howe International Bridge will act as a gateway to Ontario’s wine regions in Essex County and the Niagara Region, and will also connect tourists and locals to the new Ojibway National Urban Park.
“The Gordie Howe International Bridge is more than a physical connection; it symbolizes a shared commitment for sustainable infrastructure to promote economic development, active transportation, tourism and cultural exchange,” says Charl van Niekerk, CEO of Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority. “We are excited about the positive impact this collaboration will have on both sides of the border.”
To support this key community feature, Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority is undertaking public consultation through April 2024 to help inform future operational plans for the multi-use path.
This collaboration between Trans Canada Trail and Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority sets the stage for a trail system that transcends borders and promotes unity, tourism and economic prosperity. Today’s announcement builds on the binational trails tourism partnership, announced in 2022, to promote trails as connectors to nature, tourism and cultural attractions.
“We hope that this announcement will inspire other border communities to explore facilitating this kind of active transportation opportunity. Trail-based border crossing is possible and it presents a tremendous opportunity to enhance economic development through trails tourism for communities that embrace it,” says McMahon.
“The inclusion of the new Gordie Howe International Bridge into the TransCanada trail is an essential step in expanding connections to nature and communities on both sides of the border. It highlights the toll-free access of pedestrians and cyclists using the bridge to flow onto the trails and into the soon-to-open Ojibway National Urban Park in Windsor.”
– Brian Masse, Member of Parliament for Windsor West
“Building stronger, healthier communities takes vision, hard work and partnership. Today, thanks to the leadership of the Trans Canada Trail and the WDBA, Windsor-Essex is taking another giant step forward in expanding access to trails that connect people and boost quality of life. As the home of Canada’s first electric vehicle battery factory, Canada’s next National Urban Park, and the new Gordie Howe International Bridge, our community has truly discovered a new path – building our prosperity by taking care of the economy and the environment together.”
– Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor – Tecumseh
“The Trans Canada Trail and Gordie Howe International Bridge partnership is one truly worth celebrating. In building up our binational active transportation capacity, even more visitors will experience the cultural, social and economic assets that make Windsor-Essex a standout region in which to live and to invest.”
– Andrew Dowie, Member of Provincial Parliament for Windsor–Tecumseh
“Today marks a big win for tourism and active transportation on both sides of the international border between Canada and the Unites States. While this trail will certainly be an incredible, scenic route, offering unparalleled views of our two-nation destination, it will also be an economic bridge that will bring our communities closer together. This will invite visitors to explore the vibrant Windsor-Detroit corridor like never before. Our city already boasts more than 174 km of multi-use trails, including 6 km on the waterfront, the 42.5 km Windsor Loop, and 15 km of woodland and prairie hiking trails at Ojibway. We are thrilled that Windsor will now be the connecting point of a trail system that spans over 28,000 km and connects two nations.”
– Drew Dilkens, Mayor of Windsor
“This designation of a new trail connection between our two nations is yet another great chapter in our binational story. This link brings new opportunity to deepen the social, cultural and economic ties across our shared border, and is a symbol of the ability of Canadians and Americans to work together in pursuit of a positive vision for the future.”
– Colin Bird, Consul General of Canada in Detroit
“The Waterfront Regeneration Trust is thrilled to be part of this historic partnership. With its breathtaking views, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will become a must-do experience on the beloved Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. It will connect people to exciting initiatives on both sides of the border that are transforming waterfronts and protecting, connecting and celebrating the Great Lakes, their ecology, culture and history. Congratulations to the community advocates and visionaries who called for a bridge design to create these exciting opportunities.”
– Marlaine Koehler, Executive Director of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust
“We are honoured to be part of this cross-border trail partnership. It will be so exciting to have the Gordie Howe International Bridge trail become an extension of the Joe Louis Greenway, Downriver Linked Greenways, the Detroit RiverWalk, The Great Lakes Way, the Iron Belle Trail – all linking us to Windsor’s greenways, the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, and the Trans Canada Trail.”
– Richard DeVore, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan
“This first-of-its-kind link between American and Canadian trail networks speaks to the power of collaboration. The Iron Belle Trail and Great Lakes Way are a unique way for visitors to experience international travel throughout the Detroit and Windsor regions and beyond.”
– Timothy Novak, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
“Enhancing community connectivity and mobility opportunities for all users are among our highest priorities at MDOT. This connection between trails across Canada and Michigan is another way the Gordie Howe International Bridge will provide economic and quality of life benefits for generations to come.”
– Bradley C. Wieferich, Director, Michigan Department of Transportation
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- Read the report: The Benefits of Connecting Canadians?
- Explore the interactive Trans Canada Trail map?
- Download the Trans Canada Trail Media Kit?
- Complete the Gordie Howe International Bridge Multi-Use Path Survey
- Learn more about the Gordie Howe International Bridge project
Justin Fauteux, Manager, Media and Public Relations
Trans Canada Trail
Media Relations Team
Gordie Howe International Bridge
About Trans Canada Trail
The Trans Canada Trail (the Trail) is the longest recreational trail in the world, spanning over 28,000 kilometres on land and water. Linking three oceans – the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic – the Trail connects 15,000 rural, urban and Indigenous communities across every province and territory. It is a ribbon that connects Canada’s diverse landscapes, seasons, people and experiences, and fosters unity, collaboration and connectedness. Trans Canada Trail is a registered charity and stewards this?national trail in collaboration with local trail partners. With funding from the Government of Canada through Parks Canada, and investments from all levels of government and generous donors, Trans Canada Trail is the largest investor in trail infrastructure projects in Canada, supporting improvements, growth and enhancements for generations to come.
About Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority
Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA) is a not-for-profit Canadian Crown corporation created to deliver the Gordie Howe International Bridge project between Windsor, ON and Detroit, MI through a public-private partnership (P3). WDBA is responsible for overseeing and managing the construction and operation of the new crossing. Visit GordieHoweInternationalBridge.com?for more information on WDBA and follow the project on Facebook.
1 December, 2023