Recent developments on The Great Trail include Canada’s first elevated park
Trans Canada Trail isn’t just about connecting Canadians – it’s also about providing proper stewardship for existing sections of the Trail, improving their accessibility and enhancing safety. The Trail’s ongoing development projects involve repairing damage, adding signage and even assisting in the construction of Canada’s first elevated park.
Construction of the St. Thomas Elevated Park (STEP)
St. Thomas, ON
Trail: City of St. Thomas
There are many wonders along The Great Trail, but the St. Thomas Elevated Park (STEP) is a special one. STEP is Canada’s first elevated park and is built on a 260-metre long former railway trestle.
To create this unique attraction, volunteers and the City of St. Thomas banded together to purchase the trestle. Similar to the popular New York High Line, the STEP allows Trail walkers to enjoy nature without having to deal with busy traffic.
Serge Lavoie, president of On Track St. Thomas, explains that prior to the STEP’s advancement, “The Trail in St. Thomas was in a really awkward place along a nearby roadway.”
“People would have to walk one kilometre along a busy roadway with no shoulder. The elevated park made the Trail more attractive for people,” he adds.
TCT chipped in with a pledge to raise $75,000 from the private sector for a crucial engineering study, which was completed prior to the park’s construction. Lavoie says that TCT “essentially made the whole thing possible”.
“If they had not supported the engineering study, it would have been impossible. We needed a proof of concept. We needed to prove that it was solid. We also needed proof that it was an important heritage site. That engineering study was critical.”
Rehabilitation of the Sentier des Pointes
Trail: Sentier des Pointes
Stage: In progress
Comprising 10 kilometres of natural trails in Quebec’s beautiful Charlevoix region, the Sentier des Pointes became part of The Great Trail in 2008. Sadly, it is currently closed and flagged as “use at your own risk” due to damage caused by recent extreme wind storms, which resulted in more than 300 felled trees and damaged signs.
The Trail’s repair efforts currently involve clearing fallen debris and trees and removing tree stumps.
Damage repair on the Saint John to Hampton Trail
Trail: Saint John to Hampton Trail, New Brunswick
An impressive six-kilometre section of The Great Trail, New Brunswick’s Saint John to Hampton Trail is an active transportation corridor through the charming towns of Rothesay, Kingston and Hampton. Unfortunately, a heavy spring rain caused severe washouts on most of the section that runs through Hampton, which forced part of it to close.
In order to allow locals and visitors to use the Trail once more, TCT funded restoration work that helped to remove debris and replace gravel along parts of the Trail affected by the washouts. Thanks to the efforts of the local Trail group, the Trail is once again open – right on time for snowshoeing season!
Signage on the Town of Hay River Trail
Hay River, NT
Trail: Town of Hay River
Stage: In progress
A 12-kilometre section of The Great Trail, the Hay River Trail runs from along the Hay River to the edge of Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. Outdated, faded and damaged by the region’s tough environment, signs and interpretive panels on the Trail need replacement. Original English-language signs will be replaced with new signs that feature English, French and Indigenous languages to enhance accessibility and educational reach.
QR codes may also be used on each sign to provide expanded information about local geography, history, flora and fauna. Two cautionary signs will be added to improve safety. These projects are just a small sample of the Trail’s ongoing work, which is supported by donations.
Thanks to the generous contributions of donors from across Canada, TCT and its local partners work tirelessly to ensure The Great Trail of Canada remains a legacy that we can all take pride in. If you value our work, support us today by visiting our Give page.