In September 2016, The Trans-Canada
Trail was renamed "The Great Trail of Canada." In June, 2021, it went back to being called the Trans Canada Trail. Go figure.The Great Trail of Canada
a number of trails across Canada, many with distinctive characteristics
that make parts of this trail world-class and parts unfriendly
to walkers. A few sections are waterways, so bring your canoe!
(The official page, lacks statistics, etc. You can get a better idea of the trail through the Wikipedia
page. However, the official page has a great map.)
the dream is a coast-to-coast trail, it has breaks. Sections end
and the trail picks up again to the north or south, with little bits
here and there.
A. Aunger, a professor emeritus of political science at the University
of Alberta has this to say about the trail: "Lacking both uniform
standards and control, the Trans Canada Trail includes a confusing and
dangerous hodgepodge of mountain-bike paths, roadside ditches, dirt
ruts, gravel roads and hazardous ATV trails." This quote, from an article by Aunger is a must-read
for anyone who really wants to understand the complicated politics of the trails—and the dangers.
Aunger's wife, Elizabeth Anne Sovis
, was killed while cycling a portion of the trail in Prince Edward Island.
has a point.
The trail organizers say that the complete 24,000 kilometres of
trail have been achieved. However, by 2017 (the latest stats I could
find), "only 7,898 kilometres of the trail are actual off-road
trails, or 32 per cent," according to a Maclean's magazine article
Trail officials sometimes juggle figures, aso it's hard to get a clear
idea of what is and isn't off road. In short, a lot of the trail is
simply the edge of a busy road. If you read the articles above and
follow related articles, you'll find that both provincial and federal
governments of all political stripes don't pay much attention to this.
Some positively pander to the ATV/motorized bike/snowmobile crowd,
slavering over their bucks and their political power.
The sections I have walked in the area of central
Ontario that I live in are disappointing. Abandoned rail
beds can be (but are not always) straight and boring; however, they are
not a complete loss as they pass through some beautiful terrain.
me allow motorized vehicles which make them
and they have low air quality if there is a steady flow of vehicles.
the other hand, sections like the Voyageur Hiking Trail (between Sudbury and Thunder bay), or those in more
developed areas in the south sound exciting and I'm
anxious to give them a try.
The official Trans Canada Trail site has a great trail map
pinpoint trails and lead you to pages that will give you more specific
information on sections of the trail. It's an essential tool, as some
sections of the trail are not marked as the Trans Canada Trail. It's
beyond me why one unmarked road links one part of the trail to another
and yet at another spot the trail breaks off and doesn't officially
link to another section via a road.
It seems that the "multi-use"
nature of parts of the trail does not encourage fervent allegiance to
it in the
same way as (say) the Appalachian Trail in the United States acts as a
kind of Mecca for walkers. As long as vehicles are allowed in
charm of a coast-to-coast-trail is weakened. Still, perhaps
as the trail develops, it
can incorporate sections for non-motorized activities only and leave
the road-like trails to the vehicles.
Check out my page on rails to trails
if you want more
information on rail companies that built and ran some of the rail lines
The Trans-Canada Trail) in Ontario
Sections walked are described from east to west. These are the sections I have walked.
Lake to Kaladar
Kaladar to Tweed
to CampbellfordCampbellfordCampbellford to Hastings