A message from Valerie Pringle, Chair of the TCT Foundation Board

This is a year of transition at Trans Canada Trail, which is always bittersweet. At the end of February, we said farewell to our spectacular President & CEO of 12 years, Deborah Apps. Throughout her tenure, Deborah led the Trail with great distinction and was instrumental in connecting The Great Trail of Canada from coast to coast to coast.

All of us were sad to see Deb go, but we continue to celebrate her contributions. In her honour, we created a legacy fund to support initiatives that foster partnerships with Indigenous communities, including multilingual signage and enhancing culturally important sections of the Trail – one of TCT’s key priorities and a goal that is very near to Deb’s heart. To the many of you who generously gave to the Deborah Apps Legacy Fund, thank you!

On the sweet side, we are thrilled to welcome Eleanor McMahon as our new President & CEO. Eleanor brings a wealth of experience in the private, public and not-for-profit sector to TCT and has a stellar reputation as an advocate for active transportation and cycling. She is also the founder of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, and is well versed in key issues that affect the Trail. We are all delighted to work with her as she leads us in our mission to continue to build, animate, improve and promote The Great Trail.

My personal highlight of the year was a ceremony at the pavilion in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, which was re-dedicated to the Canadian Military Engineers as a token of our appreciation for their contributions to the Trail, and in recognition of their long history of service to Canada. As part of our past collaboration with them, the CME built 35 bridges along the Trail in 10 provinces. Our relationship with the CME is a powerful one, and we are grateful to them for their incredible support.

For years, I have called The Great Trail of Canada the greatest project in the history of the world. I know it’s hyperbolic, but I believe it. The Trail connects our oceans and at more than 27,000 kilometres, it has earned the title of the longest network of recreational multi-use trails in the world. But that isn’t the only reason The Great Trail is so great.

It speaks to everything worthy about nation building, accessibility, exercise, health, nature and connecting Canadians.

Every day, Canadians, like you, do something great by supporting the Trail, by using the Trail and by volunteering to enhance and protect the Trail. Greatness has many forms, and the potential for greatness that the Trail offers is limitless!

I want to thank everyone who continues to support this amazing project, and who sees the need to protect it and preserve it for future generations.

As we continue to cope with the impacts of the pandemic, I rely on The Great Trail to keep me healthy and sane. I am so grateful to have the wonderful Trail section along the Niagara River, where I take my dogs for daily exercise. Kierkegaard once wrote: “Health and salvation can only be found in motion.” And George Macaulay Trevelyan once said: “I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.” Even in the most challenging of times, there is so much truth in both these statements.

If you do something great, the Trail can do something great for you.