The Great Trail in 12 months
1. We were proud to grant funding to help 138 groups spruce up their Trail sections. Through the first-ever Spring Cleanup Grant, 173 cleanup events were held across Canada and a total of $167,000 was disbursed to support these efforts.
From removing fallen trees and debris to clearing Trail sections of trash, determined volunteers of all ages got together to tidy their trail and organize fun post-cleanup celebrations.
2. Last summer saw the return of a successful program seeking to drive more Canadians to the Trail – The Great Trail Treasure Hunt. Organized in partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), this cross-Canada contest engaged outdoor enthusiasts and families in every province and territory in seeking out some of the 200 treasure boxes cached along sections of The Great Trail.
It turned out that Canadians loved it just as much as we did! Over 8,000 entries were received throughout the contest, over 399 participants found more than five boxes and over 200 prizes were awarded to lucky winners.
3. We piloted ways to help the next generation make meaningful connections to the Trail through Instameets – meetups where people can explore the Trail in their area, take photos and share them on Instagram using #BetterTogetherTGT.
The Instameets, held in Winnipeg (MB), Halifax (NS), and Langford (BC), encouraged people who might not see themselves as hikers to use the Trail, and show them that rural and urban Trail sections are easy to explore. The Instameets also presented opportunities to collaborate with tourism organizations, trigger peer-to-peer promotion for the Trail and profile TCT as a charity of choice.
4. We were honoured to win a 2019 Nature Inspiration Award in the Not-for-Profit (small and medium organization) category! The accolade, presented by the Canadian Museum of Nature, recognized TCT’s efforts in creating inspiring and innovative ways of connecting Canadians to the great outdoors. We were grateful to receive this award as we work to engage and inspire people to take ecological responsibility in their lives. We humbly accepted it on behalf of thousands of Canadians – donors, volunteers, partners and governments at all levels – who have helped make this dream of a cross-Canada trail a reality.
5. We were delighted to be part of Nature Sketch on The Great Trail, a series of seven sketching workshops hosted in partnership with the Bateman Foundation, a non-profit founded by TCT Champion Robert Bateman. Over 300 budding artists attended events in seven communities across the country on September 14, 2019 – from Victoria to Halifax and all the way north to Tuktoyaktuk! We are grateful to Rodney Briggs, whose generous donation helped us to engage with a like-minded organization, hold these events and showcase the many ways the Trail can be enjoyed.
6. We believe one of the best ways to get to know a new country is through exploring its landscapes and communities. That’s why we partnered with the Institute of Canadian Citizenship (ICC) to introduce The Great Trail of Canada to new citizens!
Sections of The Great Trail now appear on the ICC’s app, Canoo, which gives new citizens access to over 1,400 of Canada’s treasured places. TCT values every opportunity to make all Canadians feel at home, safe and welcome on the Trail.
7. We’ve been lucky to hear many inspiring stories from people who use the Trail for all kinds of adventures – from thru-hikes and high-octane training to simple strolls around their communities.
To share their experiences with larger audiences, we were thrilled to launch Pathfinders, a new page on our website.
The experiences of our Pathfinders show us that, on the Trail, we’re different but equal.
8. In September, we honoured the Canadian Military Engineers (CME) for their incredible support over the years with an event in Halifax. As part of our ‘Bridges for Canada’ partnership in the early 2000s, CME units took up the challenge of building 35 bridges along the Trail in 10 provinces. This work was crucial to the eventual connection of the Trail in 2017. The event also saw the unveiling of a new plaque on the Ready-Aye-Ready Bridge, which commemorates the CME’s contributions. We were delighted to show our gratitude to members of the CME alongside representatives of all levels of government.
9. Our achievements this year would not have been possible without our many supporters at all levels of government. In particular, we remain very grateful to our friends at Parks Canada, who continue to support our mission of converting interim roadways to greenways, engaging and including Indigenous communities, making the Trail more accessible, funding repairs needed to maintain connection, and creating links with other major trail networks. We are also thankful for their generous contribution of $30 million from 2018 to 2022.