On a Maritime morning of mist and fog, Trans Canada Trail celebrated the 100% connection milestone in Nova Scotia with approximately 100 enthusiastic trail users in attendance.
The event was held at the 1-km marker of the Salt Marsh Trail, a rail trail on Cole Harbour along the Atlantic Coast. Attendees were greeted at the trailhead by a young piper, who also provided a musical serenade for those on the guided trail walk that followed.
The ceremony began with a smudging ritual by the Elder, Bill Lewis, who sits on the Board of the Mi’kmaw Friendship Centre. Lewis expressed how much joy the Trail brings and how it provides a significant opportunity to connect people with nature.
TCT Foundation board member and chair of the Chapter 150 Campaign Committee, David Hoffman, presided over the opening ceremony as emcee, acknowledging the Province of Nova Scotia for its recent $100,000 in funding to help connect the last few sections of the Trail, as well as the positive and active partnership with the Departments of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Communities, Culture and Heritage, and Natural Resources.
The Honourable Margaret Miller, Minister of Natural Resources, spoke on behalf of the Province, stating that it was the government’s honour to have supported the development of the Trail. She acknowledged the work and dedication of all the local community groups who have made The Great Trail a reality in Nova Scotia. Councillor Lorelei Nicoll, of the Halifax Regional Municipality, conveyed the paramount importance of investment in nature and trails, as a means to boost physical and mental health for Canadians.
Blaise MacEachern spoke on behalf of Nova Scotia Trails Federation, Trans Canada Trail’s provincial partner in Nova Scotia: “For anyone who has been a part of an original trail-building idea, I think an old saying may resonate:
‘It is risky’ says Experience.
‘It’s pointless’, says Reason.
‘Give it a try’, says the Heart.”
He thanked all those involved in supporting and connecting the Trail, in particular those volunteers with their boots on the ground improving their local communities around the province.
The Great Trail through Nova Scotia is over 1,200 km with 64 distinct sections, cared for by as many trail groups. The Trail links to the provincial capital, Halifax and to the three adjacent provinces: New Brunswick, and by ferry to Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.
There are more than 200 celebrations being planned all across Canada on August 26. In Nova Scotia specifically, over 35 celebrations are being planned.