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Canada nears completion of world’s longest recreational trail system

Canada's Great Trail is more than 85 per cent complete and is expected to be finished in 2017 as the world's largest recreational trail system.

The Great Trail

The world’s longest recreational trail system is nearing completion and it’s right here at home.

To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, the Great Trail is expected to be completed in 2017. The multi-use, recreational trail will stretch coast-to-coast and is expected to be 24,000 kilometres. Currently, the trail is between 85 and 90 per cent completed as some connecting sections still need to be built.

The Great Trail as it’s now popularly known was previously referred to as the Trans Canada Trail. While there are portions that are suitable for running, it’s been noted that the trail is “multi-use, made up of greenway, waterway and roadway routes, all owned and operated locally.”

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The Trans Canada Trail was founded in 1992 as a not-for-profit organization and 2017 will double as its 25th anniversary as well as Canada’s 150th. Each section of the trail is owned and operated by the local municipality and relies partially on donations as well as funding from the federal government.


The Great Trail is made up of 500 individual routes stretching from Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia and north to the Arctic Ocean. According to the TC Trail’s website, four out of five Canadians live within 30 minutes of the Great Trail.

The website notes that 26 per cent of the trail is on water so a cross-country trip via the Great Trail would be difficult. Newfoundland and Labrador was the first province to achieve full connection of the Great Trail.

The seawall in Vancouver, for example, is a well-known landmark on the west coast and is part of the Great Trail. See the interactive map of the Great Trail here.

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In other 150th anniversary celebrations, the Calgary Marathon is hosting a 150K race in 2017 to honour Canada’s confederation.

13.1K ? That autumn smell ? #ScenicPark #NorthBurnaby #RunDiary ?09-02-2016

A photo posted by Ethan YJ (@raincity_runner) on