THUNDER BAY, ON, June 19, 2015 /CNW/ - The Trans Canada Trail is thrilled to announce it has received a $2 million joint gift from TD Bank Group and the Ontario Trillium Foundation – funds that have been matched by the Government of Canada with another $1 million grant, for a total of $3 million in Trail development funding.
These funds will help the Trans Canada Trail (TCT) to enhance and complete its route in Northern Ontario, between the City of North Bay and the City of Thunder Bay. The Trail sections under development include water and land routes, connecting 44 municipalities and aboriginal communities.
"We are grateful for the generous donation from TD Bank Group and the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and to our federal government for matching that $2 million gift with an additional $1 million grant," says Valerie Pringle, Co-Chair of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation. "It's a testament to our vision and passion when three major funders collaborate to help us reach our bold goal of a fully connected Trail, from Atlantic to Pacific to Arctic coasts, byCanada's 150th birthday in 2017."
50 Trail development projects are currently in progress as part of the TCT's goal to connect the Trail from coast to coast to coast by 2017. Currently, the Trail is more than 17,000 kilometres long and is 75 per cent connected. Once complete, the Trans Canada Trail will stretch almost 24,000 kilometres and will include urban, rural and wilderness trails in every province and territory.
Connecting Trail sections and communities in Northern Ontario
The $3 million donation will be used to help complete or enhance three TCT routes in northern Ontario.
The North Bay to Sudbury Cycling Route, a 207-km road cycling route.
The Lake Huron North Channel Waterfront Cycling Trail (LHNC), a 370-km road cycling route from Sudbury to Sault Ste. Marie.
The Lake Superior Water Trail (LSWT), a 989-km paddling route from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay, currently part of the TCT network, will see the enhancement of 15 access points with amenities for paddlers.
Connecting these three routes to the TCT depends on multiple community partnerships and volunteers. The leadership efforts of aboriginal communities, regional municipalities, and the Trail Group Collaborative – comprised of the Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy, the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, and Tourism Northern Ontario – will drive the project to completion.
The TCT is a multi-purpose recreational trail that promotes six preferred activities: walking/hiking, paddling, cycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
As sections of TCT, the North Bay to Sudbury Cycling Route, the Lake Huron North Channel Waterfront Cycling Trail, and the Lake Superior Water Trail all evoke the rich history and culture of Canada's people. By recalling the heritage of our aboriginal people, to early European trading and settlement, the growth of resource industries, the transcontinental railway, revolutionary Group of Seven paintings, and more – the TCT celebrates our proud Canadian journey.
Community benefits: the real return on investment
Much like the railway in previous centuries, the Trail provides economic benefits for adjacent municipalities. It draws visitors to remote communities and provides a market for wilderness and cultural tourism businesses.
The funding agreement for this project earmarks a portion of TD Group's $1 million contribution to be used to create a grant program that supports aboriginal tourism initiatives in Northern Ontario. The Grants for Aboriginal Trail Tourism (GATT) program will be administered by the TCT and grant up to $50,000 per project to aboriginal communities and individuals who operate tourism businesses close to the TCT route between North Bay and the Manitoba border.
Besides supporting community economic development, the TCT provides infrastructure for protecting Canada'swilderness environment and advocates sustainable use practices. The Trail is widely accessible to people for outdoor recreation, which helps to promote health and wellness. It provides opportunities for youth to explore outdoors and become engaged as Canada's next generation of environmental stewards and volunteers.
"This project is possible because of the partnerships that have been created – not only among our funders the TD Bank Group, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and the federal government, but also with our local Trail partners, aboriginal communities and municipalities in northern Ontario. We are grateful for their support of our national Trail and the benefits it provides to Canadians." – Deborah Apps, President & CEO, Trans Canada Trail
"TD is committed to making a positive difference in the communities where we live, work and play. The creation of the Aboriginal Tourism grant program will enhance the Trail's economic vitality and foster sustainable growth – which will in turn promote getting Canadians outdoors and help protect Canada's wilderness for future generations. " – Jane Duchscher, Sr. Vice-President Ontario North and East Region, TD Bank Group
"Ontario Trillium Foundation invests in many initiatives across different sectors to create vibrant and healthy communities within Ontario. We chose to fund the Trans Canada Trail's development project in Northern Ontariobecause it's absolutely consistent with our goal to foster environmental, cultural and leisure opportunities that create the communities we want to live in." – Andrea Cohen Barrack, CEO, Ontario Trillium Foundation
About the Trans Canada Trail
The Trans Canada Trail is a nation-building project being realized by provincial and territorial Trail groups across the country. Currently 75 percent connected, the TCT is on a bold mission to fully connect our national Trail by 2017,Canada's 150th birthday, and to being the natural stage for celebrating our majestic landscapes and our proud Canadian journey from coast to coast to coast. For more information on the TCT, please visit www.tctrail.ca.