TCT Chair and Founding Member Paul LaBarge steps up plans for Canada’s 150th birthday
What’s the best gift to give a country on its 150th birthday? On July 1, 2017, when Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary of Confederation, the national dream that is the Trans Canada Trail will see Canadians from communities across the country celebrating this milestone on the Trail’s scenic paths and waterways.
Their communities may be separated by vast distances, but these celebrants will be connected to each other by the Trail – a vast network of nearly 500 trails that stretch 24,000 kilometres from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans, running through every province and territory.
“We will have such a celebration on July 1, 2017, with almost 1,000 communities participating in the 150th anniversary celebration,” says Paul LaBarge, chair and founding member of the Trans Canada Trail.
The Trail received a significant financial boost this year when the federal government announced it would provide $1 for every $2 raised by the Trans Canada Trail, to a maximum of $25-million over four years.
How will Canadians coast to coast to coast celebrate the country’s 150th on the Trail? “There are a number of ideas under consideration,” says Mr. LaBarge. “These include a relay that would culminate on Canada Day in Ottawa, and the planting of a series of LED lights that would illuminate the Trail so it could be seen via satellite from outer space.”
Another idea, he suggests, is that “since July 1 is very close to the summer solstice, we could also consider doing a relay all in one day with people from each community along the Trail heading out in both directions to link up with the next adjacent community.”
For all these celebrations, the key is to encourage as many Canadians as possible to be on the Trail as participants, not merely spectators. “The whole concept of the Trans Canada Trail is ownership, participation, action and community,” says Mr. LaBarge.
The Trail – a community-based project with Trail sections owned and maintained by local groups, municipalities, provincial authorities and national agencies – may be the largest and most precious gift that Canadians will give themselves for the country’s 150th birthday.
It delivers great educational value as a literal path to greater awareness of Canada’s history, and promotes environmental conservation and the protection of green spaces. It’s also an economic asset that can stimulate tourism and create jobs, and a health booster that inspires active living.
More than a gift, the Trail is a national, sustainable legacy that will enrich the lives of future generations of Canadians, says Mr. LaBarge.
“The completed Trail will make us the envy of the world – truly iconic,” he says. “And most important of all, it will be the most fantastic acknowledgement and recognition of our Canadian existence.”
The Trans Canada Trail is a non-profit registered charity. Its mission is to promote and assist in the development and use of the Trail in every province and territory. The TCT also provides funding to local Trail organizations to support the development of the Trail. To find out more about the TCT, visit our website, tctrail.ca.
- Paul LaBarge,Chair, Ontario
- Tara Atleo, Director, British Columbia
- Jim Bishop, Director, British Columbia
- Cameron Clark, Director, Ontario
- Mylène Forget, Director and Secretary, Quebec
- Eric Gionet, Director, New Brunswick
- Betty Anne Graves, Director, Alberta
- Ron Hicks, Director, British Columbia
- Ken Killin, Director, Ontario
- Lori Leach, Director, Saskatchewan
- Alan MacDonald, Director, Ontario
- Ruth Marr, Director, Manitoba
- Rick Morgan, Director, Ontario
- Claire Morris, Director, Ontario
- Andrew Parsons, Director and Treasurer, Quebec
- Cynthia Price, Director, Quebec
- Neil Yeates, Director, Ontario
- Valerie Pringle, Co-Chair, TCTF, ex officio