The Great Trail, which was first initiated in 1992 and has been in the making since, is slated for completion in July of next year, in time for Canada’s 150th birthday. So far, the trail covers a little over 20,000 kilometers (12,500 miles) in 13 provinces and territories. According to the project’s website, the trail will offer Canucks around the country a place to hike, cycle, paddle, ride, ski or snowmobile. Once completed, The Great Trail will have almost 24,000 kilometers (almost 15,000 miles) of mixed-use trails.
Different parts of the trail will be owned, operated and maintained by different local organizations, provincial authorities, national agencies and municipalities. The website’s interactive map allows users to see which parts of the pathway have been completed.
The project has not been without criticism, however, with some users noting that the trail still lacks the interconnectedness that would make it truly usable. Other challenges include Canada’s weather, which make it questionable whether it will actually function as a pathway for commuting or if it will be more of a recreational in-between space.
The project comes at a time when cities are increasingly integrating cycle highways into their plans. Earlier this year, the first phase of the cycling super highway the East Coast Greenway was launched with 1,360 kilometers (850 miles). The super highway will stretch from Florida to Maine, connecting 15 states across 4,800 kilometers (3,000 miles). The East Coast Greenway was first conceived of in 1991, around the same time that the Great Trail was initiated.
In Europe, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, the UK, and France have all integrated cycling super highways into their plans to encourage greener commuting.