The Great Trail — previously known as the Trans Canada Trail — is a bit of a misnomer. Given that the recently opened trail is the longest recreational one in the world at a staggering 14,864 miles, the project is great indeed, a monumental achievement. However, it isn’t a trail.
Similar to its daintier American cousin, the Maine-to-Florida spanning East Coast Greenway, the Great Trail isn’t a single trail but a collection of small, community-based trails, all maintained and operated by local jurisdictions, linked together to form a single network. It’s a touch confusing but it makes sense that the Great Trail — composed of more than 400 individual trails snaking across all 10 provinces and two of the three territories, from St. John’s in the East to Victoria in the West with a huge looping detour north through the Yukon and Northwest Territories to the Arctic Ocean — would be billed as a single entity. (“The Great Canadian Network of Interconnected Community Trails” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, now does it?)