Nunavut Territorial Parks
Credit: Nunavut Territorial Parks

Trans Canada Trail (TCT) is thrilled to announce the official inclusion of Nunavut's Itijjagiaq Trail as part of The Great Trail. This makes Nunavut Canada's sixth province or territory - after Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick - to celebrate its connection to The Great Trail's countrywide network.

The announcement was made at a celebratory luncheon at the Frobisher Inn in Iqaluit, and was attended by TCT partners, volunteers, and government supporters, including The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism, who spoke at the event. "Today we celebrate the completion of the Nunavut connection to The Great Trail, which not only connects Canadians from coast to coast to coast but is also a shining example of our country's breathtaking beauty and resolute spirit," said Minister Chagger. "I look forward to the full connection of the Trail in 2017 as we walk, bike or paddle our way to Canada's 150th."

Nunavut's Itijjagiaq Trail stretches 177 kilometres along the southern coast of Baffin Island. The route is a single, mostly unmarked nature trail used by hikers in the Arctic summer and snowmobilers and dogsledders in winter. The Itijjagiaq Trail adds a rich history and spectacular tundra landscapes to the country-wide mosaic that is The Great Trail, which currently spans over 21,000 kilometres across the country and, nationally, is 90% connected. 

"The Great Trail showcases the history of the land and its peoples, which is especially true in the case of Nunavut's Itijjagiaq Trail," says Deborah Apps, TCT president & CEO. "This historic trail is an esteemed addition to our national Trail network, which we are working toward connecting country-wide for Canada 150 celebrations in 2017, with the tremendous support of donors, volunteers, partners and all levels of government. We are proud of this new addition, and grateful to the Government of Nunavut for their many years of support."

Every Canadian province and territory is home to its own section of The Great Trail, which is owned and operated at the local level. The Itijjagiaq Trail in Nunavut has been part of Canada's landscape for hundreds of years as a primarily winter corridor used as the main pathway connecting the communities of Kimmirut and Iqaluit. While this historic trail has been in existence for generations, its remoteness has made it difficult for those wishing to explore this isolated region. 

For this reason, TCT is proud to have partnered with the Government of Nunavut to promote the Trail, but even more importantly, to enhance the safety of Trail users by posting navigation signage on warming huts along the route. The Honourable Monica Ell-Kanayuk - Deputy Premier, Minister of Economic Development and Transportation, Minister responsible for Mines, Minister responsible for the Nunavut Business Credit Corporation, Minister responsible for the Nunavut Development Corporation, Minister responsible for the Utility Rates Review Council, and Minister responsible for the Status of Women - also spoke at the event.  "It was an honour to participate in the celebration of the 100% connection of The Great Trail in Nunavut," she said. "Having our historic trail registered and therefore connected to the 24,000 kilometres of Trail across Canada is a wonderful initiative. Thank you to the hard-working volunteers and staff who help maintain this beautiful trail."

TCT's goal is to connect the entire network, nearly 24,000 kilometres, in 2017. But connection is only the beginning: TCT will continue to encourage Canadians and international visitors to discover, experience and cherish the Trail by supporting improvements and by sustaining its integrity for future generations. 

TCT relies on financial contributions from donors in both the public and private sectors, and all gifts to TCT are matched by the Government of Canada, as part of a funding program to support TCT's 2017 national connection goal. This program has the federal government contributing one dollar for every two raised by TCT, up to $25 million. This support allows for Trail development across the country, benefitting Canadians and strengthening communities.

Trans Canada Trail: Connecting The Great Trail in 2017

It began as a bold dream in 1992: the idea of creating a trail that would be a gift from Canadians to Canadians. Since then, TCT - a not-for-profit organization - has been working with donors, partners, governments and volunteers to create an epic trail of trails offering a wide range of outdoor experiences on greenway, waterway and roadway. Every Canadian province and territory is home to its own stretch of The Great Trail, which is owned and operated at the local level. TCT's goal is to have The Great Trail connected from coast to coast to coast in 2017, for Canada 150 celebrations. For more information: www.TheGreatTrail.ca.

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