Some works of art take decades to complete. It took Stephen King 36 years to drop a sequel to The Shining. My Bloody Valentine went 22 years between Loveless and m b v. George R.R. Martin is still working on The Winds of Winter. And Chinese Democracy? Well, the less said about that one, the better.
The point is craftsmanship takes time, but if you’re willing to wait, you’ll reap the rewards. And I have to assume that outdoors enthusiasts have been waiting a long time for the completion of the Great Trail—a 14,913-mile network of cycling, hiking, horseback riding, snowmobiling and canoeing routes that spans the entirety of Canada from coast to coast, connecting 13 territories across the country.
Naturally, such an endeavor takes time to construct, and the Great Trail has been 25 years in the making. But organizers finally deemed the massive project ready and open for the public back in August, and so far, the possibilities are endless.
As The Globe and Mail points out, in Newfoundland you can cycle through the woods from St. John’s to Port aux Basques; travel from the Cowichan Valley to Victoria over the Goldstream River on Vancouver Island; and canoe the McKenzie River Trail in the Yukon and Northwestern Territories, among hundreds of other paths that are now possible thanks to the 477 groups of local trail-building volunteers who have been working on connecting the trail since 1992, installing signs and constructing boardwalks to help you get your Canada on. (Explore the map here.)
The Great Trail is now the longest in the world, and you can largely thank three enterprising Canucks—Pierre Camu, Paul LaBarge and Bill Pratt—who banded together in ‘92 with the goal of toasting their country’s 125th birthday by connecting all of its trails. A quarter century (and tens of millions of government dollars later), their vision has been realized. “First you build it, then get people using it and then it becomes an icon that will hopefully last forever,” LaBarge told The Globe and Mail.
Go celebrate with some poutine and Molson’s, gents. You’ve earned it.