Yukon Achieves a Trans Canada Trail Connection Milestone

TCT celebrates with partners, government supporters and donors including CIBC

WHITEHORSE, Feb. 27, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - The Trans Canada Trail (TCT) is proud to announce that connection of the Trail has been achieved in the Yukon, making it Canada's third province or territory—after Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island—to reach this milestone. This achievement will be marked at the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, the territory's renowned annual winter festival, where CIBC will also officially unveil its $750,000 gift to help the TCT connect Canada. Government representatives in attendance will include the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Honourable Doug Phillips, Commissioner of Yukon, among others.

"The TCT is on a bold mission to connect Canada in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, to unite the second largest country in the world via an interconnected recreational trail that showcases our spectacular natural landscapes and our vibrant and diverse communities," said Deborah Apps, TCT president & CEO and event emcee. "This achievement in Canada's magnificent Yukon brings us much closer to our goal, which would not be possible without the support of the government at all levels, our partners, volunteers and all of our donors, including CIBC, for their generous support of Trail development across Canada."

The TCT is supported by financial contributions from donors in both the public and private sectors, who believe in the TCT's commitment to investing in vital infrastructure for safe, affordable outdoor activity, fostering an appreciation of Canada's spectacular natural heritage.

CIBC made a gift of $750,000 to support Trail development across Canada via TCT's Chapter 150 fundraising campaign, which calls upon Canada's business and philanthropic leaders to contribute to the full connection of the Trail by 2017, and help to make it the natural stage for Canada 150 celebrations.

"CIBC is proud to help mark the completion of the TCT in the Yukon and connect this majestic trail to the rest of Canada," said Mike Stevenson, Senior Vice-President, Region Head of BC and Northern Territories, CIBC. "Our rich history goes back as long as Canada's with strong pioneering roots here in the North, so it's a natural fit for us to support this important milestone and help connect and engage Canadians in time to celebrate our shared 150th birthday with Canada in 2017."

CIBC chose the Yukon connection milestone celebration as the site for announcing its Canada-wide gift because of its strong history of 'firsts' in northern Canada. CIBC is well known as the 'bank of the North' as the first to offer banking services to remote northern communities with the introduction of the 'flying bank' in 1970, and it maintains the largest banking network across the territories of any Canadian bank.

All gifts to the TCT are matched by the Government of Canada, as part of a matching funding program approved in 2014 to support TCT's 2017 national connection goal by contributing one dollar for every two raised by the TCT. This support allows for Trail development across the country, benefitting Canadians and strengthening communities.

"Nearly 25 years ago in 1992 – the year of Canada's 125th birthday – the Trans Canada Trail initiative was created. Since then, the Trail has grown to become a national legacy for all Canadians and, once connected, will unite us from coast to coast to coast. It is truly emblematic of the richness and diversity of our great nation," said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. "Today's milestone celebration in the Yukon is another important step toward the Trail achieving full connection in time for the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. I encourage all Canadians to support the continued development of the Trail. It is a wonderful representation of our history, culture and natural heritage, one that will continue to thrive and be cherished for generations to come."

Since 1992, the TCT has been working with provincial and territorial partners and all levels of government to develop a multipurpose recreational trail, linking Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

Every Canadian province and territory is home to its own section of the TCT, which is owned and operated at the local level. The TCT's Yukon Trail Partner, the Klondike Snowmobile Association (KSA), has been the driving force in connecting the TCT across the territory. The KSA will continue to play a key leadership role in maintaining and improving the Trail in the Yukon in the years to come.

"We're proud of the fact that the TCT in the Yukon is now officially connected. It's quite a milestone and it gives us a sense of accomplishment," said Mark Daniels, president of the Klondike Snowmobile Association. "Our affiliation with the TCT means a lot because it broadens our base of appeal and our visibility as stewards of a multi-use trail network, while elevating the status of recreational trails in the Yukon."

Now connected, the TCT's route in the Yukon spans just over 1,600 kilometres from the border with British Columbia at Watson Lake, to the border with the Northwest Territories. Its uses range from mountain biking, cross-country skiing, mushing (dogsledding), to snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

"We congratulate the Klondike Snowmobile Association's ongoing dedication to the development and stewardship of safe and accessible snowmobile trails," says Dale Hickox, President of the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO). "The partnership with the Trans Canada Trail profiles snowmobiling as a key Canadian recreational winter activity, one that can be enjoyed safely by Canadians and tourists alike, in spectacular destinations like the Yukon. These trails access the Winter Paradise that many only dream about."

Yukon is the third of Canada's provinces and territories – after Newfoundland & Labrador and Prince Edward Island – to achieve a Trans Canada Trail connection milestone, and momentum continues to build in the remaining provinces and territories working to connect their sections of the Trail as 2017 fast approaches.

"The TCT began in 1992 as a dream to connect Canadians from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans by 2017," said Deborah Apps. "The dream is rapidly becoming a reality, which is an amazing achievement for a vast country like Canada, and this is only the beginning of an even greater adventure for Canadians."

The main route of the Trail currently spans nearly 19,000 kilometres. The TCT's goal is to connect and develop the entire route across the country to almost 24,000 kilometres, becoming the longest, grandest network of recreational trails in the world.

For more information on the Trans Canada Trail, visit http://tctrail.ca/. To learn more about the TCT in the Yukon, please visit http://tctrail.ca/about-the-trail/yukon-connected/.

About the Trans Canada Trail
The Trans Canada Trail is a nation-building project being realized by provincial and territorial Trail groups across the country. Currently 80 per cent connected, the TCT is on a bold mission to achieve connection by 2017, Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation, when the Trail will serve as the natural stage for celebrations showcasing Canada's majestic landscapes and proud heritage, from coast to coast to coast. For more information: www.tctrail.ca.


SOURCE Trans Canada Trail

For further information: Christina Kozakiewicz, TCT Communications Advisor, 514.562-4376, ckozakiewicz@tctrail.ca


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