• dignitaries unveil new wayfinding signage for the great trail at 50 Sussex

    Dignitaries unveil wayfinding signage for The Great Trail at an event celebrating a new Ottawa trail spur at 50 Sussex Drive June 16. Left to right: Great Trail CEO Deborah Apps, MPP Nathalie Desrosiers, Great Trail Chair Paul LaBarge, Minister Responsible for Parks Canada Catherine McKenna, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, RCGS CEO John Geiger, MPP Yasir Naqvi, Algonquin Elder Kathleen Deschenes-Cayer from Kitigan Zibi. (Photo: Alexandra Pope/Canadian Geographic)

Ottawa's ceremonial route, Sussex Drive, is now connected to the rest of Canada via a spur of The Great Trail, making it easier than ever for Canadians to visit some of our country's most iconic addresses: the Prime Minister's residence at 24 Sussex, the Governor General's residence at Rideau Hall — and the Centre for Geography and Exploration at 50 Sussex, the new home of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. 

The newest section of the trail was celebrated June 16 at 50 Sussex, and adds to the 22,000 kilometres of trail already winding across the country. Trans-Canada Trail, the non-profit organization behind The Great Trail, hopes to have the full 24,000-kilometre length connecting Canada's three coasts completed by the end of 2017 to cap the country's 150th year.

"There's no better way to get to know Canada than to hike, paddle or bike the trail," said RCGS CEO John Geiger, adding that while the RCGS and TCT have long shared a vision of enabling more Canadians to explore their country, this new trail spur links the two organizations geographically as well.

Catherine McKenna, Minister responsible for Parks Canada, said running on the trail was a huge part of her life growing up in her hometown of Hamilton, Ont. and is a tradition she now proudly shares with her family in Ottawa. 

"We live in the best country in the world, and I'm reminded of that when I run on the trail," she said. 

Following remarks from the other assembled dignitaries, who included Ottawa MPPs Yasir Naqvi and Nathalie Desrosiers, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, TCT CEO Deborah Apps, chair Paul LaBarge, and co-chair Valerie Pringle, guests were able to get a taste of the trail — in a manner of speaking.