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Connecting the country

After 25 years, the Confederation trail is complete

The son of the founding president of PEI rails to trails stood in the large crowd gathered for the official opening, watching as his father’s dream came true.

Don Deacon, whose vision led to PEI’s railway being converted to an active transportation path, passed away in 2003. Deacon’s dream was the seed of the Trans Canada Trail, which is close to connecting the entire country through active transportation.

Confederation Trail

  • Year vacated by railroad: 1989
  • Year province became owner: 1993
  • Trail first developed: 1994
  • Tip-to-tip portion (Tignish to Elmira): 273.4 km
  • Total: 444 km
  • Fun Fact: Confederation Trail crosses a roadway 241 times throughout the province

Don Deacon (left) dreamed of seeing PEI's railway converted to an active transportation path. Twenty-five years later, his son Doug (right) watches as the trail is completed.

“It was a remarkable moment for us, to see a dream Dad had 30 years ago completed,” his son, Doug Deacon said.

After 25 years and $25 million investment by the province of PEI, the picturesque Confederation trail has been completed.

It was developed on abandoned railway lines and takes you into wetlands and hardwood groves, through quaint villages and along sparkling rivers.

The 410 kilometers of rolled stone dust trail has gentle gradients which never exceed 2% (up or down). This Island wide exploration corridor is ideal for visitors of all fitness levels. The Main Trail starts in Tignish at kilometer 0 and ends in Elmira at kilometer 273.

Donald Deacon, a former member of the Ontario Legislature and an Officer of the Order of Canada, and his wife Florence Deacon had relocated to Prince Edward Island at the age of 60 and were looking for a lifestyle change. Donald had traveled in Europe and Great Britain and admired the hiking and biking trails in those parts of the world.

He saw the Island’s old rail line and was inspired.

“He made an immediate connection with the trails in great Britain and Europe and saw the potential when the rail closed here,” Deacon said.

Prince Edward Island is the second province to connect its section of the TCT.

Canada’s Trail is currently 75 per cent complete.

TCT’s bold mission is to achieve full connection, coast to coast to coast, by 2017, Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, and become a platform for national celebration.
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