Red Deer to celebrate The Great Trail

A day to celebrate is coming for trail-lovers in Red Deer.

In honour of Canada’s 150th year, Red Deerians will gather at Bower Ponds in Waskasoo Park Aug. 26 at 2 p.m. to celebrate The Great Trail, also known as the Trans Canada Trail, with a special commemoration, live music and food.

Red Deer’s trails are very well used, said Central Alberta Regional Trails Society president Paul Pettypiece, so celebrating them in the city makes sense.

“We are proud of the trails we have in Central Alberta and we’re excited to celebrate The Great Trail with the rest of Canada,” he said.

Red Deer isn’t the only place celebrating, as there will be a number of celebrations for The Great Trail across Canada on Aug. 26. Lacombe will have a celebration at 11:30 a.m. at Elizabeth Lake and Blackfalds will have a celebration as well, though the time and location are not yet confirmed.

About 100 people are expected to attend celebration in Red Deer, Pettypiece said. Things will begin with a special commemoration to rededicate the Trans Canada Trail Pavilion. New panels will be added to the pavilion in the future honouring fallen RCMP officers and others – mock-ups of the panels will be on display on Aug. 26.

“Since the panels and the entire pavilion is being refurbished, we thought it would be a good thing to add,” Pettypiece said.

After that, the Alberta TrailsNet Society will honour Central Alberta’s “trail heroes” with special awards.

Then there will be live music from local artists, including the Dean Ray Band, Eric West and Dylan Olsen, while you can enjoy cake, ice cream and treats that will be handed out along the trail.

The Great Trail stretches 22,000 kilometres across Canada.

“The trails provide an alternative for everyone to visit other communities and to get a sense of the countryside and urban settings without having to drive a car,” Pettypiece said.

The goal for Canada’s 150th year was to connect the trail from coast to coast. There are still parts of The Great Trail where you need to walk alongside roads in order to get to the next part of the trail, but that goal is getting closer to completion.

“The trail connects communities and people … Even the people that were against the trails now support them because they see the value in them,” he said.

Though the celebration is coming before the completion the cross-country trail, the Central Alberta Regional Trails Society is still planning on connecting Red Deer to other places in Central Alberta, such as Ponoka and Innifail.

More details can be found at www.centralalbertatrails.org.

sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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