Trans Canada Trail to Host 2024 World Trails Conference in Ottawa

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Hiking at Pukaskwa National Park
Hiking at Pukaskwa National Park

The World Trails Network (WTN) has selected Ottawa, Canada, as the location for the next World Trails Conference (WTC) to be held in 2024. The bid was submitted by Trans Canada Trail, in partnership with Ottawa Tourism. This global gathering of trail experts, managers, builders, enthusiasts, and academics meets every two years to share knowledge and ensure the sustainability and support of trails around the world. It is the first time that Canada will host the conference.

“We are delighted at this opportunity to bring the WTC to Canada, and to work together with trail sector leaders in Canada and around the world to do so,” said Eleanor McMahon, President & CEO, Trans Canada Trail. The conference will be held in early fall 2024, with specific dates to be announced soon.

Ottawa was chosen as the venue for the conference due to its proximity to leading agencies such as Parks Canada, and government officials including Members of Parliament, Senators, and Cabinet Ministers in relevant disciplines such as Infrastructure, Tourism, Environment, and Climate Change. Additionally, the city offers an opportunity to engage the diplomatic community in Ottawa to elevate the awareness of trail organizations and issues globally.

The event will be a carbon-neutral, zero-waste conference, and further details about the delegation, presenters, and agenda will be shared in the coming weeks. The conference will focus on important discussions on climate, biodiversity, nature, trails tourism, and sector sustainability.

“We are happy to see the conference coming to Canada, and we will support Trans Canada Trail in welcoming trail organizations from around the world,” said Michael McDonald, CEO of the Bruce Trail Conservancy. “Ottawa Tourism is thrilled to welcome the World Trails Conference to the nation’s capital in 2024,” said Michael Crockatt, President & CEO of Ottawa Tourism.

Trans Canada Trail’s Léger survey research shows that trail use in Canada rose significantly during the pandemic, making it an opportune time to host the WTC in Canada. The Canadian government recently invested $55M over five years in the Trans Canada Trail based on the growing number of trail users and opportunities for trails tourism.

“This is Canada’s moment to shine as we convene the World Trails community to Ottawa. This is a unique opportunity to lead important discussions on climate, biodiversity, and nature, trails tourism, and sector sustainability. To host it in our nation’s capital in a city that is so well known for embracing the great outdoors in all seasons is particularly significant,” noted McMahon.

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