Navigating Canada’s Great Outdoors Just Got Easier: Trans Canada Trail and AccessNow Enhance Accessibility Mapping
Today, a significant step forward was taken in making Canada’s outdoor spaces more accessible. Trans Canada Trail, in collaboration with AccessNow, has announced that 25 additional sections of the Trans Canada Trail have been mapped for accessibility and added to the AccessNow app, available on both the Apple app store and Google Play.
The Trans Canada Trail’s Accessibility Mapping Program, initiated in 2020, aims to share information and boost accessibility on the trail. It actively collaborates with trail users with disabilities to gather and share data through AccessNow’s platform. As a result of this initiative, trail users in 54 communities across every province and territory in Canada now have accessibility information for at least one trail in their vicinity.
Eleanor McMahon, President & CEO of Trans Canada Trail, stated that the organization is dedicated to fostering a safe, inclusive access to nature for all individuals, irrespective of their abilities. “The program,” McMahon says, “provides crucial feedback to local trail groups and municipalities regarding any necessary modifications to enhance accessibility on the trail.”
In the ongoing year, the Accessibility Mapping Program witnessed participation from 19 mappers, all sharing a common love for the outdoors. Along with local trail guides, they embarked on different sections of the Trans Canada Trail, capturing their experiences via data collection, photography, and narrative descriptions. These insights are now available on the AccessNow app and website, serving as a valuable resource for trail users to make informed decisions about their travel on the trail sections.
Founder & CEO of AccessNow, Maayan Ziv, emphasized the role of the app in empowering people with disabilities to explore accessible outdoors. Users can not only discover what to expect along the mapped trail sections but are also encouraged to share their experiences and perspectives.
The latest 25 sections of the Trans Canada Trail that have been accessibility-mapped and added to the AccessNow app in 2023 include locations spanning from Alberta and British Columbia to the Yukon.
Trans Canada Trail’s Accessibility Mapping Program is backed by Manulife in line with their Impact Agenda, which focuses on bettering lives and preserving the planet. Tom Crohan, Global Head of Community Investment, Manulife, expressed the company’s pride in supporting this effort that aids in connecting more people to nature while raising awareness about the positive effects of our natural environment on our mental and physical health.
Demonstrating its commitment to inclusivity, Trans Canada Trail has allocated more than $1.8 million in funding since 2020 to local trail groups, supporting accessibility improvements. The full list of communities with accessibility-mapped sections of the Trans Canada Trail can be found here.