Comprising almost the total mileage of the historic Prince Edward Island Railway, development of the Confederation Trail was discussed by a number of rails to trails advocacy groups in the province in the early 1990s, culminating in the decision by the provincial government to purchase the entire railway right-of-way from CN in 1994 after CN had removed all track.
In addition to provincial government employees, the development of the Confederation Trail was assisted by the Trans Canada Trail foundation, and by various community groups, volunteers, and Canadian Forces engineers who have volunteered in reconstructing abandoned railway bridges for recreational trail use across Canada in the past decade.
Since its completion from Tignish to Elmira in 2000, the Confederation Trail has proven a popular recreational trail for residents and tourists. Given its railway heritage, the trail has little to no grades and is well drained. Stone dust has been placed over the traditional railway crushed rock ballast, giving a surface suitable for walking/running, and biking. Horses are not allowed on the trail. No motorized vehicles are permitted on the trail, although during the winter months, the provincial government leases the trails to the provincial snowmobile federation which provides grooming for snowmobiling.
The entire trail system is marked with kilometre posts and directional and interpretive signage, as well as benches, picnic table shelters, and scenic look-offs throughout. The trail winds through Prince Edward Island's scenic agricultural and forested landscapes and is frequently crossed by public roads.
Although highly unlikely in Prince Edward Island's case, the concept of "rails to trails" is based on the premise that abandoned rail corridors should be preserved as recreational trails in order to "rail bank" these transportation arteries should the need for a future conversion back to rail usage arise. Prince Edward Island will likely not see this occur as the connection to the North American rail network was removed on May 31, 1997, when the ferry system to the mainland that had been used for carrying rail traffic was replaced with the Confederation Bridge.
As of 2008 the Confederation Trail has several major routes:
With over 75% of total railway mileage transformed into recreational trails, the provincial government is currently working at rebuilding the railway lines west of Murray River to Lake Verde Junction and eventually Maple Hill Junction (southwest of Mount Stewart).
A large part of this railway right-of-way was leased to local landowners in the early 1990s by CN prior to provincial ownership. The lease expires in 2015 when it is expected full trail development will take place on these remaining sections, including the rebuilding of several bridges.
The last portions of the trail which have yet to open include:
The Iron Horse Trail is a rail trail located in east-central Alberta in Canada. The 300 km-long, multi-use recreational trail is used by all-terrain vehicles, but also by horses, mountain bikes, hikers, and snowmobiles, depending upon the season.The trail occupies a former Canadian National Railway line's right-of-way from Waskatenau to Cold Lake, with an arm branching off to Heinsburg. It is part of the Trans Canada Trail.K
K (named kay ) is the eleventh letter of the modern English alphabet and the ISO basic Latin alphabet. In English, the letter K usually represents the voiceless velar plosive.Martin Goodman Trail
The Martin Goodman Trail is a 56-kilometre (35 mi) multi-use path along the waterfront in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It traverses the entire lake shore from one end of the city to the other, from Humber Bay Arch Bridge in the west to the Rouge River in the east. The Martin Goodman Trail is part of the 730 km Waterfront Trail around Lake Ontario.Nipissing-North Arm Orienteering Trail
The Nipissing-North Arm Orienteering Trail, a 30-kilometre (19 mi) backpacking route, leads across rugged wilderness in the Massasauga Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. The park is situated along Georgian Bay on Lake Huron and its trails are accessible only by water. The trail is not blazed, although there are posts with interpretive information located at points of interest along the route.North Coast Trail
The North Coast Trail is a 43.1 km wilderness hiking trail in Cape Scott Provincial Park on northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.Pan Am Path
The Pan Am Path is a multi-use path that connects trails in the Greater Toronto Area as part of the legacy of the 2015 Pan American Games and 2015 Parapan American Games. The path is over 80 kilometres (50 mi) in length, connecting Toronto neighbourhoods.Parkdale, Prince Edward Island
Parkdale is a neighbourhood of the city of Charlottetown in central Queens County, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Parkdale's location immediately northeast of Charlottetown and southeast of Sherwood saw it grow from being a rural farming community in the Queens Royalty to become a village on November 6, 1958. It was incorporated as a town in 1973 and was amalgamated into Charlottetown on April 1, 1995.
Presently a neighbourhood, Parkdale has a mix of housing, commercial and light industrial districts across an area of several dozen hectares, bounded by the former railway line (now the Confederation Trail) to the south and west, Belvedere Avenue/Falconwood Drive to the north, and the Hillsborough River to the east.
Parkdale had an active volunteer fire department, which was closed after municipal amalgamation. It is also the location of the Provincial Exhibition and Charlottetown Driving Park.Prince Edward Island Railway
The Prince Edward Island Railway (PEIR) was a historic Canadian railway on Prince Edward Island (PEI). The railway ran tip-to-tip on the island, from Tignish in the west to Elmira in the east, with major spurs serving Borden-Carleton's train ferry dock, the capital in Charlottetown, Montague and Georgetown and the original eastern terminus at Souris. A major spur from Charlottetown served Murray Harbour on the south coast.
Construction began in 1871 but costs almost bankrupted the government by the next year, a problem that helped pave PEI's entrance into Confederation. The work was picked up by the Canadian Government Railways and largely completed by the mid-1880s. The PEIR saw heavy use, especially during World War II, but like many railways saw declining use through the 1970s. The line officially closed on 31 December 1989 and the rails removed between 1990 and 1992, with the provincial government receiving a one-time payment of $200 million to upgrade the road network in exchange for not opposing the closure.
The provincial government purchased the properties in 1994, and 75% of the route now forms the basis of the Confederation Trail rail trail system. The station in Elmira, at the eastern end of the line, is now used as the Elmira Railway Museum.Rideau Trail
The Rideau Trail is a 387-kilometre (240 mi) hiking trail in Ontario, Canada, linking Ottawa and Kingston. Crossing both public and private lands, the trail was created and opened in 1971. It is named for the Rideau Canal which also connects Ottawa and Kingston, although the two only occasionally connect. The trail crosses terrain ranging from the placid farmland of the Ottawa River and St. Lawrence River valleys to the rugged Canadian Shield in Frontenac Provincial Park. The trail also passes through Richmond, Perth, and Smiths Falls. It is intended only for walking (hiking), snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.Trans Canada Trail
The Trans Canada Trail, officially renamed The Great Trail in September 2016, is a cross-Canada system of greenways, waterways, and roadways that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic oceans. The trail extends over 24,000 kilometres (15,000 miles); it is now the longest recreational, multi-use trail network in the world. The idea for the trail began in 1992, shortly after the Canada 125 celebrations. Since then it has been supported by donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and all levels of government. Trans Canada Trail (TCT) is the name of the non-profit group that raises funds for the continued development of the trail. However, the trail is owned and operated at the local level.
On August 26, 2017, TCT celebrated the connection of the trail with numerous events held throughout Canada. TCT has said it now plans to make the trail more accessible, replace interim roadways with off-road greenways, add new spurs and loops to the trail, and fund emergency repairs when needed.Waskahegan Trail
The Waskahegan Trail is a walking/hiking trail that runs through and around Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It is 309 km and runs through a mix of public and private land. Landowners are paid nothing. Their permission is given on the understanding that it can be withdrawn at any time for any reason. The trail is managed by a volunteer board, the Waskahegan Trail Association (WTA).Wood Islands, Prince Edward Island
Wood Islands is a rural farming and fishing community located in southeastern Queens County, Prince Edward Island on the Northumberland Strait. It takes its name from several small forested islands, then located several hundred metres offshore in the Northumberland Strait. The community of Wood Islands falls within the larger PEI Township of Lot 62, which had a population in 2011 of 470 residents, a 13% decrease from the 2006 census count of 540. While the named islands are located on maps by Jacques-Nicolas Bellin: Karte Bellin, 1744: 'I a Bova' and Louis Franquet: Cartes Franquet, 1751: 'Isle a Bois', it was Samuel Johannes Holland who correctly surveyed and depicted the islands, about their basin. The 'European' settlement of Wood Islands began in 1803, but saw its most noted arrivals in 1807 with the arrival, after wintering in Pinette, of a large party of Scottish settlers from The Spencer.