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Lake Superior Water Trail connects explorers to northern Ontario

A new, northern section of the Trans Canada Trail opens today, but you'll need more than comfortable shoes to explore it. The trail is a 1,000 km water path along the north shore of Lake Superior with 16 access points to choose from.

New portion of Trans Canada Trail a 'showcase for the world' says project coordinator

Kayaks on the beach at Spar Island, on Lake Superior, northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont. (Thunder Bay Field Naturalists)

A new, northern section of the Trans Canada Trail opens today, but you'll need more than comfortable shoes to explore it.

The trail is a 1,000 km water path along the north shore of Lake Superior.

Paddlers have 16 access points to choose from between Gros Cap Marina Park near Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay's Fisherman's Park.

Joanie McGuffin is the project coordinator for the Lake Superior Water Trail. She says her team has developed infrastructure at each of the access points to help travellers. This includes composting toilets, bear-proof garbage, recycling containers and universally accessible docks.

"I'd say one of the things we're most proud of is the accessibility of the sights," says McGuffin.

"The docks are amazing because you can go from your car, in a wheelchair, to the dock, get into your kayak and out onto the lake."

Cyclists? Meet paddlers. 

The trail is part of the Canada 150 celebrations, and really takes advantage of trail tourism.

"It's a big economy boost, connecting the land and water for these communities" says McGuffin.

"The 1,000 km trail connects to a cycling route to Sudbury, so it'll be cyclists meeting paddlers."

Though the scenery is beautiful, McGuffin says the trail could get ugly. 

"We all know that in Lake Superior, the waters are cold, there's wind exposure — we make no bones about this," she says.

"There are safety materials outlined on our website like going out in properly appointed kayaks, covered canoes or voyageur canoes."

The Lake Superior Water Trail runs between Gros Cap Marina Park near Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay's Fisherman's Park. (Lake Superior Watershed Conservancy)

The access points are maintained by nearby partner communities such as Rossport, Schreiber, Terrace Bay and Marathon, says McGuffin. She strongly encourages everyone who uses and looks after the infrastructure to take great care of it not only for Canadians, but our visitors.

"We are a showcase for the world with our fresh water and our coastline," she says.

"The more we can develop with this alternative economic opportunity, the better off and stronger our economies will be for the future."