The Ultimate Canadian Geography Quiz: The Great Trail edition

25 questions to test your knowledge of Canada’s country-crossing, coast-connecting trail system
By Nick Walker

It took many trails and waterways — 432, to be exact — to link Atlantic coast and Shield country, Prairie and northern tundra, Rocky Mountains and Pacific rainforest. And not only those landscapes, but also all of Canada’s largest cities and countless smaller communities, historical sites and protected areas. The more you drill down, the more staggering the idea behind The Great Trail becomes.

So in small tribute to a very large trail system, here are 25 questions to test your knowledge of this national network and a few of the places, people and histories it ties together.

Good luck!

Start the Quiz Just show me the answers!

1. What is the longest land-based section of The Great Trail?

Alaska Highway, B.C.-Yukon
Mackenzie Highway, N.W.T.
Mackenzie River Trail, N.W.T.
Newfoundland T’Railway Trail

2. At 1,660 kilometres, this is the longest water route on The Great Trail.

Lake Superior Water Trail, Ont.
Northwest Passage
Athabasca River Trail, Alta.
Mackenzie River Trail, N.W.T.

3. About how long have Ojibwa and Cree been using the “Path of the Paddle” — water trails between Thunder Bay, Ont., and eastern Manitoba — for travel and trade?

1,000 years
5,000 years
10,000 years
20,000 years

4. Alberta’s Kananaskis Country Trail is home to The Great Trail’s —

highest elevation
deepest average snowfall
highest foot-traffic
highest number of geo-tagged Instagram photos

5. On the more than 500-kilometre Northern Trails of Saskatchewan, you follow part of the route taken by this famous Canadian in 1885.

Major-General Sir Isaac Brock
suffragist Nellie McClung
explorer David Thompson
Métis leader Louis Riel

6. It’s not the Arctic, Pacific or Atlantic Ocean, but follow this water route and you’ll be paddling salt water.

Great Slave Lake, N.W.T.
Bras d’Or Lake, Cape Breton, N.S.
Lake Superior, Ont.
Qu’Appelle River, Sask.

7. If you were to follow The Great Trail east across the Chignecto Isthmus, what province or territory would you enter?

Northwest Territories
New Brunswick
Nova Scotia

8. In western Manitoba, The Great Trail runs through Neepawa, home to which great Canadian author?

Alice Munro
Robert Munsch
Margaret Laurence
Lucy Maud Montgomery

9. The Wreckhouse Trail, on Newfoundland’s southwest coast, is named after —

multiple shipwrecks in nearby coastal waters
a string of train derailments
storm-damaged fishing settlements
all of the above

10. Scottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie was the first person to travel the length of the Northwest Territories’ Mackenzie River, which today forms the Mackenzie River Trail.


11. Parts of Yukon’s Ridge Road Heritage Trail, built in 1899 during the Klondike Gold Rush, are “corduroy road.” What does this mean?

Rich mineral deposits give the ground a striped appearance
Logs were laid down in rows to add stability to the trail
It was a general term for any supply route (think “silk road”)
Way markers were made from the durable cotton material

12. Take southwestern B.C.’s Chilliwack Valley Trail for views of Slesse Mountain, Mount Cheam and other stunning peaks. To what major mountain range do these belong?

Cascade Mountains
Coastal Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
Rocky Mountains

13. On the Millennium Trail in Whitehorse, stop for an underwater observation-deck view of the world’s longest wooden fish ladder, through which hundreds to thousands of this species of fish bypass the Whitehorse dam each year.

Arctic char
chinook salmon
sockeye salmon
rock perch

14. Now included in The Great Trail, this was built during the Second World War as an access and supply route because the government feared an attack by the Japanese.

Cowichan Valley Trail, Vancouver Island
Alaska Highway, B.C.-Yukon
Sea to Sky Trail and Highway, B.C.
Dempster Highway, Yukon

15. Newfoundland, not mainland Canada, is home to the longest trail built on an old railbed.


16. The Meewasin Trail runs along both sides of the South Saskatchewan River through Saskatoon. Simply meaning “beautiful” or “nice,” from what language does meewasin come?

Michif (Métis)
Inuktitut (Inuit)

17. The trail outlined below extends to each of this province or territory’s three main geographical “points.” Where is it?

Prince Edward Island
Nova Scotia

18. In southern Manitoba, trail users walk directly along the Canada-U.S. border. In what year did the Canadian and U.S. governments work together to mark the border?


19. A meteorite impact created this huge natural feature, accessible by several trail sections.

Gulf of St. Lawrence
Sudbury Basin, Ont.
Lake Superior, Ont.
Frobisher Bay, Nunavut

20. On which of these trails might you encounter caribou in their natural habitat?

East Coast Trail, Avalon Peninsula, N.L.
Dempster Highway, northern mainland N.W.T.
Itijjagiaq Trail, southern Baffin Island, Nunavut
all of the above

21. Which of the following is not part of the Great Trail?

North Sydney, N.S., to Port-Aux-Basques, N.L., ferry
Great Slave Lake ice road, N.W.T.
Stanley Park Seawall, B.C.
North Vancouver to Vancouver SeaBus

22. Which capital city’s stretch of Great Trail would take you over the site of the former Iroquois village of Stadacona?

Quebec City

23. This is the regional term for the wind-stunted, twisted spruces along the Wreckhouse Trail and other Newfoundland coastlines.

Newfie bonsai
Joe Batt’s timber

24. If you could stretch every piece of The Great Trail out in a straight line, how many times would it reach from Victoria to St. John’s?

1½ times
a little more than three times
nearly five times
11 times

25. Which Canadian park is home to —
1) one of the nation’s largest systems of cross-country ski trails
2) an accessible marble cave named for a pioneering family
3) a former prime minister’s estate
4) 45 kilometres of The Great Trail

Prince Edward Island National Park, P.E.I.
Gatineau Park, Que.
Algonquin Provincial Park, Ont.
Banff National Park, Alta.

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