Founded in 2003 and incorporated as a non-profit in 2017, Winnipeg Trails is a dynamic organization that plays a critical and comprehensive role in the development of a modern, sustainable city through the primary lens of active transportation.
We envision a place where the natural world and human dignity are so important to us that we design our transportation systems to eliminate every possible barrier – a place where we can always hear the sound of conversation, go safely to work or see a loved one, where birds and animals of every kind abound, where night skies and clean water are protected, and where simple pleasures – like smelling fresh air or swimming in our rivers – are once again the norm.
Winnipeg Trails implements practical, opportune and innovative ideas with an emphasis on creative problem solving, inter-sectoral partnerships, capacity-building, citizen involvement and evidence-based decision making.
WTA spawned out of the need to put in a single trail. We grew to represent an informal coalition of 40+ organizations and the needs of trail builders and trail users focused on accelerating trail and bikeway connectivity to, from and within Winnipeg.
Established in 2003 as a project of the former Rivers West Red River Corridor organization, and an incorporated non-profit since March 2017, Winnipeg Trails has played a key role in tens of millions of dollars in projects especially “hardware” like bridges, pathways, benches and trailheads, “software“ like placemaking, branding, mapping and marketing and “orgware” that includes contributing to the successful establishment of new organizations, staff positions and policy.
Our staff and partners have contributed countless hours to consultation and design processes that have led to the pathways and bikeways enjoyed by Winnipeggers today. Our first chair was Paul Jordan, now CEO of the Forks North Portage, who helped set our vision. Our first coordinator and project manager was Janice Lukes, now councillor for St. Norbert and former Chair of Public Works and deputy Mayor of Winnipeg. Longtime trails volunteer and sustainable transportation policy expert Anders Swanson currently serves as Executive Director.
From the Floodway to Winnipeg’s first protected bikeway, WTA has been there. For the last 5 years our biggest priority, after accomplishing tremendous connectivity upgrades in outlying areas, has been to accelerate trail development into the downtown, entrench sustainable transportation in long term planning, including inevitable connections along major commercial corridors and fill an embarrassing lack of recreational and transportation options in Winnipeg’s Northwest quadrant.
We believe mobility is a basic human right. Our actions will contribute to the well-being of others locally or globally and do no harm. We believe that nature has a right to exist and that streets are public shared spaces belonging to all. We believe that society is enhanced through collaboration and compassion. We believe living together increases dignity, and reduces trauma and risk for us all.
We therefore believe that society must do all it can to ensure that everyone who wants to or needs to walk, use a wheelchair, ride a bicycle or use any other form of human-powered movement can easily do so to access every area of their community and all aspects of their life. To accomplish that, we believe we have a responsibility to make sure that all infrastructure is designed to be safe and efficient, easily understood and comfortable, interesting and beautiful, all while doing the least amount of damage possible to the land.
We believe that this is all possible, desirable and necessary within our lifetime.
Our projects emphasize human movement, social interaction, compassion, access to nature, recreation and transportation. Core activities include, but are not limited to:
Huge thank you to many staff seasonal workers and skilled contractors who’ve made us who we are, including:
Torrin Swanson (mobile development and IT)
Adrian Trimble (Spence Digital, Mode Shift logo design)
Kirk Warren (signage and logo design)
We are also grateful to the staff and board of Rivers West Red River Corridor who guided us during our years as a program, especially Special Projects Coordinator Janice Lukes, Anne-Marie Thibert, Julie Turenne-Maynard and board chair Paul Jordan.
Winnipeg Trails’ executive director is a member of the the City of Winnipeg Active Transportation Committee, reporting to the director of Public Works via the acting Active Transportation Coordinator. We are a member of the Physical Activity Coalition of Manitoba, Trails Manitoba and the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. We are stewards of the Trans Canada Trail in Winnipeg. Winnipeg Trails runs a social enterprise called Plain Bicycle Project, responsible for the Bicycle Garden at 267 Sherbrook in the summer of 2020.