Trail Strategy & Handbook

Trails have always played an important role in building a healthier and more connected Ontario. Let’s work together to develop a world-class network of trails for everyone to use.

What is the TRCA Trail Strategy?

The Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) Trail Strategy is a strategic plan intended to guide the Toronto Region toward the establishment of a connected and diverse trail system. By working to achieve the recommendations of this strategy, we envision a connected and diverse trail network that is woven through each and every neighbourhood. It will help improve our health and well-being; enhance our regional active transportation system, spur an ecotourism economy and develop nature-based recreation experiences for all persons.

The Strategy has three parts:

  1. The Strategic Plan
    • Provides strategic goals and actions to develop a world class network of trails in the Toronto Region.
  2. General Planning & Design Guidelines
    • Focuses on the development of a successful trail system. Design considerations, liability concerns, and approval considerations will be some of the topics addressed.
  3. Trail Construction Guidelines
    • A collection of standard plans/diagrams to assist in the design and construction of trails and related infrastructure.

The General Planning & Design Guidelines and Trail Construction Guidelines are collectively an update to the 1992 Trail Planning and Design Guidelines produced by TRCA. The Handbook has guided the planning, design, construction and maintenance of trails by TRCA, local municipalities and trail associations in the Toronto Region. This update was needed to:

  • Include user groups and trail types not addressed in the 1992 document.
  • Incorporate new recognized industry standards for trail design and construction.
  • Reflect new accessibility legislation in Ontario that will affect trail development and design.
  • Standardize practices relating to trail development on TRCA properties.

Who is the Strategy being developed for?

  • TRCA – To guide the planning, design, implementation, management, use and promotion of trails on TRCA lands;
  • Municipal and Trail Partners – To support and compliment strategic trail directions in the Toronto Region;
  • Everyone – To act as a resource for best practices relating to trail sustainability.

Why are we developing the Trail Strategy?

The Toronto Region is a collection of many regions, towns and cities – many of whom have developed their own trail plans and strategies. Most of these plans detail the importance of connecting trails to other communities and regions. As a response to this forward thinking, the Trail Strategy is being developed to improve connections between municipal and regional trail systems; and ultimately, find ways to make better use of our existing active transportation networks.

Where are we now?

We are currently in the process of gathering digital trail and active transportation data from our municipal partners, and developing a series of maps which illustrate both the current trail network within the Toronto Region, and desired future connections.

Content for all sections of the strategy are currently in development. Once a final draft has been prepared, there will be several internal review meetings, followed by regional public open houses. We will update the website with meeting dates and times.

For more information on the Trail Strategy and Handbook, contact us at