The Ontario Trails of Distinction Program (OTD) showcases and celebrates the most distinctive trails in Ontario and is considered a legacy initiative of the 150th anniversary of Ontario.

The purpose of the program is to identify and promote trails of the highest degree of distinction that:

  • Raise awareness of Ontario trails
  • Encourage today’s generation and future generations to use trails
  • Further the development of trails in Ontario

2018 Application Intake Now Open

The Ontario Trails of Distinction Program is accepting applications until March 7, 2018 at 5:00pm EST.

How to apply:

Step 1: Review the Ontario Trails of Distinction Program Overview (below).

Step 2: Complete the Self-Assessment (below) to determine if you should take the next steps to apply.

Step 3: If you have answered yes to all questions in the Self-Assessment, please contact us at to obtain an application form.

Ontario Trail of Distinction Logo

2017 Trails of Distinction

During the inaugural Trails Week in May 2017, the first Trails of Distinction were announced. Five inaugural trails were selected:

The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail

A cyclist on the waterfront trail near Lake OntarioRunning through a tree-covered trail

The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on earth, containing 21% of the world’s surface freshwater. In Canada, they are unique to Ontario and one of our most precious resources. The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is more than 1,900 kilometres long, connecting more than 116 communities and First Nations from the eastern border of Ontario to Lake Huron. The fully signed Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is a combination of pathways, neighbourhood streets, and rural roads. It is largely paved and welcomes all types of non-motorized recreational use. The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is an innovative way to protect, connect and celebrate our Great Lakes.

Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) Trans Ontario Provincial (TOP) Trails

Each winter, the OFSC provides a world-class snowmobile trail network that spans more than 30,000 kilometres. The TOP trails comprise approximately 23% of the total Ontario Snowmobile Trail network throughout the province. TOP trails provide access across the province on main touring route and links to services, amenities and local club trails. Through well mapped, signed and maintained TOP trails, snowmobilers experience diverse landscapes, beautiful scenery, varied terrain and wildlife while connecting with numerous communities.

The Greenbelt Route

More than 475 kilometres of cycling adventures await you in the beautiful, protected countryside of Ontario’s Greenbelt. This route has lush forests, winding rivers, welcoming communities, and family farms, as riders ride across the stunning landscape.

The one-of-a-kind Greenbelt Route was developed by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, building on their leadership creating the Waterfront Trail, and adding to a growing network of long distance cycling routes across Ontario. With several connecting routes mapped and signed to and from the Waterfront Trail, riders can now make use of existing non-motorized trails and ravine pathways to create their own custom Greenbelt cycling holiday.

Trans Canada Trail Ontario

The Trans Canada Trail (TCT) in Ontario connects the entire province on a designated “spine” and links to similar trails in Manitoba and Quebec. Three major transportation routes are used to make this connection – land, water and roadway. The variety of recreational experience varies from canoeing- horseback riding- cycling to snowmobiling traveling through a variety of landscapes- urban, rural and wilderness. The water routes in northern Ontario are part of the Indigenous travel routes, while abandoned rail lines in southern Ontario have been converted to rail trails and still celebrate the train heritage of the area. Greenway trails in particular travel through terrain that has had trail constructed to protect the environment and educate the trail users of the sensitive sites.

Bruce Trail

The Bruce Trail is Canada's oldest and longest marked footpath. The Bruce Trail provides the only continuous public access to the magnificent Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Running along the Escarpment from Niagara to Tobermory, it spans more than 890 kilometres of main Trail and over 400 kilometres of associated side trails. From waterfalls to centuries-old coniferous trees, there is something for everyone. The Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) has protected more than 11,000 acres of land. The goal of the BTC is to establish and preserve a conservation corridor for the Bruce Trail along the Escarpment, in order to protect its natural ecosystems and promote environmentally responsible public access.