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How the Trans Canada Trail will span over water — and into the U.S.

The Gordie Howe International Bridge is now part of the Trans Canada Trail. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)
The Gordie Howe International Bridge is now part of the Trans Canada Trail. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)

The Gordie Howe bridge is the first international border crossing to join the Trans Canada Trail.

The bridge will connect Windsor's Great Lakes Waterfront Trail to the Iron Belle Trail and Great Lakes Way in Detroit, Mich.

Trail users on both sides of the border will be able to walk or bike overtop of the Detroit River via the multi-use path network.

Elanor McMahon, president and CEO of Trans Canada Trail, calls the announcement a "significant milestone."

"A catalyst for recreation, active transportation opportunities, tourism and economic development in both border communities – and beyond," she said.

The Gordie Howe bridge shown from the Windsor, Ont., side in Feb. 2024.
The Gordie Howe bridge shown from the Windsor, Ont., side in Feb. 2024.

The Gordie Howe bridge shown from the Windsor, Ont., side in Feb. 2024. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

"It's a sunrise and sunset experience. Who knows how many marriage proposals are going to happen now?"

The Trans Canada Trail is the longest recreational trail system in the world, spanning 28,000 kilometres.

McMahon said the hope is to spur on economic growth and tourism opportunities on both sides of the border.

"If you want a nature experience … if you want to carry on on your bicycle … and stop in some of the wineries in Essex County, that's why tourism Windsor-Essex Island is one of our partners … because they understand the benefits of cycle tourism and walking tours that really showcase the history."

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (left to right), Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Murray Howe, Gordie Howe's son, announce that the Detroit River International Crossing will be named the Gordie Howe International Bridge, on the waterfront, in Windsor, Ontario, Thursday May 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (left to right), Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Murray Howe, Gordie Howe's son, announce that the Detroit River International Crossing will be named the Gordie Howe International Bridge, on the waterfront, in Windsor, Ontario, Thursday May 14, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (left to right), Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Murray Howe, Gordie Howe's son, announce that the Detroit River International Crossing will be named the Gordie Howe International Bridge, on the waterfront, in Windsor, Ontario, Thursday May 14, 2015. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press)

Public consultations will be run in April in an effort to "inform future operational plans" for the multi-use path, according to a statement on behalf of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority.

Windsor–Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk said the Trans Canada Trail link allows the area to take a "giant step forward" by connecting people.

"As the home of Canada's first electric vehicle battery factory, Canada's next National Urban Park, and the new Gordie Howe International Bridge, our community has truly discovered a new path – building our prosperity by taking care of the economy and the environment together."

Fencing around construction near the Gordie Howe bridge project on the Canadian side.
Fencing around construction near the Gordie Howe bridge project on the Canadian side.

Fencing around construction near the Gordie Howe bridge project on the Canadian side. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens called the announcement an "economic bridge" between Canada and the U.S.

"This will invite visitors to explore the vibrant Windsor-Detroit corridor like never before. We are thrilled that Windsor will now be the connecting point."

In January, it was announced the crossing is now slated to open in September 2025, a delay of 10 months from its original targeted completion date in 2024.

The new targeted opening date means the bridge will now cost $6.4 billion Cdn, up from the original $5.7-billion cost estimate — a cost that will be borne entirely by the Canadian government, a Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority spokesperson said.