Eleanor McMahon to head up the Trans-Canada Trail organization

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 18th, 2020



News today –Eleanor McMahon will not be the Liberal candidate running against Jane McKenna in the next provincial election.

Ms McMahon accepted an appointment as the CEO of Trans Canada Trail last December; she took over from Deborah Apps early in March. Apps had been TCT’s President & CEO since 2008.

McMahon with Wynne

McMahon campaigning with Kathleen Wynne – they both lost.

McMahon served in the Kathleen Wynne Liberal government for a single term during which she was a Member of Cabinet and later President of the Treasury Board.

“We are a very different organization today, thanks to Deborah’s dedication to building Canada’s national Trail – The Great Trail of Canada. Her forward-thinking leadership and determination helped achieve the connection of The Great Trail in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation – the most successful initiative of its kind in Canada,” says Valerie Pringle, Chair of the TCT Foundation Board.

Eleanor has over 30 years’ experience within the private, public and non-profit sectors. She spent the early years of her career working on Parliament Hill, including as press secretary to the Rt. Honourable Jean Chrétien.

Later, she brought her consensus-building know-how to a variety of other roles, including Director of Public Affairs at the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Vice-President at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Vice-President at United Way Ottawa. She was elected the MPP for Burlington from 2014 to 2018, and served as Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, as well as President of the Treasury Board.

“My fellow board members and I have great confidence that Eleanor is the right person to lead TCT into its future. Notably, her non-partisan approach and successful tenure as founder and CEO of the Share the Road Cycling Coalition gives her excellent experience for working with Trail groups across Canada,” says Neil Yeates, Chair of the TCT Board of Directors.

McMahon with a bike

Eleanor McMahon and her bicycle – it was a large part of a very important part of her life.

A passionate advocate for the safety of cyclists, Eleanor founded the Share the Road Cycling Coalition in 2008. Under her governance, this grassroots organization united cycling groups across Ontario to make communities more bicycle-friendly, and pressed the Ontario government to toughen the law regarding individuals who drive while suspended. In addition, she steered the movement that resulted in the launch of #CycleON, Ontario’s first bicycle policy update in 20 years. While in office, she was instrumental in two other legislative safety measures: Ontario’s One Metre Safe Passing Law (2015) and legislation strengthening the Careless Driving provisions of the Highway Traffic Act, creating Canada’s first Vulnerable Road User penalties in 2017. That same year, she announced a $100 million investment in cycling infrastructure in several communities across Ontario.

“As an avid cyclist and outdoor enthusiast, I am thrilled to join the team at Trans Canada Trail,” says Eleanor. “Like so many Canadians, I have watched the inspiring story of The Great Trail evolve from an ambitious idea to the incredible cross-Canada network it is today. I’m looking forward to building upon the significant legacy that Deborah Apps built during her tenure, and leading TCT in its mission to make the Trail a safe, accessible destination for all outdoor enthusiasts in Canada and beyond.”

McMahon - First public as Minister

Eleanor McMahon at her first public meeting after being appointed to Cabinet.

Moving forward, Trans Canada Trail’s mission will be to continue to enhance and improve the Trail. This involves creating more adventures by developing new Trail sections, converting more roadways to greenways, strengthening relationships with Indigenous communities across the country, making the Trail more accessible, funding emergency repairs and ensuring the long-term financial viability of this national icon.

McMahon was an exceptional campaigner – she had that ability to get through to people.

Burlington Liberals who focus on provincial issues have plenty of time to find a candidate. The current Conservative government was in trouble until the Covid pandemic – Premier Ford has done an exceptional job of leading the province during a very difficult time.

If there were an election tomorrow he would be returned to office and take Jane McKenna, the current MPP, in on his coat tails.
However in the world of politics, 24 months is a lifetime. A lot of things can change.

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