The Great Trail in British Columbia boasts natural sea shores, salmon-bearing streams, marshland, forests, meadows, mountains and valleys. Much effort has gone into Trail development, but by this summer, it was only 95 per cent connected.

That’s when Valerie Pringle, co-chair of the Trans Canada Trail Foundation, approached a well-known Vancouver philanthropist.

David McLean, founder of The McLean Group, assumed that Pringle’s visit would be courteous, but short. Yet soon he became inspired. “Valerie is so full of love for our country and her enthusiasm is infectious,” says McLean, who offered to raise the remaining funds needed.

McLean committed 20 per cent from his family foundation. “I am a great believer that if you raise money for something, you have to first look into the mirror and make a personal commitment,” he says. McLean’s friends Gordon Diamond and John Tognetti (in association  with his parents Giancarlo and Odette Tognetti) each matched his gift. Other donations followed from Peter Armstrong, Michael Audain and Robert Lee among others, and the required funds were raised.

“The B.C. campaign was completed in time for the province’s 100 per cent connection celebration, a milestone in the national connection plan to mark Canada’s 150th birthday,” says McLean. “The Great Trail fosters appreciation of the natural bounty in B.C. and beyond,” he says. “The aspiration of connecting a trail that unites Canada is a very fitting endeavour.”

These philanthropists join other major B.C. supporters of the Trail, among them Teck Resources Ltd., the Ross Beaty family, Robert A. Quartermain, The Annual Foundation (in honour of Loretta and Ted Rogers), TELUS, The Greyross Foundation (held at Vancouver Foundation), TimberWest, David Aisenstat, Ross Mitchell, Jim and Sandi Treliving, Columbia Basin Trust, HSBC Bank Canada, Vancity and Canfor.