November 9, 2021


MONTREAL, November 9, 2021 – In a bid to ensure that users and the community can keep enjoying the Prescott‑Russell Recreational Trail well into the future, VIA Rail Canada (VIA Rail) and the Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail Corporation (the Corporation) are announcing an agreement in principle under which the Corporation will acquire the Trail’s infrastructure.

In transferring ownership of the land from its former “M&O Subdivision” (Montreal and Ottawa) to the community, VIA Rail is proud to support this popular hiking, biking and snowmobiling spot and ensure that it can be enjoyed by generations to come. 

“This agreement will turn a piece of railway heritage into a thriving green space for locals and for outdoor enthusiasts from everywhere,” said Dominique Lemay, VIA Rail’s Chief Operating Officer. “The Recreational Trail brings invaluable environmental and social benefits to the many communities along it. With the agreement VIA Rail reconfirms its commitment to community sustainability in Canada.”

“Once it becomes official, this strategic acquisition will ensure our organization can continue to provide our users with a premium outdoor experience on a well-maintained, expertly developed and widely promoted trail,” said Serge Lalonde, President of the Prescott‑Russell Recreational Trail Corporation. “We want to help the Trail reach its full potential and make it one of the main outdoor attractions in the area.”  

“I am confident that the proposed solution will support the longevity of the Recreational Trail and give people in Prescott and Russel the chance to enjoy the Trail for years to come,” said Stéphane Sarrazin, Warden of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell. “I would like to recognize the amazing collaboration between the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, the Prescott‑Russell Recreational Trail Corporation and VIA Rail on this project. All three organizations worked tirelessly toward this successful outcome for all stakeholders.”

Railway activity on this right-of-way segment was discontinued in 1986. In 2006, the inactive stretch was turned into a recreational trail that has become an active hub.

The 72-kilometre trail in Ontario’s Prescott and Russel region starts at St‑Eugene and crosses the towns and villages of East Hawkesbury, Champlain, The Nation, Alfred and Plantagenet and Clarence‑Rockland. It also brings users to the neighbouring cities of Rigaud, in Quebec, and Ottawa. 


About VIA Rail

As Canada’s national rail passenger service, VIA Rail ( and all its employees are mandated to provide safe, efficient and economical passenger transportation service, in both official languages of our country.          VIA Rail operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking over 400 communities across Canada, and about 180 more communities through intermodal partnerships, and safely transported over 5 million passengers in 2019. The Corporation has been awarded nine Safety Awards and three Environment Awards by the Railway Association of Canada since 2005. Visit the “About VIA Rail” section at


About the Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail Corporation

The Prescott‑Russell Recreational Trail Corporation is a non‑profit organization that manages the development and operation of the Prescott‑Russell Recreational Trail and promotes outdoor activities year-round. The Corporation offers users a premium safe and multi‑functional Trail experience and supports local and regional tourism, encourages the socioeconomic development of businesses, communities and municipalities, and fosters a feeling of belonging for locals to their region.


About the United Counties of Prescott and Russell

The United Counties of Prescott and Russell is the soul of eight municipalities, each one with unique characteristics. Serving East Hawkesbury, Hawkesbury, Champlain, Alfred and Plantagenet, The Nation, Casselman, Russell, and Clarence‑Rockland, the United Counties of Prescott and Russell acts as an upper-tier municipality with the responsibility of supporting regional interests and providing residents with an unparalleled quality of life.




For VIA Rail:

Jamie Orchard

Senior Advisor, Public Relations & Media



For the Prescott-Russell Recreational Trail Corporation:

Michel Villeneuve and Pascal Roy




For the United Counties of Prescott and Russell:

Olivier Berthiaume

Communications and Policy Coordinator