(From the left): Halifax MP Andy Fillmore, Tareq Hadhad, and Trans Canada Trail President Eleanor McMahon were at the Peace by Chocolate store in Halifax on April 13 to unveil a partnership between Peace by Chocolate and the Trans Canada Trail on a collection of four chocolate bars in celebration of the trail’s 30th anniversary.

MONTRÉAL, PQ.: The president and CEO of the Trans Canada Trail says a sweet partnership with a local Antigonish-based chocolate company marks the trail’s 30th anniversary and brings with it a line of bars that highlight the celebration of connection, community, and Canada.

At the centre of this campaign is a collection of four exclusive and time-limited bars that were created with these integral themes to both the Trans Canada Trail and Peace by Chocolate.

“What a lovely family they are, and their attitude of gratitude is just so inspiring,” Eleanor McMahon told The Reporter. “You’re reminded of all the struggles that family has had, yet they come to Canada, and the people of Nova Scotia opened their arms to them.”

McMahon suggested the feeling in the room of the official launch event at Peace by Chocolate’s Halifax waterfront location last month felt magical.

“He just spins fairy dust on everything,” she said of the founder and CEO of Peace by Chocolate, Tareq Hadhad. “Just being in that place, it was a feeling of warmth and community. I left the store with my weight in chocolate.”

The Trans Canada Trail campaign adds to the long list of previous campaigns Peace by Chocolate has undertaken, including front line health care workers during the pandemic and the efforts to support Ukraine.

“Peace is all around. Peace by Chocolate is all about finding peace and spreading peace. Trans Canada Trail also does this by encouraging people to get outdoors and enjoy the natural wonders of Canada right out your front door,” Hadhad said in a release. “One of the first things my family did when we arrived in Canada was learn about and enjoy the natural beauty of our new home. We are excited about this partnership to help others find peace through nature and the beauty of the Trans Canada Trail. I invite everyone to experience the trail, and try the Trans Canada Trail ‘One Trail, One Love’ chocolate bars, because as we say, ‘One Peace Won’t Hurt.’”

McMahon advised the synergies between the two organizations, mixed with Hadhad’s unwavering love of Canada, make for a successful partnership.

“For those of us born in Canada, we feel like we’ve won the lottery. And Tareq has shown us the importance of embracing gratitude,” she said. “Because many of us have grown up in a place that have never known conflict, never have had to flee their home, and never had to really suffer like they did with the loss of everything.”

McMahon said she finds the whole Hadhad story inspiring and moving, and the partnership, while outside the box, is fitting because they’re also a project inspired by hope.

“Who can’t help but be touched by that or impacted by that,” she said. “So when we started to talk about an opportunity to celebrate Canada, it felt like a very deep synergy between our two organizations.”

In the past two years, McMahon saidtrail use has increased 50 per cent across the county because of COVID-19.

For each bar sold, $1 will go towards supporting the continued development and maintenance of the Trans Canada Trail, ensuring the sustainability and accessibility of the 28,000 kilometre-long national trail for generations to come; 2,000 of which are in Nova Scotia, the McMahon noted.

“It feels like chocolate is the vehicle for inspiration that has exuded from this company,” she said. “And this enthusiastic and grateful family have reminded us all what a gift it is to be Canadian.”

The set of chocolate bars can be purchased individually or as a group of four: Nature Lover, a milk chocolate bar with a maple filling; Avid Adventurer, a dark chocolate bar with almonds and sea salt; Trail Trekker, a milk chocolate bar with hazelnuts; and Peace Seeker, a dark chocolate bar with dried cherries and pistachios.

With names inspired by the millions of people across Canada who embrace and enjoy the Trans Canada Trail, the bars are available for purchase now at the Peace by Chocolate retail store in Halifax or online at: www.tctrail.ca/chocolate.

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Drake Lowthers has been a community journalist for The Reporter since July, 2018. His coverage of the suspicious death of Cassidy Bernard garnered him a 2018 Atlantic Journalism Award and a 2019 Better Newspaper Competition Award; while his extensive coverage of the Lionel Desmond Fatality Inquiry received a second place finish nationally in the 2020 Canadian Community Newspaper Awards for Best Feature Series. A Nova Scotia native, who has called Antigonish home for the past decade, Lowthers has a strong passion in telling people’s stories in a creative, yet thought-provoking way. He graduated from the journalism program at Holland College in 2016, where he played varsity football with the Hurricanes. His simple pleasures in life include his two children, photography, live music and the local sports scene.