Long distance travel across Canada was initially done via rivers and lakes. Overland excursions were difficult due to the harsh terrain and thick bush that travellers encountered. Early road systems serviced the immediate areas, such as villages, towns, or larger urban settings. Many were built for military use.
Despite the terrain challenges, fees or taxes were collected from citizens and put toward road construction and maintenance. Roads began to complement waterways for the transport of people and goods. One of the earliest road types was the corduroy or skid road. Main pathways between settlements were planked with logs placed side-by-side and perpendicular to the pathway. These rudimentary roads aided travel inland during harsh weather, or on rough terrain, and opened up new settlement areas across Canada.