Tim Van Horn has spent the past 10 years collecting portraits of Canadian throughout the country for his upcoming book “To Canada With Love.” (Matthew Allen / The Northern View)

Painting a Canadian portrait with 100,000 photos

Tim Van Horn has travelled more than 250,000 kilometres gathering photos for a Canadian Mosaic

A peek inside Tim Van Horn’s motorhome offers insight into his broad world view.

Buddhist symbols and other religious artifacts are the on walls, eastern-styled blankets and pillows adorn the chairs and bed.

Perhaps more striking however, is what one sees from on the outside of Van Horn’s vehicle.

Displayed prominently along all sides of the motorhome is a mosaic of a Canadian flag made up of photos from more than 1,500 communities Van Horn has visited.

READ MORE: Canada Day fireworks bigger than ever

Each portrait taken represents a small part of Van Horn’s broader quest, to tell the story of Canada’s diversity in 100,000 portraits, both written and photographed.

“It’s this modern-day pilgrimage where this man is going out and giving himself to this project and the community, and the community is teaching him and supporting him in his endeavours,” Van Horn said. “I hope I’ll inspire people to feel that sense of community, to talk to that neighbour they’ve lived next to for two years, to extend themselves to somebody new that they don’t know anything about.”

Van Horn, a photographer who has spent 10 years on the road for his Canada Mosaic project, was in Prince Rupert taking photographs of people on the street and listening to their stories. So far he has taken 70,000 photos, each of which will be a part of his book called To Canada With Love.

He said his goal was to truly capture the essence of Canada with this project.

“It’s all the different face types, it’s all the different body types, it’s all the different geographical regions, it’s all the different jerseys we wear, it’s our contemporary cultural identity,” Van Horn said. “So all of a sudden, it wasn’t just all these different people from all these different countries, it was all these different life moments, all these different characters.

“It’s not just a mosaic anymore, it’s a matrix and I’m trying to chase down this visual matrix of life and what it looks like in 2018.”

Van Horn began the project in 2008 in Red Deer, saying he was inspired to begin a project that would explore what life looks like in different communities. He drove with his wife from Red Deer to Ontario in an old GMC Savana cargo van with no insulation and a glass roof, snapping portraits of the people he met along the way.

“It was so cold, it was brutal” Van Horn said. “But it was so beautiful and new.”

Van Horn eventually separated from his wife, but continued the journey to Cape Spear, Canada’s easternmost point. He has since upgraded to the 25-foot motorhome he drives today and has logged approximately 250,000 kilometres zig-zagging his way across the country.

The scope and depth of the project has grown over time. When he first started, Van Horn said he was in a hurry to document as many people as he could in each city, and rushed from city to city, “skimming” his way through communities as a result.

READ MORE: Canada Day in photos

“I’d come to a place like Prince Rupert for a day just so I could get someone from Rupert and then I’d carry on down the road to the next place,” he said. “Now I’m going into these communities and really getting into the layers and penetrating the different facets of that communities. I’ll spend a week or two in a place like Prince Rupert now.”

Van Horn’s next destination will be Haida Gwaii where he will spend the winter organizing the photos he has gathered and organizing the stories into his book. He will then go back on the road to gather finishing collecting portraits before finishing the book.

It’s been a long time on the road, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I get paid with adventures and that’s a really cool place to be,” he said.



newsroom@thenorthernview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

State of local financial crisis declared in Fort St. James

The District will have a job fair on July 31 to help workers find transitioning jobs

Regional real estate sales down so far in 2019

Real estate sales in the northwest and Bulkley-Nechako regions of British Columbia… Continue reading

Update: Severe thunderstorm watch upgraded to warning for Cariboo North including Quesnel

Potential for strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain in the afternoon

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

Vanderhoof Clippers are working towards getting a booth rebuilt at the Arena

Terry Lazaruk, president of the club said they haven’t been able to host sanctioned meets due to the lack of a proper timing booth

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Most Read