VIDEO: Ice breaker ends epic voyage around Canada

VIDEO: Ice breaker ends epic voyage around Canada

From coast to coast to coast: the Canada C3 ends its voyage around Canada

When a massive ice breaker arrives in Victoria’s harbour this week, it will mark the end of a 150-day-long journey exploring Canada’s coastline, communities and future.

The trip from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage coincides with Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, but celebrations are just the beginning, said Geoff Green, expedition leader for Canada C3.

By the end of the journey, the ice breaker — called the Polar Prince — will have travelled 23,000 kilometres and visited 75 different communities.

More than 400 people have climbed aboard the ship over the course of Canada C3 — or Coast to Coast to Coast — including community leaders, musicians, chefs, scientists and other curious Canadians.

“It’s been a journey to help us look at our past, present and future, learn a lot about this country, it’s successes and it’s flaws and to look ahead to how we can be better,” said Green, founder of the Students on Ice Foundation, which leads educational trips to the Arctic and Antarctic.

The experienced adventurer said C3 has led him to meet incredible people and visit amazing places over the past five months and his biggest takeaway is hope for the future.

“I leave this 150-day journey with a great sense of great optimism, hope and potential for Canada in the next 150 years,” Green said.

Related: Arctic cruise tourism comes of age

Racelle Kooy of the St’at’imc and Secwepemc First Nations in British Columbia’s Interior said she was originally hesitant to take part in a project celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary because of the country’s troubled history with Indigenous Peoples.

After speaking to other Indigenous participants, she decided to join and Kooy said she has been able to sincerely engage with everyone on board.

“We’re a group of people from a variety of backgrounds, there’s so much to learn from each other,” she said.

For her, the trip has been about breaking down existing myths and building connections between communities.

“I think that’s very powerful,” Kooy said.

For other participants, the epic voyage has been an opportunity to do unique research. The ice breaker, originally built for the Canadian Coast Guard in 1958, is outfitted with a science lab where 23 projects have taken place since June 1.

Kristi Miller is a scientist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans who joined C3 to map organisms in different bodies of water by looking at cells left behind by everything from bacteria to marine mammals.

The data has surprising findings. Miller said she never would have expected to see evidence of predators that rely on aquatic ecosystems for food so far out in an ocean-adjacent inlet, but samples taken off the coast of B.C. show both predator and prey.

“Just opposite of Haida Gwaii … we had a huge abundance of salmon,” Miller said. “And we saw brown bear, black bear and eagle in that same (location).”

Results from the study could help determine the health of various ecosystems, said Miller, who is based in Nanaimo, B.C.

“Having some kind of indication of ecosystem health in the ocean is paramount and this technology is fast, cheap, easy to do, and doesn’t require any destructive sampling or big ships,” she said.

While many of the C3 participants have come and gone over the course of 150 days, Captain Stephan Guy has been at the helm of the Polar Prince throughout the voyage.

The project has allowed Guy, who is based in Lac Beauport, Que., an opportunity to join an elite group of seamen who have traversed the Northwest Passage.

He said the journey has reminded him of his “colleagues” who attempted the same voyage 200 or 300 years ago with varying degrees of success.

The highlight of the trip has been watching people come together and share, Guy added.

“Just put the people together and they will exchange and listen to the stories and they will find solutions to make (the future) better. I don’t know the solutions, but bring the people together, allow the communities to connect, and this will happen.”

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

The Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Monday morning. (Theresa May Jack/Facebook)
Two churches on First Nation land in South Okanagan burn to the ground

Sacred Hearts church on Penticton Indian Band land was reduced to rubble

Tl’etinqox-lead ceremony at the site of the former St. Joseph’s Mission in Williams Lake, B.C., June 18, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
‘We are all one people’: Honouring residential school victims and survivors

Love, support and curiousity: Canadians urged to learn about residential schools and their impact

Indigenous rights and climate activists gathered outside Liberty Mutual’s office in Vancouver to pressure the insurance giant to stop covering Trans Mountain. (Photo by Andrew Larigakis)
Activists work to ensure Trans Mountain won’t get insurance

Global campaign urging insurance providers to stay away from Canadian pipeline project

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Most Read