Coast to coast to coast with Shaun Majumder

Coast to coast to coast with Shaun Majumder

The C3 Voyage was more than a Canada 150 celebration. Shaun Majumder greets the Polar Prince as it finishes it’s cross-country voyage in Victoria, BC.

This Hour has 22 Minutes host Shaun Majumder interviews Canada C3 Expedition Leader Geoff Green, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed and participants onboard the Canada C3 expedition on their journey.

Discovering Two Poles and Three Coasts: Albert College presentation

Discovering Two Poles and Three Coasts: Albert College presentation

Albert College was filled with awe and wonder as students from Grades 4 to 12 discovered two poles and three coasts with environmental educator Geoff Green on Thursday afternoon. Mr. Green also spoke to a packed house on Thursday evening at Albert College with many local community members. Having grown up in Prince Edward County, Mr. Green was thrilled to be speaking in Belleville as he still has a strong connection to the area.

Mr. Green is the Founder of the Canada 150 project Canada C3 and the Executive Director and Founder of Students on Ice, an award-winning program that takes students to the polar regions on educational journeys. He was named one of Canada’s “Top 40 under 40”, was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2012 and has received many other prestigious awards.

During his presentation, Mr. Green shared his story from the recent Canada 150 Signature Project called Canada C3, which concluded only 4-weeks ago. As the founder of this project, Mr. Green’s heartfelt recollection of the 150-day expedition was moving. He shared the story of how he sailed from Toronto to Vancouver with a different group of Canadians during each leg of the journey. The ship travelled 23,000 kilometres through three oceans along Canada’s coastline, visiting 75 communities in 10 provinces and territories. The first stop was Picton. 

Mr. Green began his presentation by saying, “We are so lucky to call planet earth our home. As I travelled around the world, I fell in love with this planet. Seeing things like icebergs, which are natures sculptures, seeing penguins and polar bears and of course meeting the Indigenous people of the world, I was hooked.”

Read full Albert College press release >

 

 

Canada 150 ice breaker nears end of journey from coast to coast to coast

Canada 150 ice breaker nears end of journey from coast to coast to coast

By Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Globe & Mail
Published: October 24, 2017

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.

Read the full article >

Three oceans later, Canada C3 expedition arrives in Vancouver

Three oceans later, Canada C3 expedition arrives in Vancouver

‘It’s been a journey of incredible stories, learning about Canada’s past, our present and our future’

By Clare Hennig, CBC News

Published October 23, 2017

Three oceans and 145 days into an epic sea voyage, the Canada C3 expedition has docked in Vancouver on the final leg of its 150-day trip from one side of the country to the other.

“It was amazing to sail under the Lions Gate Bridge [on Monday] morning as the sun was rising,” said Geoff Green, founder and expedition leader of Canada C3.

Pulling into Vancouver was a real moment to reflect on the trip, he told CBC guest host of On The Coast Gloria Macarenko. Green had been in Vancouver earlier, before leaving on the trip.

“I didn’t think we’d ever get here, but here we are,” he said. “It’s been remarkable. It’s been a journey of incredible stories, learning about Canada’s past, our present and our future.”

The Canada C3 expedition passes through the Torngat Mountains. (Jackie Dives/Students on Ice Foundation )

Three oceans and coastlines

The expedition team left Toronto on June 1 and passed through Canada’s three oceans from the Atlantic to the Arctic to the Pacific.

“Every single day we’ve stopped, for 145 days, at small towns, big cities, national parks, marine protected areas, just kind of wrapping the country in a blanket of stories from coast to coast to coast,” Green said.

He recalled one memory from the trip, when he was travelling with an 70-year-old Inuit elder who told him a story about getting shipwrecked and stranded on an island when he was five.

The next day, the ship stopped at that very same island in the Northwest Passage and the team found pieces of the boat from more than six decades earlier.

Further up the island, the group then discovered an old letter dating back to the mid-’80s and then later, on top of the island, came across an ancient Dorset site.

“And that’s just one evening in the journey,” Green said.

The Canada C3 expedition passed through three oceans and coastlines from the Atlantic to the Arctic to the Pacific . (Michelle Valberg/Students on Ice Foundation )

‘Voyage of reconciliation’

The trip is part of a project for Canada’s 150th anniversary, but Green said it is as much about moving forward on a path of reconciliation as it is about celebrating the past.

“This has really become a voyage of reconciliation,” he said.”It’s been a journey of incredible stories learning about Canada’s past, our present and our future.”

The Canada C3 expedition is set to be completed this week, with plans to arrive in Victoria on Saturday.

To hear more, click on the audio link below:

 

Read full article on CBC.CA

 

Canada C3 expedition exploring all three coastlines on final leg from Campbell River to Victoria

Canada C3 expedition exploring all three coastlines on final leg from Campbell River to Victoria

By Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun

Published on October 21, 2017

ABOARD THE MV POLAR PRINCE — At $10 million and five months at sea across close to 25,000 kilometres of coastline, Canada C3 is one of the country’s grandest voyages of all time.

“I would challenge historians: What ship has ever made such a long trip from one coast to another coast, visiting and connecting with so many communities and places?” asserted Stephan Guy, a mariner of 36 years who captains the 67-metre icebreaker. 

“This kind of trip … with so much mileage in a single season, I would assume it’s never been done.” 

For those lucky few — chefs, musicians, journalists, youths, politicians, Indigenous people, explorers, scientists — chosen to explore Canada’s Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific coastlines to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canadian confederation, the experience has been worth every penny.

“I read up on it … but I honestly didn’t really get what it was about,” says B.C. country music performer Aaron Pritchett. “It was unbelievable, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

One might ask why the artist, who wrote, “Hold my beer while I kiss your girlfriend ’cause she needs a real man,” warrants inclusion on such an expedition?

But that is exactly the point: gathering together a diversity of people to experience Canada’s vast coastlines, nature, and inhabitants — passengers who will return home as lifelong ambassadors for a remarkable maritime nation.

There are 15 legs to the 150-day expedition, and Postmedia News is along for the final 10-day journey from Campbell River to Victoria, with planned stops at Desolation Sound, Powell River, Nanaimo, Howe Sound, Vancouver, Saturna and Salt Spring islands, and Tod Inlet. 

The four themes of the expedition are diversity and inclusion, reconciliation, youth engagement and the environment.

Juno-nominated Pritchett, a resident of Gabriola Island, was along for the first leg, which started in Toronto on June 1 and travelled up Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

He grew up in Kitimat on B.C.’s north coast, where he had close contact with Indigenous people, but never really delved into their troubled post-colonial history.

Called upon to sing at various times during the expedition, Pritchett said he chose songs with multiple meanings, especially for Indigenous people, including How Do I Get There, and Done You Wrong. “It struck a chord. It was cool for me to be able to do that.”

He visited First Nations communities along the way, sat in healing circles, and got a deeper appreciation of their history

“Man, it was just an incredible life-changing and thought-changing experience,” he reflects. “I wish all Canadians could go on that ship.”

They cannot.

The Canada C3 expedition accepted a total of about 350 participants out of 5,000 applications. At any given time, the ship carries about 60 people, including crew, expedition staff and participants.

Geoff Green, leader of the Canada C3 expedition, sailing Canada’s three oceans to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. (c) Martin Lipman / SOI Foundation

Geoff Green, founder of Students on Ice Foundation, is the man behind the  expedition — funded about 65 per cent by the Canadian government and 35 per cent by more than 100 other donors. Since 2000, his foundation has guided more than 2,500 youths from 52 countries on educational expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic.

“I was looking at the map of Canada one day and trying to think of what we could do for Canada’s 150th,” Green explained. “I thought, wouldn’t that be amazing to connect the country together by going coast to coast to coast?”

The 67-metre, red-and-white Polar Prince is a former Canadian Coast Guard research icebreaker, leased through a private Calgary company and captained by Stephan Guy. The ship is outfitted with inflatable boats, research labs, a top deck observation area, and is purpose-built for passenger experiences in remote environments.

“It’s a platform for storytelling more than anything. Learning about our country is what it’s been about,” Green said.

How does one measure the success of such a far-flung, taxpayer-supported expedition?

“One is if we make it to Victoria,” Green says with a laugh. “We’re looking good on that front. It’s a daunting logistical endeavour, as you can imagine. But mostly it’s measured by the impact.”

Participants often gather in the Hangar, a U-shaped meeting area composed of steel at the stern that once housed a helicopter. The walls are adorned with the jerseys of Canadian hockey teams and the scrawled poems and musings of participants. A birch-bark canoe hanging from the ceiling symbolizes the need for Canadians to paddle in unison towards a common goal.

The expedition’s objective is to reach 20 million Canadians through direct community events along the way, but also through the Canada C3 website and social media. So far, the count exceeds 15 million.  

“The Canadians on board the ship for every leg are ambassadors,” he continued. “They are there to share the journey with the rest of the country. All the people who have been inspired by the journey, that’s going to have spinoffs in so many ways. It’s an opportunity to build a better country.”

Guy, a former Coast Guard captain who lives in Lac Beauport, Quebec, says the journey allowed him to connect with some of the first Arctic mariners, since much of that region remains uncharted. 

On occasion, he would send an inflatable boat ahead of the icebreaker to conduct depth soundings for safety. He also relied on the physical landscape to guide him, a steep-sided fjord being a good indication of deep water. 

“That fulfills the adventurous spirit of a captain, being in a place few people have been,” he said. “I like to follow in these footsteps.”

Science work conducted along the way involves: cataloguing marine and terrestrial life; water sampling to measure salinity, oxygen and Ph levels, and microplastics; measuring chlorophyll levels to reveal the extent of microscopic plants; analyzing the chemistry of rivers where they enter the ocean; recording underwater sounds, be they human or natural; examining overall biodiversity, including collecting plants and insects, microscopic algae, and DNA samples in water.

Research results should trickle out over the next couple of years.

And, yes, during an era in which polar bears and the Inuit lifestyle are threatened by shrinking ice, the expedition did encounter some icebergs.

“Along the Labrador coast, we saw plenty of icebergs,” said Mark Graham, head scientist on the expedition and vice-president of research and collections at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

“Along the coast of Baffin Island, we almost had to go all the way to Greenland to get around the ice. And we crashed through plenty of ice, too. It’s an awesome thing to watch an icebreaker working like that.”

Bill Wilson, a veteran native leader from B.C., talks with participants on the Canada C3 expedition of Canada’s coast about the history of residential schools. (c) Martin Lipman / SOI Foundation

Long-time B.C. Indigenous leader Bill Wilson — better known these days as father to federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould —  joined the voyage on Leg 12, from Tuktoyaktuk to Prince Rupert, with his wife, Bev Sellars. They led discussions on board related to Indigenous relations, residential schools, and land-title issues.

The Polar Prince visited the Nass Valley, home to the Nisga’a, who secured B.C.’s first modern land claim in 2000. The extensive day tour, which Wilson organized over marine radio from the Bering Sea, included a seafood banquet and tour of lava beds.

The ship also visited Point Hope, an Indigenous Alaskan whaling community whose reputation for winning state basketball tournaments defies its small, remote location.

“Guess what their basketball team’s name is…” said Comox-born Wilson. “The Harpooners.”

“Guess what the women’s team is… The Harpoonerettes.”

Shanna Baker, a writer, editor and photographer with Victoria-based online Hakai Magazine, experienced Leg 5 from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Nain, Labrador.

“I learned more about the strong tradition of storytelling in Atlantic Canada, recognized how acutely the cod moratorium still affects Newfoundland fishing communities, was inspired by the way people on Fogo Island overcame differences to bolster their collective future, and expanded my understanding of Innu and Inuit culture tenfold,” Baker wrote.

“And I never got tired of the icebergs — they were mind-bogglingly beautiful.”

A humpback whale off Haida Gwaii. (c) Martin Lipman / SOI Foundation

Participants on the final leg include national Green party leader Elizabeth May, the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands. She felt she would be too busy to come along, but that changed when she learned that the route would go right past her constituency.

She expects to see her home through fresh eyes, from the unique perspective of the Polar Prince. “I love the concept, and when I realized it’s ending in my riding, in the southern Gulf Islands, I got so excited. I really don’t like to miss days in Parliament, but for this, I thought, for Canada’s 150 … it struck me this was a time I couldn’t say no.”

In Powell River Friday afternoon members of the Tla’amin First Nation in traditional dress sang to greet expedition members as they arrived ashore for a feast of elk, salmon and bannock. Drummer Drew Blaney said he appreciated the expedition’s objective of raising awareness of Indigenous issues.  

The First Nation sent a drone out to document the arrival of the ship. Blaney said the aerial technology is being used to map out village sites in their traditional territory.

Look for Larry Pynn’s stories from the C3 expedition every day next week. 

For more information on Canada C3 visit: canadac3.ca/en/homepage.

Canada C3 ship aids cultural exchange between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people

Canada C3 ship aids cultural exchange between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people

Journey from Toronto to Victoria through Northwest Passage spurs conversations and understanding

By Ossie Michelin, for CBC News

Published July 6, 2017

The conversations that Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants are having on board a former Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker, the Polar Prince, are helping them understand each other, and the country, better.

Travelling since June 1 from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage as part of the Canada C3 Program — C3 stands for “coast to coast to coast” — the ship brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants together. It’s a signature project of Canada 150, funded by Canadian Heritage.

And the topic of Indigenous Peoples and reconciliation comes up again and again.

“We learned about Indigenous culture in elementary school and high school in a very generic, vague way,” said Anna Velasco, who was born and raised in Vancouver.

“So for me to have an Indigenous person sitting beside me in my cabin, or next door, or sitting across from me at dinner has been very eye-opening, and it makes me feel closer to my colleagues on C3, learning how to respect their culture as a non-Indigenous person.”

The C3 ship, a former Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker called the Polar Prince, is travelling from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage. (SOI Foundation)

Velasco, who identifies as Filipino-Canadian, said that after living and working in New York City for over five years she felt the need to rediscover Canada and the people who live here from a new perspective.

Participants applied for the C3 program by submitting a short video explaining why they wanted to go on the ship. Organizers selected a diverse cross-section of participants from across the country, including Indigenous people, non-Indigenous people who are born in Canada, and newcomers to the country.

More than 5,000 people applied for approximately 200 spots on the journey. While those who are selected have their expenses covered on board the ship, they are expected to help staff with cooking and cleaning as well as take part in cultural and educational activities on shore.

Melanie Rose Frappier and Anna Velasco visit the Pessamit First Nation in Quebec as part of their Canada C3 journey. (SOI Foundation)

“On each and every one of the 15 legs, we stop in Indigenous communities,” said C3 founder and expedition leader Geoff Green.

“I would say it’s the thing we do most. We’re certainly looking at the environment and we’re doing science and we’re looking at diversity and inclusion and youth engagement, but reconciliation has been the most profound cross-cutting part of the journey so far.”

A place for learning

The Legacy Room — the first of its kind — rests at the heart of the ship. With the lingering scent of sage smoke, it is a place to welcome guests, perform ceremonies and display Indigenous cultural Items.

Some of the items were brought on board by C3 and others were gifted to the ship from the Indigenous communities they visit. Most importantly, it is a place for conversations and learning.

“The Legacy Room — and beyond that, the whole ship — is the perfect opportunity to bring non-Indigenous and Indigenous people together to have those discussions,” said youth ambassador Melanie Rose Frappier, who identifies as Métis Aninshnaabe from Sudbury, Ont.

“These serious discussions are what we need in order to enhance our Canadian ways. Canadians need to know better in order to do better.”

For Khairunnisa Intiar, it was her first opportunity to get to know Indigenous people in Canada.

A Muslim Indonesian immigrant, Intiar first came to Canada for university and now lives in Moncton, N.B. She said she did not have the opportunity to learn about Indigenous Peoples in school.

Anna Velasco takes a photograph of C3 staff member Emmett MacDougal learning to make bannock in the community of Ekuanitshit, Que. (Ossie Michelin)

“Generally as a non-Indigenous person you always hear about the First Nations, but you never hear about the specific groups like the Ojibwa or Innu, or the other groups like Métis or Inuit,” Intiar said.

“It was really interesting to learn the specifics. The Indigenous people on board have been teaching each other through conversations about their nation or group, and the difference in languages and cultures. Looking in from the outside, it’s often grouped together; we fail to see the diversity of Indigenous communities. This trip has really broadened my perspective.”

‘This is just the beginning’

C3 hopes the ship will have an influence far beyond its 200 or so participants and the over 100 destinations. It aims to reach more than 20 million Canadians through social media, digital classrooms and other partners. Both a book and a documentary are in the works.

“I hope this is just the beginning, and not the end when we get to Victoria, but the beginning of something that will continue for years to come,” said Green.

“You have to capture people’s imagination and inspire them, but also touch their hearts to get true change and commitment to take place, and I think this journey can do that.”

Ekuanitshit Chief Jean Charles Petashue, left, presents the C3 program with a set of traditional Innu snowshoes. Expedition leader Geoff Green sits to his right. (Ossie Michelin)

Green freely admits that while he is proud of his country, a lot of the Indigenous participants do not feel comfortable celebrating 150 years of Confederation.

Aryn Lessage of the Garden River First Nation in Ontario, said her family warned her about being associated with a project linked to Canada 150, but she chose to go in order to help people better understand the Indigenous world.

“I was surprised by the amount of information some of the non-Indigenous people didn’t know coming aboard. They didn’t understand why Canada 150 would be a contentious issue, and not understanding or even being aware of some of our cultures or histories or diversities,” Lessage said.

“So I’m really happy that Canada C3 has brought people from across the country onto the same ship to have some of those issues explained and explore some of the unknown.”

After 15 legs and 150 days of travel, the Polar Prince is slated to reach its final destination of Victoria on Oct. 28.