Two years ago, Geoff Green, founder of the Students on Ice Foundation, was brainstorming activities for the sesquicentennial. Looking at a map of Canada, he wondered how long it would take a ship to sail from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage. He and his team determined it would take about 148 days. They rounded up to 150, and the Canada C3 Expedition was created.
Beginning in Toronto on June 1 and wrapping up in Victoria on October 28, the sailing expedition seeks to celebrate Canada’s environment and peoples, share stories from coastal communities, and connect Canadians all across the country. A diverse group of scientists, artists, elders, historians, community leaders, youth, and more have been invited on board for various legs of the journey to become eyes and ears for the rest of us. Through events, museum hubs, and digital initiatives, the Canada C3 journey will become a meeting place that leads to long-lasting connections and a deeper understanding of one of the largest and most diverse countries in the world. The ship will also be home to the Canada C3 Science Program, an opportunity for researchers from across the country to conduct studies on land and at sea, and will inspire lessons in the Canada C3 Digital Classroom.
While the journey will take participants all across the country, the north is a very important part of the Canada C3 Expedition. “Our tagline is coast to coast to coast. It’s a few simple words but it has a lot of meaning. When you think of Canada’s motto—mari usque ad mare, which is sea to sea—there’s actually a whole third coastline up north and that’s something we’re really trying to raise awareness about,” explains Felicity Feinman, a member of the Canada C3 communication team. “There’s this huge swath of country that we don’t hear about a lot. There are a lot of reasons for that, but this is an incredible opportunity to showcase those communities.”
Of course, the Canada 150 Fund is critical to the journey’s success: the Canada C3 Expedition is a signature project of the sesquicentennial.
“This is the perfect year for this project,” says Feinman. “What’s important for us is to take this opportunity and look back on the past 150 years and more—there’s been Indigenous people in Canada for thousands of years—and it’s also an opportunity to look toward the future and really bring Canadians together to brainstorm and start conversations about what Canada can look like in the next 150 years.”
If you live by a Canadian coastline, follow along and get involved with the Canada C3 Expedition by seeing the ship sail into harbour and attending a ship-to-shore event near you. Or stay home and track the ship’s progress through a live feed and interactive map, take a digital tour of the ship, and connect with journey participants through live-learning events.