A Montreal man has just returned from being the first to sail a new route through the Northwest Passage.

Nicholas Peissel sailed through the McClure Strait, which had only been successfully travelled by ice breakers in the past.

While the route is not yet ready for commercial shipping, Peissel said the fact that he was able to travel the strait demonstrates the dramatic impact of climate change.

"The change is really apparent [in Canada]," he said.

His boat — a 31-foot fiberglass sailboat — was not designed for the Canadian Arctic's icy waters.

Peissel and his two sailing partners researched satellite images for sea ice depletion before leaving on their five-month journey.

They set out in May from Newfoundland with the intention of highlighting climate change.