Prince Edward Islander Erin Gillespie — organic farmer, hair stylist, roller derby queen — has added Canadian voyageur to her resume as one of hundreds of Canadians who will board the C3 voyage around Canada's coastlines this summer.
The C3, a converted 67-metre coast guard icebreaker, started its voyage on June 1 in Toronto. It sailed through Lake Ontario and down the St. Lawrence River, arriving in Charlottetown early Thursday morning.
Gillespie has been on the ship for the last two weeks, one of about 400 Canadians who will act as ambassadors during the 150-day voyage. She said her two weeks on C3 offered a unique perspective.
"Just really seeing Canada," said Gillespie.
"People have been so welcoming in all these small communities. These are places where, for sure, big ships like that have not been coming in, people have not been coming in on zodiacs there to meet them and experience their culture, hear their music, meet them, chat with them. It's been awesome."
All around Canada
From Charlottetown the ship will skirt the coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador and then through the Northwest Passage to the west coast.
"The goal is to celebrate Canada," said expedition leader Geoff Green.
"It's become much more than that. It's become a voyage of youth engagement, environment and science, of reconciliation and diversity and inclusion … A lot of people don't want to celebrate the last 150 years. The voyage of reconciliation piece has become much more strong. In a way it's a voyage of hope."
Green said the impact of the research component of the trip will take years to realize.
C3 will be in Charlottetown for the weekend as part of Canada Day celebrations.
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