New Brunswick

Cyclists pedal into New Brunswick for Canada 150 journey

Cyclists set out on a journey across Canada to document its history and highlight marginalized voices and experiences.

Photographers travelling across Canada to share stories from 150 years

Jonathon Reed and Asad Chishti are two cyclists from Kingston, Ont., embarking on 15,000 km journey from coast-to-coast. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Canada's 150th birthday has prompted two photographers to set out on a cycling journey across Canada and share stories of its history. 

Jonathon Reed and Asad Chishti, both from Kingston, Ont., have been busy recounting darker stories from Canada's past and present with the help of interviews and photos they've posted onto their website, As the Raven Flies.

These stories include the building of the Trans-Canada Railway by migrant workers, and issues that Indigenous people continue to face today.

"Our expectation of the year [Canada 150] is we would see this really strong mainstream celebration of Canada and we wanted to provide some balance," said Reed.

The journey started in May and so far, they've interviewed everyone from chiefs and drummakers in First Nations communities to lobster fishermen and newcomer families. 

Their trek will take them from St. John's, N.L. all the way to British Columbia. This week, the cyclists made a stop in Fredericton.

"[Canada] has a history that's a lot deeper than 150 years," said Chishti.  

The project initially started back in 2014 with a goal to document marginalized voices and experiences across Canada.

Learning along the way

Down the road they're hoping to highlight stories of the Japanese-Canadian interment.

"Our goal is to share and be compiling these stories as we go," said Reed.

Throughout their journey, they will stay with friends of friends and find interviews through word of mouth within Canadian communities.

"It's wonderful that our trip is a mixture of both logistical planning as well as having room for magic and serendipity," said Chishti.   

Both cyclists have travelled the country before, but have been learning more about topics like the train industry, fish moratorium and traditional festivals when they're not cycling on the road.

After their six-month journey, they're hoping to create a documentary of their findings.

"I thought I knew this country pretty well," said Reed. "I repeatedly had the opportunity to find out that I didn't even know what I didn't know."

The friends hope to be in Victoria by Thanksgiving after they make their way up to the Arctic community of Inuvik in the Northwest Territories.

Why not take the car?

Over the years, the duo felt that cycling was the best way to conduct a project like this.

"Driving would be too fast, walking would be much too slow so cycling gives us really good pace," said Reed.

"We have time to see the countryside, to see the people ... and not just be racing from one place to the next."   

With files from Information Morning Fredericton, CBC Newfoundland