Epic voyage planned for Canada's 150th anniversary

The Students on Ice Foundation is taking on an unprecedented voyage in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation next summer.

Trip to start in Toronto and finish in Victoria after transiting Northwest Passage

Canada's three oceans will be the centrepiece of an epic 150-day voyage to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. 

The Students on Ice Foundation is planning to take an icebreaker on trip that will begin in Toronto and end up in Victoria next summer, transiting the Northwest Passage on the way. 

"It's never been done before," said Geoff Green, the foundation's president. 

"It just seemed like a perfect thing to do to celebrate Canada's 150th."

Green said the "Canada C3" trip will feature many prominent Canadians, though he declined to release the full list of names at this point. He did say, though, that every living prime minister will be invited, as well as every living Governor General. The Trudeau family is expected to attend at least one of the 15-day legs. 
The voyage will feature prominent Canadians. Here, singer/songwriter Sarah Harmer performs on a Students on Ice trip in Disko Bay, Greenland. (L. Narraway, Students on Ice)

Thirty spots will also be reserved for everyday Canadians, who can apply starting in January.

"The goal is to have enough diversity that everybody will be able to see themselves in some member of the expedition team, including newcomers," said Green.

Most of the funding is coming from the Canada 150 Fund, which is also supporting initiatives such as Reconciliation Canada's Reconciliation in Action program and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra's Canada Mosaic. Additional money is coming from private sponsors and philanthropists.

Along the way, the ship will visit 33 First Nation and Inuit communities, as well as promoting the idea of "Indigenous Protected Areas," an emerging type of protected area managed by Indigenous peoples for conservation and traditional use. 
The voyage will stop in 33 Indigenous communities, and promote the concept of "Indigenous Protected Areas." (Martin Lipman, Students on Ice)

"It's very much a voyage of reconciliation, as well as celebration and giving space and time for that story to be shared, and try to build some greater understanding and connection between the peoples of Canada, and what reconciliation really means," he said. 

The trip sets sail from Toronto on June 1, 2017, is expected to arrive in Victoria 150 days later, on Oct. 28.

About the Author

Jimmy Thomson is a former reporter for CBC North.