Nova Scotia

Polar cruise operator recognized for promoting Canada

A Cape Breton native involved in commercial and research expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic has been awarded the Burpee Medal by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Cape Breton native Andrew Prossin honoured by Royal Canadian Geographical Society

Andrew Prossin is managing director of One Ocean Expeditions. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

A Cape Breton native involved in commercial and research expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic has been awarded the Burpee Medal by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

The honour is awarded to people who make Canada better known to other Canadians and the world. 

Andrew Prossin is formerly from Westmount, across the harbour from Sydney, and now lives in British Columbia. He's the managing director of One Ocean Expeditions, a company that carries tourists and researchers to the polar regions.

'A gold medal'

The company played a role in the Parks Canada-led Victoria Strait Expedition that found HMS Erebus of the doomed Franklin Expedition. One of the company's vessels carried sonar equipment used in the search.

"I used to say, and I still do, that the Franklin Expedition, it was like I got an assist on a Stanley Cup goal and now someone's given men a gold medal," Prossin said.

"Everybody in my company, they're just beside themselves with pride at the work we've done and that it's been recognized.

Prossin's company has now partnered with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society to develop an educational program that will take a handful of students, likely in high school, on each future Arctic voyage.

"We thought, 'Let's create a travel program, but something a whole lot more,'" he said. "We're so interested in — and we have the ships to do it — to do this science on an ongoing basis and run educational programs."

One Ocean Expeditions takes both cruise passengers and researchers to the polar regions. (One Ocean Expeditions)

One Ocean Expeditions also does Arctic and Antarctic cruises.

Part of the company's work has brought Prossin — or at least his business — back to his hometown.

"We've made Sydney kind of our unofficial home port," he said. "We're trying to eliminate the trips across the Atlantic to provision and supply and even repair, where possible, in Europe and instead do it on the East Coast. 

"We picked Sydney because it's a town we know, and it's a town that seemed to want our business and where we felt like we could make a difference."

with files from Information Morning Cape Breton

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