In 2011 our crew of six paddlers completed a journey of a lifetime crossing Canada by canoe from the Pacific Ocean at Vancouver, BC to the Atlantic Ocean, at St. John, NB. We are paddlers. We paddle flat water and moving water, in big boats and little boats and especially fast boats. We have all spent the majority of our lives on the water. We’re keenly aware of the importance that inland water transportation, by canoe, played in interconnecting the many different cultures and landscapes to form the bonds that constitute Canada.
In our role as the Royal Canadian Geographic Society Expedition of the Year for 2011, we hope to bring attention to the importance of Canada’s waterways. Canada’s freshwater resources are some of our greatest natural treasures and are integral to our environment, history, and culture. Our route takes us through a broad range of environments including lakes, reservoirs, large rivers and small streams. We traveled through highly populated areas in the lower Fraser Valley to very sparsely populated areas in Northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Along the way we observed a large spectrum of Canada’s freshwater surface water bodies and the relationships Canadians have with them. Through our partnership with the Royal Canadian Geographic Society and the RBC Blue Water Foundation we hope to explore these relationships and encourage Canadians to protect their local waterbodies while enjoying them in low impact ways. Initially brought about by a passion for paddling and continual curiosity, we hope that the 2011 Canadian Canoe Odyssey will remind audiences about the critical relevance of waterways to our culture, way of life and environment.