Canada C3 expedition lands in Ganges


The Canadian icebreaker Polar Prince visits Salt Spring this Thursday as one of the final stops on a journey honouring the 150th anniversary of confederation.

An initiative of the Students on Ice Foundation, Canada C3 is a signature project for Canada 150. At its heart is a 150-day trip from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage that began on June 1. Members of the public are welcome to watch the ship arrive in Ganges Harbour at around 7 a.m. on Oct. 26.

The Salt Spring visit occurs on Leg 15 of the journey, following visits to many other coastal communities along the way and shortly before the tour ends in Victoria on Saturday.

The ship has carried a diverse group of Canadians on various legs of the journey, including scientists, artists, Indigenous elders, historians, community leaders, youth, journalists and educators.

“Once a participant boards the Canada C3 vessel, they become the eyes and ears of the rest of Canada,” information from the project’s website explains. “Using art, music, research and storytelling, participants are elevating our collective knowledge and helping to build human connections.”

In particular, Canada C3 is exploring the four key themes of Canada 150: diversity and inclusion, reconciliation, youth engagement and the environment.

Some of the people on board the ship during its final leg will be learning about Salt Spring on Thursday in a series of activities planned by Anne Macey.

“Basically they want to meet different Canadians and engage with people of different backgrounds and different interests,” she explained.

Aside from her own interest in organic food production as the president of Island Natural Growers, Macey observes the history of the island has been all about food, from its earliest days under First Nations to the settlers who came later and chopped down the forests to grow farms and orchards. The tour she’s arranged for the Canada C3 passengers therefore has a somewhat food-related theme, with stops planned at Bullock Lake Farm and Salt Spring Apple Company, and perhaps the abattoir if there’s interest.

One group will also visit the Salt Spring Library from 9 to 10:30 a.m to hear from community members about different aspects of the island’s history and its contemporary culture and governance. They will then work with students at Gulf Islands Secondary School for the rest of the morning. Another group will probably learn about the solar scholarship program at GISS.

Once its journey is completed on Saturday, the Canada C3 icebreaker will have sailed over 23,000 kilometres and hosted more than 300 Canadians onboard. The final date is expected to include a shipboard visit from federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna.

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