It began innocently enough. We were a group of travellers meeting over dinner to talk about the places we’d been and the places we’d like to go, sharing information and a lot of laughs, when the comment was made.
“It would be great to be in Ottawa for Canada Day this year.”
Canada turns 150 this year, barely a toddler in comparison to other countries I’ve travelled. Built on immigration, our culture is influenced by the history, language, religious beliefs, and cultural norms of the people who came here seeking a better life. With such an eclectic mix, I found myself wondering, what makes us unique? What are the common threads that unite us? How does where we live define our community and our relationship to the country as a whole?
What does it mean to be Canadian?
With that question in mind, the plan began to take shape. Over the next 10-12 weeks, I will be travelling across Canada, exploring the nature, history, art and culture of the country I call home.
My trip will cover about 20,000 kilometres round trip from Port Renfrew, British Columbia, over the Rocky Mountains, across the prairies to the Great Lakes, up the St. Lawrence, and through the maritimes to St. John’s, Newfoundland. On the return, I’ll head north to Churchill, Manitoba, accessible only by plane or train, then further north to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories and over to the Yukon where I’ll cross the Arctic Circle on the way to Inuvik. If time and budget allow, I’ll grab a flight to Tuktoyaktuk and dip my toe in the Arctic Ocean.
Some of the highlights will include:
- tidal bore rafting on the Bay of Fundy, home of the world’s highest tides;
- kayaking with the beluga whales in Hudson’s Bay off Churchill, Manitoba;
- discovering Haida culture in the Gwaii Haanas;
- soapstone carving in Inuvik, Yukon;
- celebrating Canada’s 150th on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario; and
- getting “screeched-in” on George Street in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
I’ll be sharing photos and stories of the places I visit, as well as quotes from Canadians as I go along, wifi permitting. Be prepared for the wild, the weird and the wonderful that make Canada a great place to live and travel.
What do you think it means to be Canadian? Whether from here or far, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment!