The Canada C3 ship is travelling along the three coasts of the country in 150 days.
More than 5,000 people applied to travel aboard the ship and approximately 200 people were selected to join one of the 15 legs of the journey.
For Cyndi Peal, a commercial fishing deck hand based out of Prince Rupert, there were no applications necessary — just pure chance.
Peal’s cousin was on Leg 12, from Tuktoyaktuk to Prince Rupert, and she was hoping to meet up with him when the ship arrived. Peal is also in her second year at the Vancouver Island University in the coastal stewardship technician training program. She had just completed training in Hakai, Bella Bella, where she learned more about the Canada C3 boat there.
On Saturday, Sept. 30, Peal went down to Cow Bay Marina to meet her cousin, but then decided to take a tour of the ship while she waited for him to finish lunch.
“I met a couple of the workers on the crew. I got chatting with them and told them about the fishing and I told them about the training and that I had just gotten off the boat. Some of the crew overheard and said, ‘What are you doing for the next 10 days? Do you want to join us?’” Peal said at the community meet-and-great organized by Hecate Strait Employment Development Society on Sunday, Oct. 1.
There was a space available and she was invited to join the ship for Leg 13. Although she has travelled up and down the coast for the past seven years, she’s never been to Haida Gwaii and she’s looking forward to exploring the area on Leg 13 with the rest of the crew and participants.
“Everyone is coming from different places and different points, even in their lives. I can immediately see the respect for each other and also for First Nations communities and that’s going to be a key in getting everyone to feel more accepted and welcomed,” Peal said.
Most of the participants for Leg 13 arrived on Sunday. Hecate Strait collaborated with other businesses to host a welcome event for members of Canada C3. Crew will also visit Charles Hays Secondary School and Pineridge Elementary School on Monday, Oct. 2 before heading to Haida Gwaii in the evening.
Canada C3 began its journey in Toronto on June 1 and will end in Victoria on Oct. 28.
The expedition is one of the biggest Canada 150 signature projects that aims to share stories from Indigenous people in the north and along the eastern and western coastlines. It is intended to build a deeper understanding of Canada’s northern and coastal history, and to expand knowledge of its diverse and remote environment.