What We’re Doing
This year, we are cycling across Canada to foster a better understanding of the different histories and ecosystems embedded in our shared landscapes.
We are Canadian. With 2017 marking 150 years since our country was formally confederated, it is a critical time to examine our collective narrative. This land holds stories that reach beyond centuries of colonization to the original inhabitants of this continent; stories that touch several generations of immigration and industry and flow through countless seasons of ecological change and resilience. These marginalized stories define our past, shape our present and form the foundation for our future.
Our goal is to discover, document, and retell them.
For six months, we will bicycle 15,000 km across Canada; from the Avalon Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean, to the Mackenzie Delta near the Arctic, to Vancouver Island in the Pacific. As we cross the country, we will develop an image of Canada as it is today—a snapshot of the present that provides context from the past in order to create a vision for the future.
Our research revolves around specific themes that have shaped and continue to shape Canada—topics such as colonization, food security, democracy. It will focus on the often-quiet stories that reside in the diverse communities and wild spaces of our Canadian landscape. Our research—along with our personal experiences—will be shared through an online real-time map, a feature-length documentary and various print publications.
We hope that our ability to document and develop these layers of Canada’s national identity will inspire and challenge our fellow citizens to think critically about their contribution to what we collectively become in the next fifty years.
Read more about the project in the article Following the Raven.
How We Are Doing It
This project has been the main focus of our work since mid-2016, and began years before that. For the last several months, we have been working tirelessly on design, research and communication to build the structures, logistics and relationships we will need for this project to succeed. Picture a well-developed folder in Google Drive combined with a handwritten journal on daily physical training. Right now, we’re preparing.
That comes to a close at the end of April, when we leave Ontario for the east coast. After a few days of preparation, we will bicycle out of St. John’s, Newfoundland; bound for the north and west. Our substantial route—although flexible—is the product of countless hours of research.
We aim to cycle roughly 100 km a day, spending our free hours gathering footage, processing and writing, eating and resting. There will, of course, be detours and delays, challenges as yet unknown but ultimately surmountable. We will spend the months following the expedition processing our experience into a documentary film, a coffee table book, and a narrative nonfiction; produced in summation of the expedition and in recognition of this crucial moment in Canada’s history.
Why You Should Care
Canada is not a perfect place. Far from it. Our public discourse domestically and internationally drives this point home. But we sincerely believe that this year and these moments hold the opportunity to have a lasting impact on our culture and discourse. Learning and acknowledging the histories that surround us is essential to moving forward together.
Now more than ever we need bridges between people, communities and cultures. Projects like these are timely and necessary to shine light onto the Canada we hope to become. As a country we are not just defined by the words of our officials but by our actions. This means that what we do matters, now more than ever.