Andrew Sookrah: Inspired by the Arctic

Sookrah.3.aAndrew Cheddie Sookrah is an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists (Lifetime), the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, the Ontario Society of Artists and the Portrait Society Of Canada.

Born in Guyana in 1956, Andrew immigrated to Canada in 1974 and has passionately embraced the Canadian experience in art, design and business. As Creative Director of Engine Room, he worked on provincial and national campaigns, as well as international projects in the US and UK. His fine art body of work includes landscape, portraiture & figurative paintings and ceramic sculpture. Andrew was artist-in-residence aboard Adventure Canada’s Sable Island voyage in 2017. He will join Adventure Canada’s “Out of the Northwest Passage” expedition in 2019.

Andrew Sookrah spoke to us about what he loves, and looks forward to, aboard Adventure Canada’s voyages.

What surprised you on your first trip with Adventure Canada?
My first trip with Adventure Canada was the 2017 trip to Sable Island and from a logistics side of things, I knew what to expect having been on an expedition ship before (to the Arctic in 2006); and I had done some research on Sable Island before we left. But I wasn’t completely aware how comforting, and supportive the environment is onboard the Ocean Endeavour and when we were on the Island. The respect for the Island and its inhabitants shown by the crew and staff was not a surprise to me, but I did make a note of it.

Leaving.Gros.Moren.2.2019.SmlHow would you describe your work as an artist?
My artistic expression in one that is informed by many influences – from realism, graphic, abstraction and social commentary, it’s one that goes to the core of my existence, it’s one where I am constantly observing and documenting what is happening around me. It’s the study and the awareness of the interconnectivity of everything.

I knew from a very young age that my drawings and paintings were different from the ones being done around me; I did not know if they were better, I just knew that they were different. The work I do now is the result of an approach of constantly setting the bar higher for myself, to set myself apart from the crowd.

For many years I had dual passions; my creative direction career in advertising and my fine art. Now I am focused on my artistic expression, in some ways I am still driven by dual passions, I paint and I teach art. Being able to do what I do is a gift – one I’m grateful for and one that I know comes with an obligation. I should hope that I am respectful of that gift, and use it in a way that benefits the people around me. If I as an artist can paint pictures that are on some levels appealing or impactful but they also have a social commentary to them, I will have fulfilled my obligation.

On my first trip to the Arctic 2006, I did a bit of journaling. As I gazed on the icebergs for long periods of time it occurred to me that in the ten to fifteen thousand years of these icebergs being formed they were collecting information on the events that took place during their formation. And now that those icebergs are melting, they are releasing those stories, re-telling them to us. If we still our minds we can hear those stories. Some are joyful, some are devastating, and they are not just stories of the Arctic.

I do iceberg sculptures in porcelain, whenever I get into the studio I touch that clay and say thanks. I’m aware that that piece of clay has been around since the beginning of time. And it’s going to take a different form, like an iceberg takes a different form from water to ice to water. I am just a facilitator of that change, someone who strives to find a connection from one form of existence to the next.



How do you work aboard?
I find a spot somewhere, anywhere and I paint. I’ve always maintained that I could draw and paint everywhere (the staff were very helpful in this area when I travelled with them!). There was a spot where I was able to set up and paint, while interacting with the other adventurers, being in the moment of where we are. I share quite freely with anyone who is interested enough to talk to me about what I’m doing. There is a dedicated room set up for painting workshops as well where I will be working with groups of passengers wishing to paint.

I would dearly love to have them create a piece of art on the Ocean Endeavour, something personal that is of them and of the moment. Being in the Arctic can have the effect of profound transformation. The Arctic is one of those regions that emphasizes the spirituality of any place. I could help them in any style, to create a piece that is of them – that they can say this was done in the Arctic, on this trip. I will also be doing a presentation and talk about the art of the regions that we’ll be visiting. And I’ll also talk about my own work, hopefully with some live painting!

CITR.Series.Leaving.Gros.Morne.New.SmlWhat do you do after your trips?
I’ll tell you a quick story that will answer that question. When I was coming home from my first Arctic trip I was on Highway 401 coming back from the airport in Ottawa with my wife. She was bringing me up to date and saying “I made some changes around the house…” I started to worry a bit. She laughed. My wife had gone to Ikea, bought shelving, pushed the dining room table to one side, brought my easel and paints up from the basement. She said “I knew when you came back you were going to want to paint.”

I will spend every waking moment that I can afford to with my easel, with my clay. I’ll be very keen to talk about the experience. I’ll be producing work and sharing my experience with Adventure Canada. And there will be shows!!

Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to?
One of the key things is to see the passengers have a painting/sketch that they bring back with them. I am also looking forward to being a part of the Adventure Canada Team. I’ve been in group environments for as long as I can remember and I try to treat each as one of collaboration.

I look forward to working with the staff. I saw the respect they had for each other and for the crew of the ship. We’re all part of a chain. If we’re aware of the link that comes before us and the one after us then the chain is strong and effective. I’m hoping to contribute whatever my link needs to be in the bigger chain. The two key words are respect and support.

Join Andrew Cheddie Sookrah aboard Adventure Canada’s Out of the Northwest Passage, September 2-18, 2019.

Nunavut at 20

Screen Shot 2019-03-28 at 10.58.02 AMToday marks twenty years since the Canadian map was redrawn and the Inuit territory of Nunavut was created. The following is a guest post by Robert Comeau, an Inuk student of the Nunavut Law Program. Since 2016, Robert has travelled with Adventure Canada as a member of the onboard expedition team, where he shares his culture and experience in the North with travellers.



My name is Robert and I am an Inuk. I was born in Frobisher Bay in the Northwest Territories.

In 1999, my family and I were living in beautiful British Columbia. That’s the year my mom, Udloriak Hanson, travelled home to what is now called Iqaluit—the capital of Nunavut. Just as Inuit reclaimed the Inuktitut name for Iqaluit in 1987 (instead of Frobisher Bay), 1999 marked another immense shift: Inuit had claimed their position within Canada through the creation of the separate territory of Nunavut. In the twenty years since the creation of Nunavut, Inuit have continued to claim our space within Canada—not only through politics, but also through practicing, protecting, and sharing our unique culture.

In the early nineties, a referendum was held, and Nunavut charged ahead. The Nunavut Agreement was signed in 1993, one year after I was born. On April 1, 1999, Nunavut became a territory. During this exciting time my mom, was coming into her adulthood. My mom was excited to return to her home and wanted to bring us back with her—but as a university student, she could not afford the travel across the country with a family of four for this celebration. What she did bring back to us in BC was an unmistakable pride in our home territory of Nunavut. After she earned her first university degree, my mom went on to work for public governments and Inuit organizations, always using her privilege to advocate for and better the position of Inuit. This is something that has stuck with me as I follow in her footsteps with my own advocacy.

Me n mum
But until I entered university, neither the Nunavut Agreement nor Nunavut as a territory had much of an impact on my life. Looking back now, however, I can see the immense importance it held for mom and the rest of my community. We created our own territory as an Indigenous group; this accomplishment cannot be overstated. In the 1970s, while many Inuit were still living on the land and sustaining themselves by harvesting, there were other Inuit using their residential school educations to become lawyers. They would go on to create the means for protecting our unique lifestyle—such as the Nunavut Agreement and the creation of our own territory.


For me, this protection means safeguarding our language and our harvesting rights. Inuit society depends on our connection to each other and our environment. These connections come from knowledge produced since time immemorial. Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit is what Inuit know to be true, also referred to as Inuit Knowledge—our own form of science, you could say.

This knowledge system is what guides our language and harvesting. When we harvest other animals that sustain us—like fish, caribou, seal, or whales—our respect for the animals is front of mind. We are taught to use every part of the harvest, from the meat to the bones. Our elders teach us which parts to share with who and why. Each season, I give my first catch to my Auntie Kathy because she is my Arnaqutik. This means that she was there during my birth. This is one of the special relationships that I carry with me and is but one example of a complex family support systems that comprise our unique worldview.


What do Nunavut and the Nunavut Agreement mean to me? It is the living process of Inuit planning and doing what is needed in order to protect our way of life. Inuit express these ways of life in myriad ways. To this day, we create amazing music, we perform tremendous athletic feats, and we produce gorgeous clothing and works of art. We revere the knowledgeable hunters supporting their families. We respect our change-makers who work to incorporate Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit into the everyday functioning of our territory. So, on the twentieth anniversary of Nunavut, it is important that we keep acknowledging these achievements and our values that guided them.

The Inuit in Nunavut have always worked and fought for the betterment of our own people. If it wasn’t for the hard work of Inuit who fought for equal recognition of our Inuktitut language, we would not be where we are today—with Inuktitut joining English and French together on territorial documentation and policy. If it wasn’t for those Inuit who fought for education rights, we would not be where we are today with our right to determine our own scholarly destiny. Now that I am able to understand the history of colonization in Canada and the impact it has had on my family, I need to make the conscious choice to use my privilege. How can I work to make things better for Inuit? One answer that I’ve been working on simply talking with other Canadians about it. The more we can raise awareness about our challenges and achievements as Inuit in Nunavut, the better the chance that when Inuit speak, the south will listen.

This is where I challenge you to go beyond celebrating twenty years of Nunavut. No Canadians should ignore the great achievements made by Inuit—and no Canadians should ignore the immense challenges we face. For a country that prides itself on a Northern identity, there has been little effort to learn about the peoples of the North. This process is not a comfortable one. It means deconstructing your preconceptions about us. It means active listening role instead of deigning to tell us how we should fix the problems we face. With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, or the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples’ 440 recommendations, there are ample resources for each Canadian to have a direct impact on how we move forward together.

Canadian Treaties Map_0
One of the other ways you can support this work is by finding out upon whose traditional territories you live. Is there a treaty? What is the expectation of you as a treaty person? Celebrate the anniversary of their treaty or important date. If there is no treaty, you can still learn about about those Indigenous peoples. The twenty-year history of Nunavut marks the continuation of a tradition of resilient self-learning that has defined our culture for thousands of years—and will continue to do so for thousands more. As we pause to acknowledge these achievements, it also marks how far we still have to come as a country.

Robert is an Inuk law student studying in his hometown of Iqaluit as a student of the Nunavut Law Program. He graduated from Carleton University in 2017 obtaining a Bachelor of Arts with a major in History and a minor in Political Science. A staunch advocate for Inuit rights, Robert immerses himself in the dialogue by publishing, attending conferences, and facilitating workshops. He is a founding board member and the current Vice-President of the Qajakkut Society based in Iqaluit. In this work, Robert supports the delivery of qajaq building programs as well as Paddle Canada certifications. He enjoys any activity that gets him out on the water such as hunting, fishing, or paddling. This summer, he will travel with Adventure Canada aboard Into the Northwest Passage and High Arctic Explorer.

Jerry Kobalenko receives Polar Medal

JK and GG2

Explorer, writer, photographer and Adventure Canada resource staffer Jerry Kobalenko recently received the Polar Medal for his achievements in Canada’s Arctic regions. We reached Jerry to congratulate him and to learn a little more about this unique distinction.

Medal1What is the polar medal?
The polar medal is one of the Canadian honours given by the Governor General, and comes technically from the Queen. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard about it – the GG’s office left me a discrete message, about wanting to “talk to me about a nomination for a polar medal” and lo and behold, they said congratulations: do you accept?

Why are you surprised?
You know, I have always in many ways been an outsider. I have funded my own journeys. I have really rarely had institutional support. I’m sort of a dirt bag who has scrounged together ways of doing these expeditions affordably. And I certainly didn’t do anything to solicit it. You’re this weird guy who’s done everything his own way, and then suddenly they’re pinning a medal on your chest and saying thank you for your service!

What made them pick you?
That too was discrete. Somebody nominated me and I don’t know who! I’m very aware, working for Adventure Canada, that many other people are deserving of such an honour. These sorts of things normally go to northern politicians, prominent Arctic scientists and a small number of northern community workers.

During the investiture, there was a short paragraph which they read… “in recognition of your love, passion and knowledge of Canada’s north with you have shared with national international audiences through your many publications and lectures.” So that was nice, it has love, passion and knowledge… presumably that is the reason for the investiture. But again I am very aware there are a lot of people who would equally fit into that category.

The ceremony itself was at Regina, at the RCMP academy on October 20. We were hoping to hold out for Ottawa but I wanted to get that medal in my possession before somebody realized they’d made mistake! But it was quite appropriate, because 2 of my heroes were RCMP officers; Harry Stallworthy, who circumnavigated Axel Heiburg island while looking for a missing German explorer in 1932. (I’d still like to do that journey!); and Alfred Herbert Joy, who dogsledded 2900 km across the Arctic with another of my heroes, the great Inuk guide Nookapeeungwak.

sledding on Alex Fiord

What do you think deeply motivates you to do this stuff?
Physical restlessness and intellectual curiosity.

What would you list as some of your more extraordinary journeys?
The first one was the hardest one – I threw myself into the deep end. I had no experience, really. I just had the idea and the Arctic was deep enough in me that it bubbled to the surface. I skied alone from Churchill Falls to Nain, Labrador. I prepared as well as I could, but it was very cold and very alone and my gear although adequate at the time was not as good as it would be today… I suffered a lot with the temperatures going to -40 one night in three.

Ellesmere Island from Eureka to Grise Fiord, I wanted to see how fast you could go while man-hauling. It was a pure physical trip. I learned nothing about Ellesmere. I just wanted to burn rubber and see how it could be done. 12, 13 hours every day, moving very fast. That was quite a pure trip.

Nachvak kayaking8And a lot of the kayak trips I’ve done on the lab coast, many with with my wife Sasha – they’re difficult in a different way. The winter is not dangerous. The cold is a bogeyman. But the open sea is not a bogeyman. It is dangerous. Kayaking is one of those situations where you have to follow the positive power of negative thinking. You always have to worry, because worry keeps you safe.

And other trips of course are noteworthy because of the wonderful partners I’ve had. It hasn’t always worked out but I have found wonderful partners because you very quickly get close like you’re five years old again – where within a week you’re best of friends. And that’s how Sasha and I became close – our 6th date was two months alone on Devon and Axl Heiberg islands. Sasha was the brave one on that rip. She had no experience but she just went into this with all senses open.

What do you tell other people, when they admire you and think it’s adventurous and interesting?
Unlike most wildernesses, the Arctic does not have a lot of objective danger. It doesn’t take technical skill. It takes an equipment list and a certain attitude. You’re doing something you enjoy, and the discomfort is jut part of it. If you don’t want to do something, everything is a hardship But if you do want to do something, nothing is a hardship. The cold included. It’s a commitment, of time, money, energy. It’s a lifestyle. But it’s not like a lot of people couldn’t do this.

What’s next? What do you dream of?
I’ve dreamed of the Axel Heiberg circumnavigation in the footsteps of Stallworthy. In 2020 a friend and I are going to go from Clyde River to Pond Inlet. That’s a route that’s been done before, but it’s just an excuse to man-haul again. A definition of heaven for me is man-hauling through the Arctic. So I could do that forever.
hauling & sundog2b.jpg

Does the profile of the Polar Medal allow you a new platform?
Well, in a month or so I’m going to China, because someone heard about me… they want me to talk abut picking your own direction in life!

Expedition Report: Project North

A guest post by Dawn Bazely aboard Greenland & Wild Labrador 2018. Photos by Michelle Valberg.

Today was a big day, as we anticipated our landing in Canada, after crossing the Davis Strait from Greenland.

Nine years ago, expedition photographer Michelle Valberg founded Project North, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children in Canada’s North through sport and education. Project North delivers sports equipment to northern communities. Adventure Canada is a sponsor, and this year helped with delivering hockey gear to the village of Kangiqsualujjuaq in Nunavik, Quebec.

Nunavik_DSC2848 by Michelle Valberg

Our day began with an early Packing Party. Guests and staff filled twenty-five hockey bags with new skates, helmets, pads, and shirts. Part of the donation included 150 hockey sticks, collected by CIBC as part of their memorial to the Humboldt Broncos.

Nunavik_DSC3034 by Michelle ValbergNunavik_DSC3058 by Michelle Valberg

Zodiacs brought guests ashore to a warm welcome from the community. Bannock and tea prepared by Sarah and Susie, friends of culturalist Maria Merkuratsuk was served in sheltering tents. Along with other Inuit staff, Maria was delighted to reunite with family and friends!

Nunavik_DSC3120 by Michelle Valberg

The hockey equipment was delivered to delighted young members of the community. An exciting, fast-paced ball hockey game followed the presentation ceremony, in which the Adventure Canada team, was “narrowly” defeated by a score of 7 to 1 by the young Kangiqsualujjuaq team (who had, by all accounts, been asked to “take it easy”).

Nunavik_DSC3105 by Michelle Valberg
In this day filled with many highlights, we were truly thankful to be welcomed to Qarmaapik Family House by coordinator Minimaali Sinuupa, and a wonderful team of staff and volunteers. Qarmaapik is a unique and inspiring model of family support, designed and delivered by Inuit in the local dialect of Inuktitut. The staff help parents and caregivers feel confident and competent in raising their children in a healthy and supportive family environment.

Nunavik_DSC3149 by Michelle Valberg

Qarmaapik provides Inuit-specific counseling services, interventions, and a safe place for children and families in crisis. In 2016, Qarmaapik won the Arctic Inspiration Prize. This prestigious award provided $700,000 in funding to complement support from Kativik Regional Government and the Makivik Corporation, and community donations, including Adventure Canada’s Discovery Fund.

We were sad to leave Kangiqsualujjuaq, even as we stood on the ramp waiting for Zodiacs in the twilight, and it started to sleet, because we were dancing to music being played for us by our hosts who came to say goodbye!

Nunavik_DSC3209 by Michelle Valberg

Into and Out of the Northwest Passage: A Tale of Two Trips

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Chuck Ludlam joined Adventure Canada this summer for two expeditions, travelling on both Into and Out of the Northwest Passage 2018. Here are his thoughts on that undertaking.

When I signed up for the Northwest Passage with Adventure Canada, it was obvious that I had to sign up for both trips. Back to back. Thirty-three days. And it was a brilliant decision.Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 12.01.51 PM

My friends from the first trip will never know what they missed on the second trip and the same for my friends on the second trip. I won’t tell them as they’d both feel bad. The two trips were quite different—even on the occasions where we visited the same site. Seeing the same site on a sunny day was completely different than seeing it in a blizzard. One trip saw much more wildlife—a huge scrum of walrus, four hundred belugas, three herds of muskoxen, and an up close viewing of a mother and cubs hunting on the ice. But the other had a big focus on climate change and superb Inuit interpreters—and we were bailed out multiple times by icebreakers.

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Two thirds of the thirty expert interpreters were different between the two trips. And the two groups of passengers were quite different. The weather was completely different. On both trips we visited sites that Adventure Canada had never visited before. But the key is simply playing odds: the more time you spend in the Arctic, the more you see. And you see much, much more. The Arctic has moods and seasons. Sometimes it’s intense and sometimes it’s sublime. You can’t plan it or organize it. And for most of us, we have one shot at the Arctic: hedging your bets with one trip makes no sense. I am delighted I took the time to soak it all in. No holds barred. All in. That’s the way to live life to the fullest.

Chuck Ludlam, Washington, D.C.

Photos by Scott Forsyth

40 Under 40 — Interview with Cedar Swan


Adventure Canada CEO Cedar Swan was honoured this month by Canadian Traveller as one of their Top 40 Under 40! As a leader and innovator in the Canadian travel industry, Cedar brings passion, humour, and determination to bear every day through her work at Adventure Canada. We sat down with our fearless leader to chat about her past in the industry, and learn a bit about why she loves her job so much.

What’s your earliest memory of working in the industry?

As children, we Swan kids had a lot of fun with our family business. Our parents included us all from a very young age. I sure knew my way around the mailroom as a kid! In high school, my girlfriends and I would have huge brochure stuffing sleepover parties. We’d have a great time hanging out together, watching flicks, and making decent pocket change stuffing Adventure Canada’s early brochures into envelopes.

When did you decide to work in travel full time?

At the age of fourteen I knew that expedition travel was my calling. My first expedition to the Arctic set that in stone. I loved the ocean, I loved the people, I loved the North. I worked my way up from a mailroom position through high school, handled sales and reservations during my university years and, later, took a full time position. Since then I’ve tried my hand at almost every role within the company. I adored working direct with our clients helping them find and book their perfect expedition, satisfied my creative side working alongside the marketing team, and loved the fine details involved in logistics. Today, I have the pleasure of overseeing a new path forward for Adventure Canada. The support of our clients, local hosts, and industry friends are key to our success as we plan for the future. As ever, my daily mission is to find new and innovative ways to uphold our company mission to engage, entertain, and educate by connecting people to each other and the land through innovative travel experiences.

What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

The greatest joy in my career is being a part of and building a remarkable community. My days are spent with interesting, thoughtful, and passionate people. We have a shared love of the polar regions. We share compassion and work towards understanding for our fellow humans. We take to heart global issues and work towards local solutions. My colleagues and our guests are truly exceptional people with a thirst for knowledge. It is both professionally and personally rewarding to work with and support such a fine group of people.

To what do you attribute your success?

The team I’ve built is incredible. Everyone on the Adventure Canada team is thoughtful, smart, creative, and loyal. We lift each other up, drive each other to excel, and push boundaries. I have a team that I can count on. My complete trust in and appreciation for Adventure Canada’s people allows me to pursue new avenues for our business and develop important relationships.


Where is your favourite place to visit?

The Torngat Mountains in Nunatsiavut, Labrador is my favourite place on the planet. My heart skips a beat and my soul is a peace there. The best time to visit is the fall. The mountains are on fire with fall colours, the berries are ripe and delicious, and the hiking is sublime. This is a place where you feel at the edge of the world. I love feeling humbled by nature.

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What’s at the top of your destination bucket list?

I grew up with stories of my folks travelling India. I became fascinated with the country and went on to study Indian history at the University of Toronto. I look forward to my first visit, where I can’t wait to be overwhelmed with the colours, tastes, and smells.

What advice would you give to someone starting a career in travel?

Get in! Get started. Try as many different roles within the industry as you can. Develop meaningful contacts. Look for creative collaborations. Care for your clients and do best by them. Take the time to carve our your niche when you find your passion.

Are there any exciting programs you’d like to share?

I am extremely proud to share a new partnership with Slow Food Canada and USA. The opportunities we have to work together, to enhance our best practices, to explore the culture of food in Newfoundland and Labrador on our Newfoundland Circumnavigation are incredible. Assisting in promoting and practicing good, clean, and fair food is something we are very proud of.


Slow Food rules in the Paris of the Prairies

Version 2Bill Swan, Partnership Development with Adventure Canada, attended and presented at the Slow Food Canada National Summit April 19th – 22nd in Saskatoon.  

The ‘Paris of the Prairies’, as always, did not disappoint and served as an outstanding host for this event.

Surrounded by a thriving arts and culture scene and great restaurants, delegates met local farmers, teachers, students, chefs and Indigenous leaders.

Discussion revolved around local farming initiatives including their challenges as well as their rewards, youth in farming, plant breeding, urban agriculture, Indigenous food sovereignty, de-colonization and food as an integral element in First Nations cultures and reconciliation in Canada.

At the Summit Gala Dinner, A ‘Waste Not’ Feast was served, utilizing foods otherwise overlooked or discarded foods. Field tours included a dairy farm, fruit farm chicken farm and the University of Saskatchewan research greenhouses that were all very inspiring.  Delegates tasted many food items grown in Saskatchewan that included pulses, mustard, moose, yak (yes, yak!), Haskap berries, deer, elk, duck, wild rice & fresh greens; we were never hungry!  

Bill provided Gala Dinner attendees with an overview of Adventure Canada’s expedition opportunities and in particular, highlighted our new Slow Travel initiative and alliance with Slow Food in Canada and Slow Food USA as we prepare to embark on the Newfoundland Circumnavigation together in October, 2018.

Joining Bill, (note – sporting the new white shirt/AC vest look) – Ingrid Jarret, Vice-Chair, Slow Food Canada (right) Ashlyn George, Saskatchewan Travel Writer (left). 

Bonus points – what is the most important food crop (as measured in export sales) produced in SK? Leave your answer in the comments!

Photographing Newfoundland: more fair than foul!

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada

Craig Minielly joined Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland Circumnavigation in the fall of 2017 as onboard photographer and Nikon Ambassador.

We do our best to prepare everyone, but Craig got the (pleasant) surprise of his lifetime… and the photographs to go with it.

Read on to discover how Craig’s preconceptions were overturned…. to stunning effect!


Newfoundland –  A place of fog, cold , pounding seas and driving rain…

Or so I thought!

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada
As I packed for my upcoming assignment, to be the event photographer for Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland circumnavigation, I had all sorts of visions of wonderfully fog shrouded coast lines, pounding waves against rolling decks of the ship, dark and driving rain for days that would season the images I was to capture with the rugged and terrible weather that is all that Newfoundland is supposed to be.

 I could’ve been more wrong—or perhaps not.

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada
The weather that unfolded throughout the trip was nothing short of spectacular. Ocean kissed coast lines, became tranquil bays of reflecting horizons and idyllic zodiac rides to our remote destinations, all of which were beautifully picture worthy under blue skies & temperate winds.

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada

Day after day the beautiful weather continued, in all its agonizing glory and summer-like conditions.

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada

It was only when we reached Newfoundland’s northernmost tip, of L’anse aux Meadows, that I was finally rewarded with some of my much anticipated and thoroughly storm driven weather – as only true Vikings would have it.

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada

Finally!  Rain, fog, wind and… coolish temperatures, openly greeted us on the shores where Eric the Red and his Viking crew had first stepped foot a thousand years ago… THIS was the weather that matched my much-anticipated dreams of exploring this oh-so terrible and desolate landscape for myself.

Our weather finally turned, but how appropriate to do so as we arrived to the first and desolately rugged Viking settlement of L'Anse aux Meadows - or "Jellyfish Cove" An archaeological site on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Discovered in 1960, it is the most famous site of a Norse or Viking settlement in North America. Dating to around the year 1000, #LAnseAuxMeadows is notable for its possible connection with the attempted colony of Vinland established by Leif Erikson around the same period or, more broadly, with Norse exploration of the Americas. It was named a World Heritage site by #UNESCO in 1978. - Source Wikipedia #worldheritagesite #NikonAmbassador #CraigOnAssignment #AdventureTravel #PrettyPlaces #NikonCa #intothewild #tinypeopleinbigplaces #bestplacestogo #travelphotographer #traveldeeper #suitcasetravels #letsgosomewhere #welltravelled #travelmemories ⠀ #passionpassport #lifeofadventure #stayandwander #folkgood #ourplanetdaily #ExploreCanada #explorenewfoundland #discoverearth #discovernewfoundland #AdventureCanada #outdoorphotography #landscape_lovers #Canada150 Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada

My foul weather gear and weatherproof Nikon preparations, were finally being put to the test as I was able to enjoy the adversities in capturing the ice floes & earliest settlements—while savouring this first Viking landing as it was truly meant to be seen and experienced. 

As we left this area and onto new horizons, the weather of course turned again and I had to suffer through interminable sunshine, and balmy winds that brought only calm seas, but that was OK because I’d had my taste of the terrible climate and weather extremes that I’d come to expect.

Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada


Circumnavigation of Newfoundland w/ Adventure Canada
I was ready to now soak up the suns soothing rays and 
enjoy the warmth of colourful destinations in all their glory… leaving my Viking worthy rain gear and sweaters back on the ship, where they belonged.

Follow Craig’s adventures at, or on instagram at @CraigOnAssignment

To join Adventure Canada’s 2018 Newfoundland Circumnavigation, click here!

To join Adventure Canada’s 2019 Newfoundland Circumnavigation, click here!

To join Adventure Canada’s 2020 Newfoundland Circumnavigation, click here!

Interview with an Expert: Dr. Latonia Hartery

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Latonia in L’Anse-aux-Meadows, NL. Photo by Dennis Minty

Archeologist and filmmaker Dr. Latonia Hartery celebrated her thirtieth trip with Adventure Canada this past season. Beginning in 2005 with a tour of Newfoundland, Labrador, and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Latonia has worked with Adventure Canada every year since, doing several expedition voyages each season. One of Adventure Canada’s most experienced and respected resource team members, Latonia’s work aboard the ship (and ashore) includes interpretation of archeological sites, screening and interpreting films, and presenting her research.

Behind the scenes, Latonia manages Adventure Canada’s archeological sites’ permitting process, and is frequently consulted on best practices and new potential landing sites. She works alongside the Adventure Canada team to develop and implement approaches to sustainable expedition travel in sensitive environments.


Looking back, what were your first impressions of Adventure Canada?

My first impression was the natural camaraderie of the company as a family, which spilled over into how the passengers responded to staff and to each other. I was the youngest resource staff member at the time, and I noticed that people could have a lot of fun and adventure in a warm, safe environment.

What I also noticed was the easy access—getting to all these places that, even as a travelling archeologist, I had only seen on maps. All this coastline, all these places that you never in your wildest dreams think you’re going to reach.

What do you love about sharing your home province, Newfoundland & Labrador, with visitors?

I love showing people how fortunate I am to have grown up in this environment, surrounded by a rich culture that has afforded me the opportunity to follow my dreams about archeology and history.

I was born in a place where people have a very secure sense of identity, and they take care of each other. Not to say that living in Newfoundland doesn’t have its challenges, but there are many great things about this magical place that makes living here worthwhile—and this inspires me to do my best and to work toward helping Newfoundland be the best place it can be, as well.

What does it mean to share the archeology of this region?

Sharing archeology and history isn’t just interpreting—it’s helping people understand why we are the way we are. That is where the passion and love that many Newfoundlanders feel about their home probably comes from. There’s a bit of a misconception that people have been living here for only five hundred years, because of the fishery. That’s incomplete and inaccurate. You can’t understand the full history of Newfoundland and Labrador by starting around 1500AD.

It’s my job to illuminate the nine thousand years of life in the province, which began with the arrival of Indigenous people. And when you start there, it becomes apparent that every group that has been here interacted with the environment in similar ways—and within all of those different cultures, you find a through line that brings us to today. My own research at Bird Cove has helped reconstruct five thousand years of culture-history, both Indigenous and European. Some of our discoveries on the Great Northern Peninsula provided a flip side of how we saw past life in Newfoundland. It filled some gaps in the archaeological record, and shed light on how people dealt with changes in climate thousands of years ago.

What’s special about visiting Newfoundland & Labrador aboard an Adventure Canada trip?

Adventure Canada trips allow me to help people understand complex history and to reconstruct it. Whether through interpreting out on the landscape, or in a presentation, or even when having dinner together, I’m grateful for the opportunity to talk about the diverse nature of NL livelihoods.

People have a general perception about what Newfoundlanders are supposed to be like and the critical thing that Adventure Canada does is to hire locally, so that the passengers get to interact with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, who interpret their own culture and heritage.

I also feel like my job is, generally, to interpret the province with as much enthusiasm as I can.

L’Anse-aux-Meadows is one of the highlights of Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland Circumnavigation. What makes it so special?

The site has both fascinating European and Indigenous history. L’Anse-aux-Meadows is probably one of the most affecting stops that we have, in terms of understanding just how early Europeans—Norse—were here.

Vikings in general are fascinating. It’s a wonderful exercise for people to try to imagine how the site would have been working a thousand years ago. Plus, a female archeologist – Anne Stine Ingstad, excavated this famous archeological site; with the help of locals and professionals, and it became one of the first UNESCO World Heritage sites.

What about Miawpukek First Nation?

Miawpukek is in the Bay D’Espoir region. I grew up in Milltown which is also part of the Bay D’Espoir area. That’s always one of the best days because I interact with friends I’ve grown up with, and my family. Smallwood once said that at the time of Confederation that there were no Indigenous people in Newfoundland, which of course, is not true. But unless people come to visit, it’s difficult to truly know Miawpukek and understand the Mi’kmaq history there.

I encourage travelers to come with us to Miawpukek and meet everyone there—they are thriving and living in one of the most beautiful, fastest-growing, and successful First Nations in Canada. Miawpukek is really showing a way forward— that’s a source of pride. It’s a very special experience for anyone who goes there.

You also travel in the High Arctic. What’s different about the Newfoundland & Labrador trips?

Arctic trips are incredibly adventurous, and can feature extreme hikes. But the Newfoundland & Labrador trips, while having some hikes and trips to isolated areas, is heavily community-visitation based. People come away feeling very nurtured, well taken care of, like they’ve had a lot of warmth run through their bodies. It is also very music focused, and feels lively and uplifting in that way.

You are a filmmaker with a focus on women’s stories. How does that dovetail with Adventure Canada trips?

I love getting more women’s stories out there, having a more equal playing field for women is something I strive for and AC is also taking a lead on this — they employ people myself, Holly Hogan, who’s one of the foremost seabird researchers, musicians like Geraldine Hollett of The Once—a lot of very competent female resource staff are on these trips, plus Cedar and Alana at the company. Exceptional women are met on land too during these trips, one being Cindy Gibbons, in Red Bay— who manages that National Park/UNESCO site.

In Newfoundland & Labrador, whether a woman had a career in the workforce, or worked at home, she was a strong pillar of her community. We learn to grab the world by its tail from our mothers and our grandmothers. They were, and are, very active. My grandmother had thirteen children. I watched her do anything and everything. When you come to Newfoundland & Labrador you will meet a lot of strong women!

Dr. Latonia Hartery runs a nonprofit called Amina Anthropological Resources Association Incorporated (AARA Inc.), specializing in researching and promoting Newfoundland & Labrador. Her own research station, Bird Cove in northern Newfoundland, is having its twentieth anniversary in 2018. She has received the JCI Outstanding Young Person Award, and a Cruise Vision award for her role in bringing Adventure Canada trips to select locations in Newfoundland & Labrador. She was named a Newfoundland & Labrador Emerging Artist in 2016. Her film production company, LJH Film supports stories about women, women writers & directors, and has a focus on the East Coast. She is currently working on a female feature film anthology featuring six different women directors.

Join Latonia in 2018 aboard our Newfoundland Circumnavigation, where she will explore the culture and history of Canada’s youngest province! Until April 15, save 15% on the berth cost of this one-of-a-kind expedition!


Canoeing the Keele: a New Expedition with Adventure Canada

“What sets a canoeing expedition apart is that it purifies you more rapidly and inescapably than any other travel. Travel a thousand miles by train and you are a brute; pedal five hundred on a bicycle and you remain basically a bourgeois; paddle a hundred in a canoe and you are already a child of nature.” —Pierre Elliott Trudeau


One of the best ways to explore Canada is by canoe. No other vessel has shaped our nation’s history more completely—no other mode of transport, except perhaps the kayak, seems more central to our ethos as a northern nation. The canoe is elegant in its simplicity, a craft that is as at home in the world of modern travel as it was essential to the lives of Canadians centuries ago. At Adventure Canada, we’re always concerned with looking backward as much as we look forward, and carrying a reverence for tradition into the new ways we explore our great country (and beyond). With that in mind, we’re proud to present a brand new expedition for 2018: Keele River by Canoe. Set against the rugged backdrop of the Northwest Territories, Keele River offers an iconic Canadian wilderness canoeing experience through the rugged Mackenzie Mountains; turquoise water flow from high in the divide between the Yukon and Northwest Territories through towering mountain scenery and broad valleys full of rugged black spruce with inviting vistas on every curve.

Adventure Specialist Sheryl Saint recently travelled alongside expert guides and excited guests to try out this fifteen-day trip of a lifetime for herself! When she got back to the office, we sat down for a chat—because she had a lot to say about the experience!

Mike Strizic: Hi Sheryl! How many trips have you done with Adventure Canada?

Sheryl Saint: I’m gonna say eighteen or more? I should count!

MS: What is your canoe tripping experience?

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 1.21.48 PMSS: Zero! When I was thirteen I did a canoe trip through a camp I went to. It was in Algonquin Park. We got initiated by rain, the entire week. We looked like drowned rats. And of course the canoe I was in got tipped. By me.

MS: What was most exciting aspect for you in preparing for this canoe trip?

SS: I was just blown away by where I was going. I was so excited to get up to the NWT and see some of the pictures I’ve seen in real life. The mountain ranges, the rivers.


MS: What were you most worried about? How did that play out?

SS: [laughs] lots! I was a nervous wreck! The biggest thing was having not canoed for twenty-some-odd years … or even camping! I haven’t done that in at least twenty-five years. Or at least, in a tent. I also have a moderate fear of water … at least, water that I can’t see through! But I persevered through those fears and after my first day on the trip they had been completely assuaged.

MS: What was the most useful piece of kit you had with you?

SS: Quick-dry clothing, and a good Thermarest [air matress]. It makes all the difference being able to stay warm and dry, and having that one-inch cushion to keep you off the ground is hugely important. People may not be aware that an air matress actually keeps you warm—because you’re not losing body heat into the ground. So that was huge for me.


MS: What was the most spectacular moment of the trip for you?

SS: Our first wildlife viewing. We saw a caribou swimming in the water. AT first it looked like a log, and then it started to move onshore directly opposite our camp. As it emerged out of the water, it was so dramatic and magnificent. It stared at us for a good three minutes before moving on. It made me feel that we were really with mother nature … it was the first day. One of those moments of being welcomed to the wilderness.

MS: What other kind of wildlife did you see on this trip?

SS: We saw a big black wolf! Also, two types of foxes. We saw lots of evidence of bears, and saw a few moose. Porcupines were around, ground squirrels, and tons of birds—eagles, hawks, whooping cranes, a variety of duck species. We had a birder along for the ride who was pointing out the never-ending bird calls.

MS: Who would you recommend this trip for?

SS: Anyone who is active! You don’t have to be an expert, you just have to know how to hold a paddle! One of our team was seventy-nine years old, which was incredible. As long as you know that you’ll be paddling six to eight hours a day—with lots of breaks—you can handle this. If you want to get close to nature, and really see the land by travelling through it, this is the trip for you.IMG_6196

MS: How was the food?

SS: The food was beyond exceptional! We had bacon, eggs, pork loin, pancakes, French toast, all cooked on a fire or on propane as the situation warranted. There were two guides who assisted with the food prep and obviously did all the shopping and packing—but we were assigned to teams that helped out in the campsite kitchen on any given night. It was actually a ton of fun to work with each other like that, as a team. It really gave us a sense of ownership over our experience and adventure. And food tastes so good after a day of paddling. Which was probably a good thing whenever I was on duty [laughs]. There’s also great fishing for those interested—both fly fishing and traditional.


MS: What was campsite life like?

SS: It was great. Every night we’d gather to get to know each other and tell stories, or reflect on the day. One day, we were trying to wait out some rain to pitch tents—and instead, ended up holding tarps up for each other while people pitched their tents underneath! It was amazing how quickly we shifted from being strangers to being friends, partners, and teammates. We were a well-oiled machine by the end of the trip.


MS: What surprised you about this trip?

SS: A few things. I found everyone came back feeling more self-confident. Everyone gained new nuances about themselves that they didn’t know they had. For me, it was strengths that popped out that I had been afraid of, previously. One woman confessed at the onset that she was out of her element and feared that the trip would break spirit. Instead, she found herself rising to and surpassing the challenges before her, and just loved every second of it. I guess that’s the transformative power of the wilderness … and doing things under your own steam. It’s such a great opportunity for Adventure Canada types—you know who you are—to experience the vastness of the north from the ground up. This type of intimate setting—fourteen people maximum—really lays it all out for you. We didn’t see another soul the entire time. It was utterly unlike anything I have ever done. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.


Click here to learn more about Keele River by Canoe 2018!

“Everyone must believe in something. I believe I’ll go canoeing.” —Henry David Thoreau

Student, On Ice

A guest post by Alexia Galloway-Alainga.

image2.JPGMy name is Alexia Galloway-Alainga. I was born and raised in Iqaluit, Nunavut. I am Inuk, meaning that I am part of the three different Indigenous groups in Canada. I am a third-year University student at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I am majoring in Social Work and minoring in Psychology. I enjoy being on the land and outdoors, keeping active, throat singing, and learning. I participated in the 2017 Students on Ice Arctic Expedition which sailed from Resolute Bay, Nunavut, Canada, to Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. Here is a tiny look into my wonderful Students on Ice journey!

My 2017 Students on Ice Arctic Expedition experience began in Ottawa, Ontario with a pre-program for the Northern participants. This included participants, elders, educators, and leaders from all across the circumpolar North. Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut, Inuvialuit Region, Greenland, and Alaska. This pre-program ran for a couple days where we got to know each other through ice breakers, workshops, and sharing of our stories and talents. It was a great way to build on your own knowledge of Inuit homelands, by getting to know the experience of life on Inuit Nunaat from others across the circumpolar North. One particular eye opener for me, was meeting a participant from Alaska. It was interesting to learn about the differences in culture, in part due to the national border that separates the US and Canada. But more specifically, I was fascinated to learn about our similarities in life as Inuit, or as Indigenous Peoples, the border between us notwithstanding. These similarities span from Nunavut to Alaska, and East, from Canada to Greenland—values of the land, of family, and of practicing and preserving our traditions and culture. The pre-program for the expedition was meant to bring us together, with the knowledge of our homeland, and prepare us as ambassadors of the North. The remaining participants, those from other provinces in Canada, and from different countries around the world, came after the two-day program. We had a couple ice breakers the night before boarding the Ocean Endeavour, to get to know each other. We played some Inuit Games, and tried to do a square dance.

Day One rolled around and we flew from Ottawa, Canada to Resolute Bay, in Canada’s Arctic. There we attended the announcement of Qausuittuq Park, from Federal Minister Katherine McKenna, PJ Akeeagok president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, and the Deputy Minister (I believe) of Environment, David Akeeagok. Along with the announcement, artist Celina Kalluk, who originates from the area, sang songs that were related to the families and land of the area.

Students on Ice was also fortunate to attend the announcement of Canada’s largest Marine Conservation Area, Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound), measuring an area of 109,000 square kilometres. The protection of this area in Canada’s Arctic is comparable to twice the size of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. It was an honour to attend an announcement so important to Inuit, to Canada, and in the long run, to the world.

After the announcement of the opening of Qausuittuq National Park, we boarded our floating home for the next two weeks. On board, we attended workshops of our choice. These workshops varied in topic from science and climate change to reconciliation and cultural identity. We participated in these workshops throughout the expedition.

It was my goal to make Students on Ice as much of a learning experience as possible, so some of the workshops I chose were sometimes outside of my comfort zone. Some of them include, Finding Your Political Voice, held by Bruce Heymen and Nancy Karetak-Lindell, History of Inuit Dog Sledding, by Shari Fox Gearheard, Indigenous Identities, which was a panel that included Becky Mearns, Jessice Bolduc, Ivalu Rosling, and Brandon Pardy. These are just a few of the amazing workshops and presentations that were available to all of the participants and staff aboard the ship this year.

As the days continued, many of us began to lose a sense of time and day. With day-filled schedules, no cell phone or internet service, and so much learning at our fingertips, nobody really cared about what day it was. Our days were never set in stone, but each day typically consisted of attending workshops, eating delicious food (thank you, Ocean Endeavour crew!), adventuring on land to a historic site, or simply going ashore to do workshops, and reflecting on our own experience individually or in groups. The experiences created, either on land, learning about the history of Inuit at historic sites, visiting different communities along the way, or in workshops aboard the ship, were life-changing. As an Inuk, I found that it was an opportunity to share my culture, share the beauty and vastness of my homelands, and meet new faces from all over Canada, and the World. Students on Ice was an opportunity to build upon the knowledge I have about Inuit and our land, but was also an opportunity to witness other people and their discovery of the Arctic through their own lenses. These moments were my absolute favourite part about this year’s Students on Ice expedition. Sharing what I know, building on that knowledge, but also witnessing people from all around the world grow an appreciation for the Arctic, for Inuit, and for Indigenous Peoples.

I personally would like to thank the Students on Ice Foundation, from the staff on board to the staff in Ottawa, the sponsors who brought this wonderful group of people together, and the staff aboard the Ocean Endeavour for creating an experience that touched and/or changed the lives of everyone on board. The Students on Ice experience contributes to building a knowledge about Indigenous Peoples in Canada, that undermines what many Canadian youth are taught in schools. This experience shines light to some of Canada’s history that the government has repeatedly attempted to hide and/or doesn’t propagate. This was a life-changing and educational experience that will contribute to creating a healthier, safer, and truly multicultural future for Canada. Thank you to the International participants and staff who came into this experience with an open mind and heart, and for carrying this knowledge with you for the rest of your lives. Students on Ice was educational in the realization of the reality and rapidity of climate change and sea level rise, of the reality for Indigenous Peoples in Canada today and in the past, and was also an opportunity to meet many people with curiosities and lenses that sprout from all over the world. I am truly grateful to have participated in this year’s expedition, and will continue to be thankful for this experience for the rest of my life.

Alexia is a third-year student at Carleton University. Click here to read her profile on our blog. Each year, Adventure Canada sponsors an Inuk youth from one of the four Inuit regions of Canada to take part in Students On Ice, established in 2000 “to educate the world’s youth about the importance of the Polar Regions, to support their continued growth and to inspire initiatives that contribute to global sustainability.” We are proud to partner with such a worthy organization, and delighted to have sponsored Alexia on her journey.

Nunavut Day 2017: in the Words of John Houston



“There’s a gulf between the Nunavut that southern Canadians hear described in the media and the one that actually exists—there’s no substitute for going there and having the people share their land and communities with you.” —John Houston

With our team of resource staff, Adventure Canada travels the world’s wildest places. Our expeditions take us to the west coast of Greenland and the east coast of Canada, down the mighty St. Lawrence River, and even into the Tanzanian Serengeti. Next summer, our ship sets sail for Scotland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands. And today, we’re anchored off the coast of Sable Island. But there is one region that has always been at the heart of all that we do: Nunavut.

Today is Nunavut Day, which marks the anniversary of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, which This agreement gave the Inuit of the central and eastern Northwest Territories a separate territory called Nunavut. It is the largest Aboriginal land claim settlement in Canadian history. The NLCA provided the Inuit of Nunavut with a number of new rights, including representation on wildlife, resource, and environmental management boards. When the territory was officially created in 1999, it represented the culmination of work that began in 1973 by the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. On April 1, 1999, Nunavut as an independent territory with an independent government became a reality. This was a huge boon for the nearly 60,000 Inuit people who call the Canadian Arctic home, scattered across fifty-three communities in the vast North. Nunavut itself comprises a staggering 350,000 square kilometres—accounting for over twenty percent of Canada’s landmass—making it one of the most sparsely populate territories on Earth.

That being said, the Nunavut Inuit population retains a rich and vibrant culture, heritage to its origins over 6,000 years ago as the Thule culture. Nomadic hunters and fishermen originally, Nunavut art and culture follows a rote-oral tradition with a deep-seeded focus on storytelling, song, and a reverence for generational knowledge kept by elders. Today, the capital of Nunavut, Iqaluit, is a vibrant hub of culture including the widely attended Alianait Arts Festival, hometown heroes The Jerry Cans, and more. A new generation of young Inuit are making waves around the world as they find their place within a modernizing world, preserving their cultural heritage while working with contemporary organizations to carry those skills forward in a modern Nunavut.

Heart of the Arctic, Adventure Canada’s upcoming expedition, is by far and away our most community- and art-focused voyage, paying a visit to Kinngait (Cape Dorset)—epicenter of the Inuit printmaking movement. John Houston, son of James and Alma Houston, widely credited with introducing Inuit art to the world at large, has been travelling with Adventure Canada since 1991, making him one of our longest-standing resource staffers.

“My great thrill,” says John, “is the ongoing collaboration between AC and the Inuit of Nunavut, which is where I come from. Having the community greet us at the shore as we step out of Zodiacs that contain Inuit as drivers, Inuit as resource staff, Inuit as Expedition Leaders … seeing the looks on the faces of the young people gathered as they witnessing that collaboration, and perhaps see a path for themselves. That’s immensely gratifying for me.”

John grew up in Kinngait and, while watching westerns with the community at about six years old, decided that he wanted to make films and show them to his community. Since then, he’s dedicated his life to the creation of art and craft of filmmaking, and to continue the promotion of Inuit art and culture in the footsteps of his parents.

“Adventure Canada has grown up as a company with Nunavut,” John says. “We were up there getting going in the run-up to Nunavut becoming a terrority. We’ve had a number of Nunavut leaders aboard as staff and guests—like Tagak Curley, Ann Hanson [first commissioner of Nunavut]. The spirit and excitement of Nunavut becoming a territory matched our own spirit and excitement of exploration and getting to know the people who call the region home. In the early days, we didn’t know the first thing—we relied on local knowledge and understanding to equip ourselves with the skills to explore the region safely, responsibly, and sustainably. We do to this day.”

Tradition and Transition—Sharing the Work

Guest post by Ossie Michelin

arch research at Joahnnes Pt summer 2016

Arch research at Johannes Point, Summer 2016

Hundreds of years ago—in the late 1400s as Inuit spread east from the Western Arctic—groups made camp in what is now known as the Johannes Point on the north coast of Labrador. The point sits within the steep cliffs of barren rock that makes up Hebron Fjord. The deep inlet provides protection from the harsh weather of the Labrador Sea.

Few besides local Inuit have ever stepped foot inside the Hebron Fjord, but each year Adventure Canada passes by, brining visitors to this breathtaking location as part of its voyage up through the North Atlantic traveling between St. John’s and Greenland.


A traditional qulliq — photo courtesy of Tradition and Transition

Last summer, with the help of Adventure Canada’s and the Ocean Endeavour, archeologist Peter Whitridge and his team from Memorial University traveled to the remote fjord to study the archeological site. Whitridge is a researcher with the Tradition & Transition Research Partnership—a five-year research partnership between the Labrador Inuit, Memorial University, and many other partners—including Adventure Canada. The partnership aims to work with Inuit communities to protect, preserve, and promote Inuit culture and language—and to provide long lasting resources for the communities.

It is not hard to see why Inuit have been coming here for centuries. The area is abundant with wildlife and, to this day, remains a popular location for hunting, fishing, and harvesting. Many Inuit have cabins in the area and there were thriving Inuit settlements here until they were relocated in the mid-twentieth century.

Nachvak Fjord, Torngats National Park

Nachvak Fjord, Torngat Mountains National Park. Photo by Dennis Minty.

The cold temperatures of the subarctic mean that many archeological remains left behind by early Inuit are remarkably preserved. For archeologists like Whitridge, the pre-European contact sites at Johannes Point can shed some light on what life was like for early Inuit in the region hundreds of years ago. “This site can show us an interesting part in the story of the Inuit peopling Northern Labrador,” says Whitridge. “We were at Johannes Point for about five weeks this past summer mapping a really interesting Inuit site, and excavating small test units next to a couple features, especially a pre-contact Inuit winter house.”

The weather conditions can make entering Hebron Fjord tricky for large parts of the year. When Whitridge and his team tried to embark from the Ocean Endeavour, ice had blocked their entry. It took multiple tries but the researchers finally made it ashore, and the ship continued on its way to further adventures in Greenland.

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Adventure Canada brings visitors to the shores of Nunatsiavut each year. The entire area is steeped in history as Inuit lived, traveled, hunted, fished, and gathered all across the region for centuries. Because of this many of the visits include archeological sensitive areas. Michelle Davies is an archeologist with the Nunatsiavut Government, which represents the Labrador Inuit and PhD candidate at Memorial’s Department of Archaeology working with Tradition & Transition researcher Lisa Rankin. Davies traveled with Adventure Canada last summer to see how those policies unfold in the real world.


Arch Midden test at Johannes Point, Summer 2016 — photo courtesy of Tradition and Transition

“It was a great experience! It was pretty different from what you read in a report versus what is happening on the ground and what leads to certain decisions,” says Davies. “Even though I was working as the Nunatsiavut Government archeologist, I still gave a few lectures aboard and talked about the importance of archeology. I spoke about why it is important to protect this stuff and not to touch anything, and how to visit an archeological site appropriately, so that won’t be damaged over time.”

Davies says that ships like the Ocean Endeavour that bring visitors to Inuit communities have a lot of potential to boost the local economy and teach people from around the world about Labrador Inuit.

“Tourism is a growing industry in Labrador, as more ships and tours are coming in we really wanted to address this growing industry because it could potentially damage sites in the future if we don’t address it early on,” explains Davies. “I have to say that I was really impressed with the way that Adventure Canada approached us about this, and all the protections they had lined up and in place already.”

With partnerships like Tradition & Transition in place, Labrador Inuit, archeologists, and visitors can all make sure that the beauty and culture of the area are celebrated while making sure that history is preserved.

Ossie Michelin is a freelance journalist from North West River, Labrador. He grew up with his family going off on the land—hunting, trapping, fishing, and foraging. His heritage and upbringing instilled in him a lifelong love of the natural world—and of the Labrador environment in particular. He holds a BA in journalism from Concordia University and worked for five years with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, eventually helping them establish its first home-based bureau in Labrador.

Explore more of Tradition & Transition’s work here, and follow them on social media here and here.

Adventure Canada will visit Nunatsiavut again this season with the Greenland & Wild Labrador expedition from September 23rd to October 7th.

The Floating Book Club

author-coversAcclaimed publisher, editor, and storyteller Doug Gibson—whose authors have won every major book award in Canada—will lead our first-ever onboard Book Club, featuring bestselling authors Terry Fallis and Kathleen Winter.

Kathleen Winter will guide readers through her groundbreaking novel, Annabel. Set in coastal Labrador, Annabel was a #1 Canadian bestseller, and a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award, and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

Terry Fallis will present the first of his four national bestselling books. His hilarious debut novel, The Best Laid Plans, won the 2008 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and the 2011 Canada Reads competition. A CBC TV miniseries based on the book aired in January 2014.

In addition to his literary leadership, Doug Gibson will perform an exclusive showing of his one-man play, Stories About Storytellers, and offer his unique editor’s insights into the work of Alice Munro.

Join the Floating Book Club on our Newfoundland and Wild Labrador voyage, July 5-17, 2015.

Entranced by tuckamore

This lovely video pays tribute to one of the unique attractions of the Newfoundland and Labrador coastline: tuckamore.

As picturesque as its name suggests, tuckamore is tree growth shaped by the constant wind into dreamlike sculptural formations.

In places like Gros Morne National Park, you’ll find plenty of tuckamore: beautiful, unusual, and wild.

Just like Newfoundland and Labrador.

See tuckamore for yourself on these amazing voyages:

Newfoundland Circumnavigation, June 2-12, 2014
Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, June 29-July 12, 2014
Greenland and Wild Labrador, September 11-24, 2014

Arctic Explorer Teaser


Our 2013 Arctic Explorer adventure has recently come to an end, and what an adventure it was full of great people, visiting memorable places and taking in some iconic Arctic wildlife.

While our travellers anxiously await their post-trip package including official trip log, we were lucky enough to have Dennis Minty send along some stunning photos for us to share.

Polar Bear, South Baffin

Aaju Peter & Bernadette Dean, Welcome Ceremony

By all accounts it looks like everyone was having far too much fun on this trip! It looks like the only downside of the adventure was that Adventure Canada – once again – lost the Arctic soccer challenge. We’ll be back to Itilleq again one day to try and redeem ourselves.

Itilleq Soccer Match

Itilleq Soccer Trophy

If you want to join in the fun next year, the 2014 version of our Arctic Explorer trip runs from August 2-12.

Sisimuit, Greenland

Sunneshine Fjord

Photos all courtesy of Dennis Minty.

Get to know Iqaluit with Google

Google Trekker in Iqaluit

In case you missed it, Google streetview was recently up in Iqaluit, trekking around town.

Now, Google has posted a great recap with a “behind the scenes” look at their time in Canada’s North. You can explore town on your own, or view their audio tours and Google Maps videos. You can view the page at

We’re pretty excited that our travellers have the chance to get a glimpse of what they’ll experience during their town visits by checking out this Google page. We just so happen to visit Iqaluit on many of our Arctic cruises, including during the Alianait Arts Festival.

Check it out and have fun exploring Iqaluit on your own!

Photo taken from the Google Maps website link above.

It’s Not Too Late for 2012!

As the summer heats up, we’re ready to keep you cool! Join one of our 2012 Arctic Adventures and spend two unforgettable weeks above the Arctic Circle. Be captivated by the magic and mystery of the far north – stunning vistas, warm people and incredible wildlife are all on the itinerary. Cruise in comfort and style as we follow in the footsteps of famed explorers aboard the 118-passenger Clipper Adventurer.

Epic High Arctic: August 9 – 19, 2012

Into the Northwest Passage: August 19 – September 2, 2012

Out of the Northwest Passage: September 2 – 18, 2012

There are a handful of spots left – if you’re interested please call or email Loretta.

New Trip Announcement: Art on the Rock

Literature, music, visual art, theatre – Newfoundland has it all, and in abundance far beyond anything you might expect of half a million people. Join celebrated Newfoundland writer Kevin Major for an insider’s look at the culture of his Island and three art-filled days at the edge of the North Atlantic. Let him take you through the multi-hued streets and back lanes of St. John’s, to his favourite galleries and music haunts. Meet artists, poets and musicians (sometimes all three in one). Spend time in their studios. Hear them explain their art. Listen as they read from their award-winning books, and relax and chat with them over wine. From the intimacy of an ornate nineteenth century reading room to the sweeping views of the city from the ultra-modern galleries of The Rooms (what The Globe and Mail has called ‘one of the world’s great small museums’), you’ll know you’re in the midst of a culture like no other in North America. Aesthetically, you might think yourself in Europe. Whether walking the stage of the LSPU Hall (where Mary Walsh and Rick Mercer honed their skills) or enjoying a pint and a song at The Ship or The Crow’s Nest, you’ll know for sure you’ve fallen into the arms of a spirited arts scene.


Taken in conjunction with our Newfoundland Circumnavigation or as a stand alone program, Art on the Rock with Kevin Major will surely not disappoint.


Dates: October 11 – October 14, 2012.


For more info, please click here or email Judy to reserve your space today!

Haida Gwaii Update from Carol Heppenstall

 Our Haida Gwaii trip gets better every time and this year was no exception. Fourteen clients – some Adventure Canada veterans and others new to our family embarked on this extraordinary journey to one of the world’s most sacred landscapes. Our Island Roamer ship staff were fabulous – haute cuisine from the galley, a diving marine biologist who introduced us to most of the species of the intertidal world and a captain – par excellence – who knew where all the wildlife was and found it!

We saw humpback whales spy-hopping and dolphins (two types) in the hundreds. Rookeries revealed puffins and murres and ocean currents brought sooty shearwaters, petrols and the black footed albatross. Did I mention the ancient forests? There is simply nothing that compares to this experience.

Perhaps the most profound moments occurred when we met the watchmen stationed at the abandoned village sites. These are men and women who live on site during the summer greeting visitors, sharing the history of the place and allowing quiet time for guests to chat with members of the Haida nation. It was a pleasure introducing this special place to my guests – Howa – thank you!

– Carol Heppenstall

Join the Adventure in 2014! Email Judy to reserve your space today.

Steve Gorman – the Art of the Wild

Steve Gorman would like invite the Adventure Canada family to visit my brand-new to view the photographs on exhibit, wander at your leisure through the photography galleries, and enjoy the dispatches from the field. Please use the contact form on the home page to keep in touch!

For all those on Facebook, I’d also like to invite folks to stay in touch, keep up to date with news and events, and share stories, photos, and traveller’s tips by clicking here.

You can still enter the Stephen Gorman & The Art of the Wild Photo Contest Through August 31!

Epic High Arctic photographer Steve and Adventure Canada’s Matthew James Bradley-Swan were in a Zodiac scouting the shores of Monumental Island for wildlife when they turned a corner and suddenly had a surprising face-to-face encounter! Steve invites you to enter the “Name the Image Contest” and win this signed limited edition print. Click here to name and win this new release from Steve’s latest Arctic expedition!

Steve will be joining Adventure Canada on our Epic High Arctic Expedition –  we have one cabin still available! Email or call Judy to join us today!

Updates from Ken McGoogan!

Author / Historian Ken McGoogan, who will be sailing  Into the Northwest Passage, August 19 -September 2, is touting a new book. He wrote an introduction to The Arctic Journals of John Rae, which will hit bookstores in September. During the forthcoming voyage, Ken hopes to lead a mini-expedition to the spot where, as described in his book Fatal Passage, he erected a plaque honoring Rae.

Email Loretta to reserve your space today!

Ken also has an article in the latest issue of Canada’s History on the discovery of a new Viking site in Ireland, and he put together two short videos celebrating Adventure Canada’s recent Circumnavigation of Ireland.
Ireland’s Islands:

Daniel Payne Sails the Irish Sea of Music:

Join Adventure Canada in the Celtic Isles in 2013 on our Scotland Slowly Expedition! Email Sheryl for more information or to reserve your space.

From Gros Morne to Ghana with Kevin Major!

Kevin Major’s much-praised novel Hold Fast (voted by Quill & Quire magazine as second only to Anne of Green Gables in its list of top Canadian novels for young people) is coming to the big screen. Filming was completed in early July and stars Molly Parker and a host of Newfoundland actors, among them Andy Jones, and, in the role of the 14-year boy at the centre of story, exciting newcomer Avery Ash. The movie was shot in various locations across the island, including a perennial stop for Adventure Canada – Gros Morne National Park. Watch for the release of the feature film in 2013.The author’s other big adventure this month has been to Ghana in West Africa. As a volunteer with CODE (Canadian Organization for Development through Education) and the Ghana Book Trust, Kevin led two workshops for writers and editors, with the goal of encouraging the publication of more culturally-revelant, local literature for young people. Canadian philanthropist William Burt had made a ten-year commitment to Ghana and three other African countries for awards to honour the best such books each year. While in the capital city of Accra, Kevin met with other jury members to consider this year’s submissions.Kevin joins the Greenland and Wild Labrador Expedition in September, followed by his l tour of the Newfoundland arts scene, Art on the Rock, in October. Email Judy to reserve your space today!

Congratulations Jerry Kobalenko!

Arctic Eden Cover

Jerry’s latest book, Arctic Eden, has just won the William Mills Prize, given by polar librarians – a discerning audience – for the best nonfiction polar book of the last two years!

Through words and pictures, Jerry uses a series of journeys taken across the High Arctic over the past twenty years to provide a multifaceted view of this beautiful and most vulnerable part of the Arctic


Join Jerry on our Greenland & Wild Labrador Expedition!Email Sheryl to reserve your space today.

Adventure Canada & Unikkausivut

Adventure Canada is proud to announce our four-year partnership on an exciting project with the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the Inuit Relations Secretariat (IRS) of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).
The Inuit have a long and vibrant tradition of passing tales and legends down from one generation to the next using visual arts and storytelling. For over 70 years, the National Film Board of Canada has been documenting life in the Arctic, producing an impressive collection of more than 110 films by and about the Inuit-a unique and powerful portrait of Inuit life, past and present.


In 2011 Adventure Canada donated $10,000 to this initiative and passengers onboard our 2011 Arctic Season raised another $3,800!

The goal is to provide this unique collection for free, to Inuit as well as to all Canadians in Inuktitut, French and English. This past fall, the project reached the 53 Inuit communities of Canada and the Inuit in the urban centres with the launch of a DVD box set of 24 films. This historic NFB undertaking will ensure this collection is available online by 2015, making Unikkausivut a bold heritage initiative of unprecedented scope.

With your support the Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories will provide all Canadians with the opportunity to discover the traditions, culture and values of the Inuit, who have shaped a part of Canada’s history and continue to shape contemporary Canadian society.

Adventure Canada will once again be striving to raise funds during our 2012 Arctic Season and will happily match all donations . Please email Sheryl to learn how you can support this important initiative.