Ice breaker reaches Victoria, ends coast to coast to coast voyage around Canada
The Polar Prince is a multi-purpose ship orginally built in 1959 in Lauzon, Quebec as a class 100A medium-duty icebreaker for service in the Canadian Arctic as the CCGS Sir Humphrey Gilbert. She was completely rebuilt in the 1980s and promptly retired and sold for scrap. The ship was purchased by a Newfoundland company and mostly sat idle until it was sold to an investor and then modernized in 2009. In 2010 the Polar Prince was sold to GX Technology Canada, LTD (division of Ion) in Calgary, Alberta and finally put back to work in the Arctic.
Image Credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/Herb Neufeld
October 29, 2017 - 9:30 AM
VICTORIA - The Polar Prince ice breaker docked in Victoria on Saturday, marking the end of a 150-day voyage exploring Canada's coastline.
The Canada C3 expedition from Toronto to Victoria via the Northwest Passage celebrated the country's 150th birthday by travelling 23,000 kilometres and visiting 75 communities.
Expedition leader Geoff Green says the journey highlighted the fact that Canada is both an ocean nation and a polar nation, in having the longest coastline of any country, which is predominately in the Arctic.
He said with so many communities relying on the oceans, lakes and rivers, he predicts Canada will become a global leader in championing ocean conservation efforts.
"One of the things we've seen on this journey is how connected we are to that ocean and how important it is to all the incredible communities coast to coast to coast," Green said.
He added the voyage was a significant opportunity to meet with Indigenous communities and discuss reconciliation.
"Since the moment we left Toronto, we have been on the territory of First Nations, Metis and Inuit people every step of the way," he said.
Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, said although Indigenous people struggle with the history of their relationship with Canada, they are proud Canadians and welcomed the opportunity to share their traditions with the expedition.
"We love sharing the arctic, sharing our homeland ... with those who want to learn," he said.
Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc, also took part in the celebrations, announcing Canada has reached its goal of protecting five per cent of its oceans and coastline by the end of this year.
Two years ago, the amount of protected marine and coastal areas in Canada sat at only 0.9 per cent.
He said new marine conservation areas announced earlier this year off the B.C. coast and in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence in Quebec ensured the five-per-cent milestone was reached and the government is now focused on raising that to 10 per cent by 2020.
"We also know that our oceans are under threat, threat from climate change, overfishing and pollution and many other real threats," he said. "Our government will live up to and exceed the commitments we have made to Canadians in terms of ocean protections."
News from © The Canadian Press, 2017