Canada C3 3rd Launchiversary!

June 1st, 2020 marks the 3rd anniversary of the launch of our historic Canada C3 expedition by sharing inspiring stories, projects and initiatives that our alumni have developed throughout this new normal of social distancing.

June 1st, 2020 marks the 3rd anniversary of the launch of our historic Canada C3 expedition.  Of course, this year we find ourselves in a very different position than we did in 2017 BC, Before COVID-19.  Instead of boarding a ship to sail around Canada from coast to coast to coast, explore communities and meet new people from all over our extraordinary country, most of us are isolated in our homes trying to find new ways to connect. Well, we have found a way!

SOI/Canada C3 is marking this anniversary by sharing inspiring stories, projects and initiatives that our incredible C3 alumni have developed prior to, and for many throughout, this new normal of social distancing. In a way, we are all on a new journey together, making their work all the more meaningful and important.  Get ready to be awed and inspired by these amazing alum who are making an impact across the Arts, Science and Environment, and Education.

Many of these artists are reflecting on what is happening to the world in a deep, meaningful and original way. Here are several examples:

Visual Art

  • Artist Phil Irish is showcasing his leg 7 experience along Baffin Island using oil paintings to visualize forces at work in the Arctic ice (follow his work on Instagram).
  • Saskatchewan artist Geoff Phillips (Leg 14) has been focusing on bringing history to life through the Living Heritage Art Workshop series
  • Christine Fitzgerald (Leg 2)  is currently working to supply face shields to LTC facilities in Ottawa. For a contribution Christine will provide an art print, this contribution will be put towards the purchase of face shields for the LTC facilities. To find out more, contact Christine on her website.


  • Photographer Taylor Roades (Leg 14) has been using the past weeks of lockdown to play cleverly with the line photography walks between history and the immediate historical moment we are in. To see Taylor’s work, click the link and use password victoria.
  • Photographer Michelle Valberg (Leg 8) has been working on a wonderful black and white portrait series called Planet Hope featuring people living through the pandemic @planethopecanada


  • Our eclectic musicians have had to cancel many gigs but have been regaling us with intimate home concerts. Check out a few of our C3 musicians below as they serenade us from home.

Aaron Pritchett (Leg 1)
Alex Cuba (Leg 2)
Fred Penner (Leg 5)
Rose Cousins (Leg 6)
Tim Tamishiiro (Leg 11)
Devin Cuddy (Leg 12)
Sarah Harmer (Leg 14)
Tim Crabtree (étape 15)

  • Leg 9 musician Anique Granger shared with us her podcast series where songs are born from stories (listen here)
  • During COVID-19, Khairunnisa (Inda) Intiar (Leg 3) co-founder of non-profit initiative Woven Cultures, has launched a series highlighting young entrepreneurs, artists, performers and leaders in New Brunswick called Young Artists Spotlight. (Learn more)


  • Author Charlene Bearhead (Leg 9) and her husband published an 8 book series called Siha Tooskin Knows about an 11-year-old Nakota boy who lives in an urban centre but stays close to who he is by sharing his culture and teachings (Learn more)
  • Author Mark Leiren-Young (Leg 15) published three new books about whales for young readers (view books); a new play called Bar Mitzvah Boy; and a podcast focused on “environmental grief’ how to cope with the COVID world.

The Canada C3 expedition was a perfect platform for researchers from all across the country to conduct studies on land and at sea. These included topics ranging from algae and mammal diversity to microplastics along the Canadian shore and Trans-Canada eDNA Biodiversity Mapping Project. So far, two science infographics have been created as a way of communicating the science undertaken. The first is on plants and lichens work, led by the Canadian Museum of Nature (view infographic).  The second is on the microplastics work led by the team at OceanWise (view infographic).

You can also learn what C3 scientists and alumni have been working on recently in the area of environment and science.

  • Scientist Rhiannon Moore (Leg 12) has completed her research project on microplastics in beluga whales and has begun working for the City of Victoria within their Zero Waste Department. Read more
  • Educator Vannessa Tan (Leg 13) continues to teach an environment-based elementary school program on Vancouver island. Most recently Vanessa was invited by the Pender Harbour Ocean Discovery Station (PODS) on the Sunshine Coast in BC to design their K-12 exPODition learning program. Read more
  • Science teacher Josée Pennober (Leg 14) has been trying to create a generation of budding future scientists through her awareness campaign to safeguard the biodiversity of the local creek outside her school. Read more

Education is at the heart of our work and critical in fostering a greater understanding of the world around us, and a commitment to positive. Here are just some of the alumni making a difference through education.

  • PhD student in Mechanical Engineering, Chris White (Leg 10), has been focusing on his research in clean energy. His research supports the transition to clean energy through the repurposing of used batteries from retired electric vehicles. Read more
  • Carrie Horachek (Leg 4) has been in the community doing presentations and community outreach events on behalf of ConnectR, a tool that helps people find and respond to calls to action and move forward on a journey of Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Read more
  • Mike Irvine (Leg 10 & 11) and his company, Live It, designs, produces, hosts and delivers cutting edge online education experiences through highly produced live streamed programs. Live It aims to produce online learning experiences through live Q&As with experts, curated online activities and downloadable learning resources. Read more
  • Student Pierre-Quan Francoeur met Paul Therrien on board the Polar Prince (Leg 3). Check out Paul’s podcast, where the two discuss Pierre-Quan’s ambitions for the future, as well as his impressions of the situation in which we are with COVID-19 and why we must remain optimistic and maintain the hope that science and technology will help us get out of this crisis.
  • Man-Yin Tsang (Leg 5) wrote an article “Microbial Life Deep Under the Seafloor—A Story of Not Giving Up” in Frontiers for Young Minds for 8-15 year-olds. She acknowledged Canada C3 as the expedition that inspired her to convey science and the message of being resilient to children.


Finally, leg 6 alum Paul Sawka has shared this lovely personal update:

“I was temporarily laid off from the Canadian Down Syndrome Society in March as a result of Covid-19.  I am also temporarily back home with my parents after my supportive roommate’s co-worker got sick. So I am among thousands of others who are in similar situations.

What have I been up to during this isolation period? I have done a lot of baking with my mom. I have also been working in the workshop with my dad and we built a night table for my bedroom. I try to work out every day with Special Olympics who are live streaming daily workouts. It has been fun to work out with some former Stampeder football players! I keep in touch with my friends via Zoom, phone calls and facetime. I am even learning how to play the ukulele with the help of virtual lessons.

I also made a sign that we put in our front window that thanked front line workers for all that they have done for us during this difficult time.

I miss my C3 friends and hope that they are staying safe & well. C3 was such a fantastic experience and one I will never forget!”

Our community is coming together during this time of need and we are stronger than ever. We want to thank all of our frontline workers that have kept us safe, cared for our loved ones these past 12 weeks and shown incredible compassion. Thank you to all scientists, researchers  and educators for showing us all their innovation and determination and making sure that their messages are communicated strongly to the public in our time of need. Thank you to all the artists, writers and musicians for providing us with an outlet, inspiration and a voice and thank you to the public for sharing your stories and keeping one another safe.