A New Canada C3 Legacy: Deep and Sheltered Waters

"When Canada C3 landed at beautiful and quiet Tod Inlet on the 149th day of the Canada 150 expedition, little did I know that the impact of that day would last for years!" Read David Gray's reflections in the following article.

by David Gray
Canada C3 Program Team

Legs 8, 9, 10 and parts of Legs 1 and 15

Photo (c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation

When Canada C3 landed at beautiful and quiet Tod Inlet on the 149th day of the Canada 150 expedition, little did I know that the impact of that day would last for years! For me it was the connections made: connections to the land’s history, connections to the descendants of people who once lived at Tod Inlet and joined C3 participants for the day, and the Tod Inlet connections to all of the Canada C3 key themes: Diversity and Inclusion, Reconciliation, Youth Engagement, and the Environment. The Inlet’s history breathes these themes.

From those connections came a life-changing personal legacy for me. Inspired by the mixing and the deep sharing at a place I knew so well, I met with the publisher at the Royal British Columbia Museum and showed her the booklet of historic photos of Tod Inlet that I had prepared to share with C3. She expressed interest in a book based on my many years of research on Tod Inlet, the amazing seasons it has been through from when the people of the Tsartlip First Nation lived there to today when its tranquil beauty is enjoyed as a provincial park, and everything in between. I am happy to say that the book, Deep and Sheltered Waters: The History of Tod Inlet, is now on track for publication on the 6th of November!

Photo (c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation

More than that though, the personal impact of the C3 day at Tod Inlet will be with me for life.
Some of what was shared and has stayed with me:

Lisa (Diz) Glithero’s delight in watching Wendy Cardinal, an exceptional local middle school teacher engage her 54 grade 7-8 students and the diverse C3 Leg 15 participants from across Canada in discussions of the history of the Inlet, bridging First Nations and immigrant settlers’ perspectives;

Guests Paul Singh Johal and his grandson Nicholas, representing the Sikhs I have worked with for years and whose grandfather labored at the Tod Inlet cement factory in 1906, as his first Canadian job;

Photo (c) Beverley Hall

Three words that came to me without thinking on the new beach at Tod Inlet in this final sharing circle of the expedition — connections, community, and compassion;

The prayer said by Karen Tamminga-Paton, asked for by First Nations participant Racelle Kooy;

Photo (c) David Gray

The little bags of sage, a medicinal plant, Racelle passed out. I gave mine to my friend, Joanne, receptionist at the Tsartlip Band Office, who helped me understand… and passed away the next year;

Lillian Howard, Mowachaht First Nation participant from the west coast of Vancouver Island, gracious and grateful for the opportunity to share about culturally-modified trees;

Natan Obed offering his always wise words of encouragement to participants feeling the sadness, intensity and difficulties, including rejection, of our attempts at reconciliation;

The tears we shared as Diz remembered Geoff’s grandmother’s wisdom and encouragement to “Walk well…”;

Ahmed Saffar’s comments: “I found that recognizing this dark history, whether it was in immigration, discrimination, racism and or colonization, will help me as a new Canadian to understand the atrocities that certain groups of the society suffered, and also to help us as one country in avoiding making the same mistakes, through reconciliation. The Circle of Truth on the shores of Tod Inlet: in the open air… we discussed the effects of this amazing experience on every single one of us. We all agreed that one of the major benefits was this human connection between all of us, as well as between us and the amazing people we met,” and;

Roger Bull’s sharing: “We sat in a circle, as other C3 participants had done many times over the past 149 days. In turn, we did our best to distill in a few words what we had learned. Nerves often keep me silent in this type of group sharing session, especially that day when the circle included Natan Obed and Elizabeth May. But the word “compassion” came up to the surface. For me, this was the distillation: Canada C3 was an exercise in compassion on a national scale.”

Photo (c) Martin Lipman/SOI Foundation