Summerside Olympian Heather Moyse, during a stop in an Inuit community on Baffin Island. Moyse participated last week in the Canada C3 expedition, which is voyaging from coast-to coast-to coast to celebrate Canada 150.
It is one thing to visit a place, see it through fresh eyes and appreciate its wonder and beauty.
It is something else to be welcomed into that place and made to feel at home – which is an experience two-time Olympic gold medalist Heather Moyse, got last week during a Canada 150 voyage through northern Nunavut.
“(It was) an extremely profound experience for me in all regards,” the Summerside native said.
She flew back to Toronto from the territory on Monday.
Moyse was invited earlier this year to take part in the Canada C3 project, which is an initiative by the Students on Ice Foundation. It is a 150-day sailing journey from Toronto, to Victoria, B.C., via the Northwest Passage.
The project invited athletes, artists, scientists, students, Indigenous elders and other community leaders to travel on various legs of the journey, which is being undertaken on a former Coast Guard icebreaker.
The vessel stops in many communities along the way and interacts with the people in the communities.
Moyse was on the eighth leg of the expedition, from Qukiqtarjuaq to Pond Inlet on Baffin Island. She visited two Inuit communities during her time on the vessel, Clyde River and Pond Inlet.
They saw towering icebergs, cavernous fjords, and all kinds of wildlife, though (much to Moyse’s disappointed) only one polar bear far off in the distance.
They also got to meet with local residents, which Moyse said was a powerful experience.
She especially enjoyed talking with local kids. She told them about growing up in a small place like P.E.I. and that even though they’re from a remote community they can achieve great things. They showed her around their communities, taught her how to play their games and told her about their lives.
But even though visiting those places and seeing the artic scenery was magnificent, it was the conversations Moyse had with her shipmates that has probably had the greatest impact on her and will stay with her the longest, she said.
There was a diverse group with her leg of the expedition and they talked a lot about Canada’s less than sterling history Indigenous peoples.
“We had a lot of really difficult conversations,” she said.
“What I’m going to take away is the different perspectives I was exposed to. The perspectives of those Inuit communities and the sharing we had from various people on the ship… perspectives I was not aware of prior to going on the ship.
“I’m certainly going to be walking away with leaps and bounds of personal growth but also knowing that there is a lot more to learn and a lot more to do.”
To learn more about Canada C3 or to follow the ship’s journey through the arctic, visit its website at www.canadac3.ca.