About

One hundred and fifty years sounds a lot easier to grasp than it is. It’s both as old as forever and younger than the average tree on the Pacific coast. And when we’re talking about an entire country, it’s not that simple. It’s multiplied among the millions of people living here, the generations that shaped us, the tides and mountains that hold us together.

— An article we published on Medium, Following the Raven

The Story

We are a duo of 20-somethings committed to collaborative work. We started planning this project in 2014, knowing that Canada’s sesquicentennial would be an important moment both for us and the country.

Based on our experiences in history, politics and community organizing, we knew we could expect a powerful mainstream narrative in 2017 celebrating Canada’s confederation and the past 150 years—a narrative that would leave out marginalized voices and experiences. With that in mind, we decided that we would spend the year documenting and amplifying those other voices as best we could.

This land holds stories that reach beyond centuries of colonization to the original inhabitants of this continent; stories that touch several generations of immigration and industry and flow through countless seasons of ecological change and resilience. These marginalized stories define our past, shape our present and form the foundation for our future.

— Our Kickstarter campaign

We identified key themes that have shaped and continue to shape Canada—topics such as colonization, food security, democracy, and started doing research and establishing connections to be able to follow those themes across the Canadian landscape. As much as we could, we sought to root ourselves in what we called the ‘enduring wayside;’ the townships, reserves, routes and ecosystems that act as repositories of memory and trauma — those that are often spoken for but rarely listened to. We committed ourselves to travelling by bicycle, and developing an online real-time map as well as a feature-length documentary.

From the start, we hoped that our ability to document these layers of Canada’s national identity would inspire and challenge our fellow citizens to think critically about their contribution to what we collectively become in the next fifty years.

The Route

Our journey begins in St. John’s on the coast of the Atlantic, the easternmost point in Canada. From there we cross the highlands of Newfoundland and Cape Breton and wind through the Maritimes to the Gaspé Peninsula. We follow the St. Lawrence River to our nation’s capital before heading northwest across Ontario and Manitoba. Throughout central Canada we are on the Yellowhead Highway, until we depart from Edmonton towards northern British Columbia and the Yukon. In the remote wilderness of the Yukon we embark on the rugged Dempster Highway to reach Inuvik and the Arctic coast before returning south. Once we reach the port of Prince Rupert in British Columbia, we take a ferry to Haida Gwaii and Vancouver Island, ending our journey in Victoria on the Pacific coast.

We will cover roughly 15,000 km in the span six months, traversing coasts, mountains and Arctic tundra—and everything in between. There will be wind and rain and sunrises. Above all else, there will be an extraordinary adventure.

While we’re camping we will be adhering to Leave No Trace Principles of outdoor ethics in order to minimize our impact on the environment. We’ll also be staying at people’s houses; let us know if you’re interested in hosting us along the way.

The Team

We are Asad and Jonathon, a pair of young photographers and community-minded digital natives. More details about us are on our team page.

The Gear

Our documentation is perhaps even more ambitious than our route. Throughout this project, we seek to act as both athletes and filmmakers, as well as photographers, designers, web developers, logistics coordinators, and so on. It goes without saying that in order to make this project a reality, we needed to find the right gear. Plus food.

We ran a crowdfunding campaign to gain a foundation of committed supporters. We wrote grant applications and sponsorship proposals, and connected with respected partners with whom we were eager to collaborate. The result is a carefully developed inventory that will help us share our stories and stay safe on the road.

  • Cycling

    • Custom-built Vanhawks Valour bicycles
    • Schwalbe Marathon Plus and CX Pro tires
    • Arkel GT-18 and GT-54 panniers
    • Old Man Mountain front and rear racks
    • Brookes B17 saddles
    • tex—lock locks
    • GORE Element+ shorts
    • GORE Oxygen Windstopper and Element jerseys
    • GORE Oxygen 2.0 and Arc’teryx Procline Comp shell jackets
    • Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer and Eddie Bauer First Ascent down jackets
    • Outdoor Research Foray and Rampart rain pants
    • Pearl Izumi X-Alp Seek V and Bontrager Solstice shoes
    • Shimano PD-A530 pedals
    • Scott and Giro helmets
    • Efficient Velo and Bike Peddler mirrors
    • Suncloud Conductor sunglasses
    • Evo Attack Comp and Specialized gloves
    • Platypus Big Zip LP and Hoser hydration systems
    • CamelBak Big Chill water bottles
    • Chamois Butt’R cream
  • Documenting

    • Canon 6D and 5D Mark III cameras
    • Sigma 35mm and 50mm f/1.4 Art lenses
    • Canon 14mm f/2.8 II lens
    • DJI Mavic Pro drone
    • GoPro Hero 4 and Hero 3+ action cameras
    • Pilotfly H2 gimbal
    • RØDE VideoMicro microphone
    • Sennheiser G3 wireless lav microphones
    • Zoom H2n audio recorder
    • Macbook Pro laptop
    • Lacie Rugged 1TB external hard drives
    • iPhone SE cellphone/Lifeproof case
    • Voltaic Systems Arc 20W solar panels and V72 Universal Laptop batteries
  • Camping

    • Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL3 tent and footprint
    • Therm-a-Rest Antares HD and The North Face Gold Kazoo sleeping bags
    • Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm MAX and Prolite Plus sleeping pads
    • Patagonia and MEC long-sleeve shirts
    • Icebreaker, Craft and MEC leggings
    • Icebreaker, Darn Tough and Smith Army Surplus socks
    • PackTowl towels
    • Frontiersman bear spray
    • St. John Ambulance first aid kit
  • Eating

    • MSR WhisperLite International stove
    • MSR Trail Lite Duo System cookset
    • Ursack S29.3 AllWhite food container
    • ClO2 water treatment
    • CLIF Bars and CLIF Builder’s Protein Bars
    • Skratch Exercise Hydration Mix and Endurance Recovery Mix