Retired judge to join Canada 150 Northwest Passage expedition

Canada C3 in Toronto Harbour . Photo submitted.

Retired BC Provincial Court judge Tom Smith has been invited to participate in an icebreaker sailing expedition celebrating Canada’s 150th and will get to return to an area he was stationed as a young RCMP officer in the 1960s.

Canada C3 is a 150-day expedition from Toronto to Victoria through the Northwest Passage with remarkable Canadians being invited including scientists, artists, Indigenous Elders, historians, community leaders, youth, journalists and educators.

“It started on June 1 on an icebreaker that used to be a Coast Guard ship,” Smith said. “It goes through the St. Lawrence, Newfoundland and PEI and the other maritime provinces, then up the Eastern coast and through the Northwest Passage and on the 150th day, Oct. 28, it is supposed to get to Victoria.”

Smith will participate on leg nine of the 15-leg journey, which will be from Pond Inlet, north of Baffin Island to Cambridge Bay.

“I used to be stationed on Ellesmere Island, which is north of where we are going, for three years,” Smith said. “I’ve been to Devon Island with my dog team a few times, but I never made it south to Dundas Harbour where there was an old RCMP detachment that opened in 1924. It’s been abandoned for many, many years and is pretty derelict now, but it’s a place I always wanted to go and just never got there so I will be able to go there on the expedition.”

The Students on Ice Foundation, an organization established in 2000 to provide educational youth expeditions to the Polar regions that applied to the federal government for a grant and got commercial sponsorship as well to organize the expedition.

Smith will fly to Pond Inlet in the middle of August from Toronto to board the ship on Aug. 16 and will fly off it to Edmonton on Aug. 26.

He has been on an icebreaker before he said.

“When I went to Alexandria Fiord on Ellesmere Island in 1962 I went there by icebreaker,” he recalled. “It took days to get through Smith Sound because of the ice and now I spoke to someone who had been up there on a cruise ship.”

To follow the expedition go to and view an interactive map, photographs and live feed video.

Honouring the past and looking towards the future, Canada C3 is exploring the four key themes of Canada 150: diversity and inclusion, reconciliation, youth engagement and the environment, the website notes.

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