Past Research Project

Science on an Icebreaker

May 31 – October 28, 2017

This 150-day journey on a ship around Canada's three coastlines celebrates the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

Intending to inspire a deeper understanding of our land, our peoples and our country, the project brings together participants from all walks of life and touches every community along the way.

Experts from the Canadian Museum of Nature are taking turns on board, primarily to conduct scientific work.

The Journey at a Glance

  • 150 days
  • icebreaker: Polar Prince
  • Toronto, Ontario – Victoria, British Columbia
  • via the Northwest Passage
  • over 12 000 nautical miles (22 200 kilometres at sea)
  • 15 legs, 7–12 days each
  • 13 participants from Canadian Museum of Nature
  • 22 scientific studies
  • Canada C3 website.

Science Stories from the Ship

Read a selection of articles from project-participant blogs about our on-board research.

Meg Beckel.

The Hakai Institute – Think Globally, Act Locally
by Meg Beckel
Canadian Museum of Nature

Jeff Saarela looks over the landscape.

Arctic Biodiversity
by Jeff Saarela
Canadian Museum of Nature

Yemisi Dare stands on shore.

Yemisi Dare – My First Experience in the North
by Yemisi Dare
Canadian Museum of Nature

Graham and two other men on board.

Leg 8: Light, Birds and Nature's Wonders
by Mark Graham
Canadian Museum of Nature

Two people.

André Martel’s Experience On-Board Leg 2
by André Martel
Canadian Museum of Nature

A herbarium sheet of a giant Irish moss (Chondrus crispus) specimen. Collection #CANA7931.

The Curious Case of the Haploid Giant Irish Moss
by Ben Sutherland
University of British Columbia

A man pours water into a container held by another man.

What Are the Canada C3 Expedition Scientists Doing?
by Mike Wong
International Union for the Conservation of Nature

A woman pours water into a container held by another woman.

The Canada C3 Science Perspective—June 2
by Ailsa Barry
Canadian Museum of Nature

Several people watch as two people release eels over the side of the boat from a net.

The Canada C3 Science Perspective—June 3
by Ailsa Barry
Canadian Museum of Nature

Science on Board

On-the-spot videos introduce the Canadian Museum of Nature experts on the C3 journey and show their research.

360° Videos

Immerse yourself in the scene: use your mouse to look around inside live-to-tape VR videos of conversations and scenery from the trip.

At the Museum

Visit the museum to follow the expedition. The Canadian Museum of Nature is one of several museums that are serving as a Canada C3 hub.

The Science

The 22 scientific studies being conducted on board fit into these thematic areas: coastal biodiversity, water quality and invasive species.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is lending some scientific expertise to the Canada C3 project: 12 science experts from the museum will be working on board, while another will remain at our research and collections facility to manage incoming specimens.

© Students on Ice Foundation


Three science experts from the museum are each the principal investigator of a research project:

And on seven of the legs, our vice-president of research and collections, Mark Graham, is serving as chief scientist. Q&A with Mark Graham: the excitement and challenges of science on Canada C3.

Jo-Ann Wilkins © Canada C3


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Paula Piilonen, a research scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Itinerary and Museum Participants

Leg 1: May 31 – June 10
Toronto, Ontario – Montréal, Quebec

  • Ailsa Barry

Leg 2: June 11–20
Montréal, Quebec – Baie Comeau, Quebec

  • André Martel

Leg 3: June 21–30
Baie Comeau, Quebec – Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

  • Paula Piilonen

Leg 4: July 1–11
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island – St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Jennifer Doubt

Leg 5: July 12–22
St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador – Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador

  • Ed Hendryks
  • Mark Graham

Leg 6: July 23–29
Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador – Iqaluit, Nunavut

  • Mark Graham

Leg 7: July 30 – August 5
Iqaluit, Nunavut – Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut

  • Mark Graham
  • Noel Alfonso

Leg 8: August 6–13
Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut – Pond Inlet, Nunavut

  • Mark Graham
  • Yemisi Dare

Leg 9: August 14–26
Pond Inlet, Nunavut – Cambridge Bay, Nunavut

  • Mark Graham
  • Paul Hamilton

Leg 10: August 27 – September 2
Cambridge Bay, Nunavut – Kugluktuk, Nunavut

  • Jeff Saarela
  • Mark Graham

Leg 11: September 2–9
Kugluktuk, Nunavut – Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories

  • Mark Graham
  • Paul Sokoloff

Leg 12: September 10–29
Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories – Prince Rupert, British Columbia

Leg 13: September 30 – October 9
Prince Rupert, British Columbia – Bella Bella, British Columbia

Leg 14: October 10–19
Bella Bella, British Columbia – Campbell River, British Columbia

  • Meg Beckel

Leg 15: October 20–28
Campbell River, British Columbia – Victoria, British Columbia