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Gathering of Canoes kicks off Canada 150+ signature events

July 14 2017 Historic first landing in Vancouver

People paddling a canoe during the Gathering of Canoes Festival

For the first time since the inception of the Pulling Together Canoe Journey, a group of paddlers landed in Vancouver today as part of the first signature event of the City of Vancouver's Canada 150+ programming.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson joined 350 other paddlers in 30 canoes who traveled from Ambleside in West Vancouver to the shore at Vanier Park. The group was divided into clans and followed a strict protocol to request permission to land from each one of Vancouver's Host Nations:

  • Chief Wayne Sparrow (Musqueam)
  • Chief Ian Campbell (Squamish)
  • Chief Maureen Thomas (Tsleil-Waututh)

Pulling Together Canoe Society

The 10-day, 70 kilometer journey began July 5 in Sechelt. The journey is an annual one that is organized by the Pulling Together Canoe Society , a volunteer-run organization. The Society evolved out of the 1997 Vision Quest Canoe Journey that brought together RCMP officers and First Nations peoples to journey down BC's West Coast. Today's event marked the first time the Pulling Together Canoe Society has landed in Vancouver.

Held annually, the Pulling Together Canoe Journey travels different waterways each year and cooperates with different BC First Nations in an active practice of truth and reconciliation

About Canada 150+

Vancouver Commemorates Canada150+  is a year-long celebration of Indigenous and diverse arts and culture. Canada 150+ has three signature events:

  • Gathering of Canoes (July 14)
  • The Drum is Calling Festival (July 22-30)
  • Walk for Reconciliation (September 24)

There are also multiple other associated projects taking place throughout 2017.