Map: The National Parks of Canada and Terrestrial Ecozones, with Torngat Mountains National Park specially identified.
An arrow points to Torngat National Park of Canada, in Labrador. National parks are shown in red. Image: © Parks Canada/Government of Canada

Most people in Canada live in a city; in fact, Canada is one of the most urban countries in the world. In a place like this, we take accessibility for granted—especially the kind of accessibility that requires a car. There are roads all over. So it feels a little strange when you decide to go somewhere that does not have a road going to it. Strange because if you aren’t the boat or plane driver, you are depending on others to come and go. And strange in that special, rare, exotic experience sense. If you find your way to these places, you are among the few lucky enough to see what it’s all about.

Detail from the map "The National Parks of Canada and Terrestrial Ecozones", with Torngat Mountains National Park specially identified.
The national parks of Canada and terrestrial ecozones. Image: © Parks Canada/Government of Canada

On August 3, 2011, Meg Beckel (President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature) and I will join the entourage of Students on Ice (SOI) in one of those hard-to-reach places. We will meet the SOI ship as it comes to shore on a remote location in Labrador. We’ll be on Inuit land in a place called the Kangidluasuk Base Camp, at the southern end of Torngat Mountains National Park, the most recent arrival to Canada’s national park system. The base camp is a combination research station and learning centre for Inuit youth and others, and it is an active collaboration between Parks Canada and the Nunatsiavut Government.

We will arrive from Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, by Twin Otter. This utility aircraft is often called the work-horse of the North for its ability to haul cargo and people in and out of the most amazing locations.

We’ll be immersed in a day of excitement as the students relate their ocean adventures from Iceland and Greenland, and as we learn about the environment and traditional knowledge of coastal Labrador.

The Canadian Museum of Nature regularly adds to the Students on Ice experience by providing science experts. Last winter, Dr. Natalia Rybczynski, a vertebrate palaeontologist, was on the Antarctic cruise, and this year, Dr. Julian Starr, a botanist, makes a return appearance in the Arctic. (Watch a video of Julian during his trip with SOI in 2009).