Canada in 150 Hours
What would you do if your mission was to experience as much of Canada as possible in 150 hours to celebrate our country’s 150th birthday? TELUS producer, Andrew Millard, takes us on a coast-to-coast adventure to meet people who love where they live, give where they live and are proud to be Canadian.
Lesley-Anne Scorgie & Jen Thompson
The making of Canada in 150 hours
Late in the afternoon in March 2017, on a sunny Vancouver day, the TELUS Studios team huddled around fresh scones and tea as they considered the role TELUS could play in Canada’s 150th birthday. After zeroing in on what made each of the Studios team members excited to be Canadian and to be a member of the TELUS team, the idea for “Canada in 150 hours” was hatched by Producer, Andrew Millard.
Andrew’s initial thinking was to showcase as many iconic Canadians, Canadiana experiences and symbols from coast to coast in only 150 hours; hugely inspired by Terry Fox and his run from west to east across the country, but also equally inspired by some of Andrew’s favourite adventure-seeking YouTubers who use video to document their travels, gaming and bartering their way through airports, hikes, bikes, rides and even skiing.
Also inspiring the journey was our desire to find a way to capture how Canadians are giving back a #MillionHours to the places, people and causes that matter to them.
Putting pen to digital paper was the first step to making Canada in 150 hours; and it was also the team’s first major challenge. They realized they couldn’t do all of Canada by traversing west to east in 150 hours. Due to the time changes, flight schedules and a special visit to the Northwest Territories, they had to go the other direction, east to west, to fit it all in.
Andrew and his crew member, Greg Bartels, mapped out Canada in 150 hours starting at Mile 0 in Newfoundland and ending at Mile 0 in Victoria. They scheduled 26 events across 14 unique locations, from April 30 – May 6.
The communities that were flagged to be a part of the trip were selected based on which transportation choices were the most efficient, the areas with the most recognizable Canadian icons, landmarks and our social media partners who expressed an interest in being a part of this adventure and wanted to share it with their communities.
When the trip started, nothing went exactly according to plan. In Halifax, Nova Scotia, for example, the person who was supposed to meet Andrew and his crew wasn’t able to at the last minute. So the team hopped into a cab and said, “take us where the people are.” They were driven to the marina and beach where they met members of the Canadian Navy, local fishers and athletes.
In PEI, the team visited the docks where the first lobster boats would soon be heading out for the start of the lobster season. They were later driven across Confederation Bridge, the largest bridge in Canada, into New Brunswick.
After a taste of the Maritimes, the team flew to Montreal, Quebec and met up social media influencers, Na’eem Adam and Thierry Rassam at the Old Port. Most of their time spent there was eating Montreal’s increasingly diverse cuisine; well beyond poutine and steak frites.
Barely catching a wink of sleep, the team hopped on the 5 a.m. train to Ottawa, Ontario and arrived at Canada’s Parliament just in time to capture the Vimy Ridge Remembrance service and a team of fighter jets flying overhead our nation’s capital. Andrew and Greg were honoured to be a part of the salute to those who gave their lives for Canada’s freedom yesterday and today.
Later that day, the team flew to Toronto, Ontario where they met up with Casey Palmer, a popular dad blogger, for a helicopter tour over the CN Tower and across the city, and were then dropped off at Pearson Airport for their next flight to Winnipeg, Manitoba. Remarkably, this was the only flight in a total of 17 flights that was delayed!
The following morning, Andrew and Greg visited the Royal Canadian Mint and were one of very few production crews to ever get to see inside the Mint. A friendly security guard watched their every move and a Royal Canadian Mint representative showcased the commemorative Canada 150 toonie that’s now in circulation. The team also learned that the Canadian Mint is responsible for creating currency for more than 40 different countries.
The team zipped over to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan next where they met up with Ricky Forbes, influential Canadian adventurer and tornado chaser. Andrew jumped into the 13 degree Celsius water at Saskatchewan’s Industrial Pond #3, also known as The Rat Hole. After a few short and chilly attempts to get up and on his water skis, Andrew determined it was too darn cold to hold on to the tow rope, so he hopped onto shore and spent the rest of the day trying to warm up.
To aide in this, the team went to a local brewery where they experienced what ‘getting saskatooned’ meant; taking a drop shot with Saskatoon berries. You then thump your chest (a tradition with the local lacrosse team), and take the drink. Once you’ve been saskatooned you are an official Saskatooner.
Once in Calgary, Alberta, the team zipped out to Spruce Meadows, where TELUS has been an active partner for decades, for good-old-fashioned trail riding. Max, the lead cowboy, spent the afternoon telling tales of cowboy adventures, roping, calving and camping.
Before jetting to Yellowknife, Andrew was able to place a loonie on the ice at Hockey Canada from the Mint.
Yellowknife was the most memorable experience for Andrew and the crew. Once they landed, they drove to Dettah where they took an all-night skidoo trip across the lake with local resident, Bobby Drygeese. Bobby introduced the crew to his camp and that’s where something magical happened… the team turned off all their cameras for 15 minutes and just observed the beauty of the North.
They watched the sun rise at 3 a.m. on a frozen lake in the middle of one of the furthest north points in Canada.
From the North, the team flew through Edmonton, Alberta to Vancouver, B.C.. They hopped on a bumpy float plane ride to Gibsons, B.C. for a quick trip through the Gibsons Public market and then on to Tofino, B.C.. That’s where the crew met up with Allan from the Pacific Surf Company. This small company is known for giving where they live; and local children are often the beneficiaries of their generosity.
From Tofino, the crew flew to their final destination in Victoria, B.C. where the team visited Mel Cooper, Chair of the TELUS Victoria Community Board, at Janeece Place, a home away from home for families with children receiving intensive medical care on Vancouver Island. The team concluded their trip with Andrew running alongside Simon Whitfield, one of Canada’s Olympic triathletes, and at exactly noon – 150 hours from the start of the trek – Andrew shook hands with Simon at mile 0 in Victoria.
Andrew and Greg were reminded of a few things along their intense route: Canadians live in an amazingly beautiful, rugged and diverse place that deserves celebrating; Canada is a vast country and our transportation and technological systems really do connect us; and, Canadians are committed to their communities and their fellow Canadians, giving back in so many unique and remarkable ways.
Celebrate Canada’s 150th with us, and help us reach one million hours of giving. How will you give back an hour?
Canada in 150 Hours Itinerary
If you’ve ever wanted to take an epic tour across Canada, here’s how our producer, Andrew Millard did it in 150 hours.
DAY 1 — 5 a.m. start
St. John’s, Newfoundland
- Mile 0
- Cape Spear
- Signal Hill
- Screech-in (become an official Newfoundlander at a local pub)
Halifax, Nova Scotia
- Halifax Harbour
- Fish and chips
- Citadel Hill
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
- Cavendish Beach
- Green Gables Heritage Place
- North Rustico Fishing Village
- Fresh Lobster lunch at the Water Prince
Moncton, New Brunswick
- Drive across the Confederation Bridge
- Old Montreal & the Old Port Montreal Tour
- La Banquise
- The Coldroom
- VIA Rail from Montreal to Ottawa
- Parliament Hill
- Eternal Flame
- Beaver Tail from the market
- Helicopter tour over Toronto
- CN Tower
- Ripley’s Aquarium
- Rogers Centre (Blue Jays) and/or Air Canada Centre (Maple Leafs)
- The Royal Canadian Mint
- Wanuskewin First Nations Cultural Experience Nature Walk and Dance Ceremony
- The Rat Hole waterski club
- Get Saskatoon’d (a Saskatoon berry shot at any local pub or Travel Saskatchewan)
- Horse jumping at Spruce Meadows
- Trail horse ride at the Homeplace Ranch
- Hockey Canada
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
- Northern Lights
- First Nations Cultural Experience – Drum Ceremony
Vancouver, British Columbia
- Skytrain ride from Vancouver Airport to Downtown Vancouver
- Seaplane tour of Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains
Gibsons, British Columbia
- Seaplane to Gibsons
- Gibson’s Public Market
- Walking tour of the town of Gibsons
Tofino, British Columbia
- Seaplane to Tofino
DAY 7 — finish at 12 p.m.
Victoria, British Columbia
- Seaplane to Victoria
- Walk the Victoria Inner Harbour
- Visit Mile 0
That’s a wrap!