September 30

The Pulling Together Canoe Society (PTCS) Board members Linda Blake, Howard Tran, Emanuela Sheena, Rob Longley, Rod Tulett, Verna Kate Smith, Derek James, Gordon Stokes, Tyler Urquhart, Nicole Braithwaite, Nate Frank-Piché, support Orange Shirt Day September 30 as a day set apart for all of us to pause & acknowledge the tremendous harms suffered by Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island at the hands of settlers. We also recognize that the harms continue today & the traumas of the past still haunt survivors & their families.

We want to acknowledge each other as worthy humans, to learn, understand and move forward together in a good way. We thank you for participating in our Canoe Journeys over the past 20 years and hope to see you on the waters again soon. There is still much work to be done.

We agreed to make a donation on behalf of all PTCS members to The Indian Residential School Survivors Society. We have also listed some local Lower Mainland events on September 30, where many of your Board Members will be participating.

Local events:
-9:30 am West Vancouver Ambleside at the Welcome Totem Pole
-9:00 am Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre 9:45 Walk to Grandview Park
-2:15 pm North Vancouver RCMP Station walk to St Thomas Aquinas School

Our canoes, our waters, our people Pulling Together to heal and move forward together in a good way. Not just today, but everyday.

Your Pulling Together Canoe Society Board members.

PTCJ Virtual Journey 2021 opening and closing ceremonies. Postponed. Please see letter from Planning Committee.

Dear Canoe Families,
I am writing on behalf of the Pulling Together Planning Committee which currently consists of 3 Secwepemc communities: Splatsin, Simpcw and Tk’emlúps.
Due to the air quality caused by the smoke from fires in surrounding areas, we feel that it is not safe for us to be on the water. Unfortunately this means that we will be postponing the virtual journey planned for this weekend July 16-19 to a later date in September.
However, if you were planning to go out on the water this weekend and are still able to do so safely, we encourage you to do so.
Thank you for your continued patience as we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic and current forest fire season. Once new dates for the virtual journey have been chosen we will send out another notice.
Yours in Friendship,
Rachael Bowser
On behalf of the Pulling Together Planning Committee

Pulling Together Canoe Journey 2021 Virtual version

Canoe Family Registration has been emailed to all previous canoe families that have participated in previous journeys. With a application due date of July 10th 2021. A Nominal fee for Canoe Families has been requested. Any questions on participation on this years journey, please email

Although this will be a different journey than normal we do hope to bring together those that can with your own canoe families in your communities and the virtually with all of Pulling Together for the opening CP and closing events being held on Zoom.

Paddles up.

January 27, 2021- Announcement by Planning Committee

Dear Canoe Families,

At the last Pulling Together Journey planning meeting, the committee discussed the fact that we may not be able to host the journey like we normally do. All of the host communities and journey partners are still operating under some form of Covid-19 restriction with no indication of when these will be lifted. There is also no indication if a vaccine will be widely distributed as there seems to be an ongoing shortage issue. However, we still believe that we should do our best to plan something for the 2021 journey. We feel it is important that we do our best to take time to get out on the water together.

At this time, we are planning to host a virtual journey July 16-19 with an agenda as follows:

• July 16 – Opening Ceremony on Zoom for host communities and canoe families can offer up songs and prayers

• July 17 – Water Ceremony where we all go to the water in our respective areas to offer up songs and prayers before going out on the water

• July 18 – Day 2 on the water

• July 19 – Closing Ceremony on Zoom for host communities and canoe families to share videos and photos from their time on the water

We understand the time, effort, and planning it takes to attend a journey. The planning committee would like to express our gratitude for your patience as we do our best to plan a journey that will keep everyone safe and healthy.

In friendship,

The Planning Committee

Every Child Matters.

As members of the PTC family the PTCS board members, wish to say,

Linda Blake

Howard Tran

Verna Kate Smith

Emanuela Sheena

Gordon Stokes

Derek James

Tyler Urquhart

Robert Longley

Rod Tulett

Nicole Braithwaite

Words can not express the emotions felt by all of us, over the news coming from the Tk’emlups and Secwepemc First Nations. We also recognize that this tragedy will have a significant impact for so many canoe families and the numerous First Nations communities that Pulling Together has been welcomed into, over the past 20 years. It is not clear how we can help in the coming days weeks and years, but as of today the PT board members want to assist in an appropriate and helpful way.

We have seen a variety of helpful posts for resources and we will post in our Official Facebook group.

The PTCJ 2021 is hosted by the Secwepemc First Nations and we are and will continue to be in contact with them over next weeks and will advise of any impact this may have on this years Virtual Journey. At this time the PTCJ 2021 (Virtual) with individual canoe families finding ways to participate safely is expected to be hosted and implemented by Secwepemc FN. We ask for patience over next month, so they can have time and space to take care of themselves and their loved ones.

PTCJ 2019 in the history books and **upcoming August 3rd 2019- Welcome “The Maiden” PTCS special event.

Tla’amin First Nation, how can we thank you for your incredible communities warmth and hospitality. From the most incredible view for our tent city, to the meals made with love, to the warm houses opened to us, the Pulling Together Canoe families were blessed and cared for. We thank all the planning committee members, Drew Blaney and his helpers, Constable Chis Bakker from Powell River RCMP (Indigenous Police Services), PTCS board members, Emanuela Sheena, VPD Constable Gord Stokes, West Vancouver PD Constable Jeff Wood, and “Navy Rob” PO1 Longley ( Naval Reserve- HMCS Discovery). The kitchen staff, janitorial and other community helpers were our unsung hero’s, as this was one location, one community that supported our 300 participants for 10 days.

We had some firsts for 2019, Royal Canadian Navy has a Canoe! A wonderful blessing for their crew and awakening for its first year.

Our PTCS trailer has decals, featuring some past journeys, including a photo of Lester Picker, an award winning photographer with publications that include National Geographic, Time, Forbes, and awarded Best Travel Photographer in 2011. thanks Lester for this incredible photograph from our PTCJ 2011 in the Okanagan.

Vancouver Police Museum and Heart of the City Festival representatives were on journey, to connect and begin archiving the stories of Pulling Together Canoe Journeys, to be featured in 2020 celebrating our 20th year of Pulling Together Canoe Journeys, at the festival (Oct 2019) and in the Vancouver Police Museum (TBD 2020).

Along with our long time Corporate sponsor CN Rail, the PTCS also have been supported this year by the generous support of Seaspan and Stantec.

The PTCS thanks our corporate partners, for their support, but also appreciate their employees for “pulling in our canoes”.

We also had a PTCS communications specialist team, Kelly Sinoski and Chris Keam, from Archer Media Services. The work of Kelly resulted in numerous print, radio and news articles throughout BC about our journey, featuring many of our Canoe families.

New Articles

Williams Lake:

Vancouver Sun:

Maple Ridge News:

Pulling Together Canoe Families, welcome “The Maiden” Sailboat August 3rd, 2019.

Aug 3rd, 2019. Lonsdale, St Roch Pier, North Vancouver, Pulling Together Canoe families, including Vancouver Police Department, West Vancouver Police Department, Squamish Canoe Family, Royal Canadian Navy, Collingwood Neighbourhood House and possibly a couple more canoes will escort a special sailboat “The Maiden” into Vancouver. A welcoming protocol and lunch will be a part of the event. Canoes will launch from HMCS Discovery at 1200 Stanley Park at 1000 hours. Canoes and pullers are required to arrive for 0800 hours at Discovery, PTCS representative will be at the gate to assist in entry * please bring ID. Canoes should be returning to HMSC Discovery at approx 1530 hours (3 30 pm).

The Maiden Factor Story
The legend of Maiden begins with a Tracy Edwards, a 23-year old school drop-out with a dream; a dream to skipper the first all-female crew in the world’s toughest ocean challenge, the Whitbread Round the World Race.
It was the vision, values and courage of one man, HM King Hussein I or Jordan who brought in a sponsor and made the story of Maiden possible.
At 1100hrs on 2nd September 1989 Maiden squared up on the start line of the Whitbread and as the gun shot resounded around the Solent, she set off amongst the 22-strong fleet and sailed into the history books. A gruelling 9 months lay ahead and it soon became clear that Maiden was going to be a force to be reckoned with and the team to beat.

They won two of the hardest legs and came second overall in their class; the best result for a British boat since 1977 and unbeaten to this day.

Fast forward to 2019….

With the generous support of HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, King Hussein’s daughter, in April 2017 Maiden was shipped to Southampton and began an extensive refit and The Maiden Factor project was born.
Maiden inspired a generation and how she has a new mission; to raise awareness and funding for charities running programmes that will enable girls to get an education. 130 million girls around the world are currently denied an education; studies show that given 12 years of education and girls can change their futures, their communities and the world. Maiden will leave from the Southampton Boat Show in September on her three-year world tour, once again ‘making waves’.