There’s nothing like a summer road trip in Canada and for those who have the time, getting across the country is a goal many would like to accomplish. Over the Rockies, through the prairies, around the Great Lakes, and reaching for the Atlantic coast. One family made the journey last year and they even had a theme: visit the hometowns of every Canadian player who ever played for the Vancouver Canucks.
Being big hockey fans, Kurc, his wife, and his son Carson, researched that there had been 379 Canadian players that have appeared on the Canucks roster in the club’s 40-year history. This became their road trip theme.
Blogging about their journey on 379canucks.ca, Carson — who is interested in a career in photography — documented their journey to 178 different hometowns (they didn’t reach number 179 in the Northwest Territories). After 37 days, 16,000 km, and 1,634 digital shots, Carson’s photos were posted on his website, myrighteye.ca.
“So we worked our way onwards, north to destinations on the east coast, with one very special spot off in mind – Shippagan. That’s the home town of Luc Bourdon. Since the first stages of planning this adventure, we knew that we absolutely had to make a trip to Luc’s home town, and maybe connect with someone there – his mom if it worked out, or friends. But all along on this journey we’ve wanted to let things happen naturally, and see what that inspired in us and the people we would eventually meet, and Shippagan had a few surprises in store for us….
…Last night the weather in Moncton was pretty iffy, but we awoke this morning to warm, welcoming skies. The trip was north was super, great temperature and sunny all along the way. When we did find the cemetery, it was quite serene, full of flowers on many of the memorial stones. We took some time at Luc’s grave site, reflecting on what a promising young player he was and what a tragic loss this was for everyone – fans, team mates and – of course – family.” [379Canucks Journal, New Brunswick]
“The deal was, we’d use the trip to get to the places where [Carson’s] idols originated, then see what there speaks to him, inspires him to take the photo,” Kurc told me. “He’s always had a keen eye for photography.”
Carson was born with Down Syndrome. “This has never stopped him from expressing himself in some very meaningful ways. We as parents have just opened the doors over the last 23 years. The rest, we’ve told him, has been up to him.”
Kurc had sent me a note about all of this and I came across it last night as I parsed through the emails received through my site. It was far more than an event listing and within a minute of reading it through, I felt inspired in so many different ways. His family’s fantastic journey across Canada, completing an ultimate hockey pilgrimage, was about more than hockey.
“This is also a venture for a bit of insight into what the human spirit is truly capable of creating, that everyone has a gift to share with the world,” Kurc wrote. “And that as parents, we feel we need to draw attention to this fact and provide a greater vision — that intellectually challenged individuals can contribute in unique and meaningful ways.”
Carson’s photos are currently on display at the Corner Cup coffee shop on West 4th and Blenheim in Kitsilano. There will be a reception on Friday, May 25, 2012 at 7:00pm if you would like to stop by. He’ll have another photography exhibit in June at the Good Day Sunshine Cafe in White Rock.
With 4 teams left in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, according to Kurc there are still a lot of Canadians to cheer for. He’s calculated that 14 of 26 players on the Kings are Canadian, the Coyotes have 19 Canadians out of 27, the Rangers have 10 of 27 and the Devils 8 of 26. “Still, it means 51 of 106 — and that’s still more than an other country — so I guess hockey IS a Canadian game!”
So what’s next for the family? They are wrestling with the idea of finishing the trip this summer as they didn’t get to Newfoundland. Kurc says that even after traveling such a distance, by the second day they were home they already missed the experience.
“I think everyone that calls Canada home really needs to set out on just such a trek – see the far, small corners of this country – meet the people, experience the nature of what makes us Canadian. And, yes, hockey is a big part of that package.”