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“There might not be any icebergs to photograph in twenty years. I needed to document this landscape before it disappears.”
Dianne Whelan, Creator, in Open Book Toronto
In March 2007, filmmaker Dianne Whelan embarked on an expedition into one of the severest climates on the planet, embedded with a Canadian army patrol. Not since 1947 had the Canadian army done such a wide survey of its northern arctic landscape. The crew consisted of seven Canadian and Inuit Rangers—all men except for Whelan—and covered over 2,000 kilometers. Temperatures reached -50° C and daylight lasted up to 22 hours. It is “a horizontal Everest,” says Whelan in her narration to This Land, which features dozens of photographs, videos from her snowmobile, and a detailed personal account of the trip. Whelan’s narrative is comic, serious, and reflective as she recounts the life-threatening weather, the helpless thrill of national pride, and what it means to be the first woman to have taken this journey.
Each day of the journey—16 in total—gets its own short chapter. A map tracks the vital statistics: distance, hours of daylight, lowest temperature. The user can jump freely around the chapters. Some chapters feature many pictures and videos to explore while others, due to the harshness of the weather, have no visual assets.