1

First person to paraglide across Canada.

Photo: After a lifetime of dreaming of, and taking baby steps towards my ultimate dream, in 2009 I proudly became the first person to fly across Canada under a paraglider and set a new world distance record in the process. Numbers aside, the most significant thing about this project was the incredible beauty I found while slowly floating, day after day, across the amazing landscape.

2

Bug kill.

Photo: British Columbia's infamous Mountain Pine Beetle transforms forests one tree at a time. Warmer winters, paired with monoculture pine stands, have created an ideal habitat for the little bugs to do their thing. Despite the obvious social and environmental misfortune, the array of colours brought back nostalgic memories of the Ontario autumn season. 2008-07-29-above-to_lac_des_roches-5d-0483-large.jpg Flying low over Long Island Lake north of Kamloops, BC. The island, I later realized was in the exact same shape of the logo I used for the Above + Beyond Canada project.

3

Flying low over Long Island Lake north of Kamloops, BC.

Photo: The island, I later realized was in the exact same shape of the logo I used for the Above + Beyond Canada project.

4

Doing lines.

Photo: A Creston, BC farmer collects alfalfa before the evening dew sets in. The gift of flight reminds me that there is always multiple perspectives to any given situation.

5

Moving mountains.

Photo: Mining trucks, the size of houses, make their way up and down a mountain of coal just outside of Sparwood, BC. Almost unfathomable in scale, flying above scenes such as this one allows the massive impact of "development" is having on our beautiful landscape to sink in.

6

Rotation.

Photo: Farmers sew, irrigate and harvest fields in succession to make the most out of the short Alberta growing season. These sorts of things become apparent while meditatively hovering over the earth at 40 km/hr for hours at a time.

7

Alien ponds.

Photo: Algae forms in a vibrant display, across millions of slews, dotting Saskachwewan's mineral rich landscape. Soaring over Saskatchewan felt like dancing with a ghost. Never knowing what to expect then, I sit here going through photos still unable to describe what I saw.

8

Nature in scale.

Photo: Box cars carry grain out of Canada's prairie bread basket as far the eye can see. Just floating there, it was impossible for me to comprehend the amount of land, water, people and time required to produce such an incredible amount of food.

9

Salt.

Photo: A culvert and dirt road transform the salty Reed Lake into a spectacle of modern art. As I approached the lake, a massive wave of thermic energy released upwards into the sky sending me from a comfortable 200 m, to more than 2000 m above the earth's service. It wasn't until I'd reached this insane height that the majestic beauty of this lake became apparent.

10

Friends reunited.

Photo: A Canadian Prairie Farmer organizes 28 'parts-cars' together in a wheat field. Generally intimidated by the complexity of cars, I conversely take great pleasure in photographing these rectangular blocks of primary colour from the sky.

11

Rainbow railway.

Photo: The Canadian National Railway passes through a mineral rich wetland north of Thunder Bay, ON. Algae separation and the appearance of shrubs along the dyke make clear the environmental impact of every day development in these fragile settings.

12

Signs of life.

Photo: Water shows up in interesting ways. The great source of life on earth, trees gather round her like cows to a trough. I like to think of how important it was for our continent's first nations people to discover and settle in mineral rich, wetter areas like these.

13

White paper.

Photo: Ponds of bleach circulate at a pulp and paper factory near Espanola, ON. While flying over for a photo, I took one whiff and thought I might die. The cost of producing paper as white as the market demands poses an incredible challenge to our natural world.

14

Heart Lake.

Photo: A small cabin sits unsuspectingly on a small lake in which red algae has formed a heart. Consistently unique and always unexpected, finding hearts from the sky makes me feel like the earth is smiling back at me, just for a moment.

15

Excessive privilege.

Photo: While humans are given every ounce of care to extend their lives, cars are written off after the slightest collision. Between insurance, cheap-imports and high hourly-wages, many accidents which were once "fender benders" are now considered "totals".

16

Khakis and pro shops.

Photo: Golf courses dot Canada's natural landscape like freckles on my mid-summer face. De-forestation, constant mowing and irrigation aside, golf-courses do present a certain charm from the sky. Here someone has left their clubs while off searching for a missing ball.

17

Red Earth.

Photo: The clay-rich coast, encircling Prince Edward Island, mixes with the salty Atlantic to create a rich display of veiny waterways and lush vegetation. The moment I landed on the shores of PEI, I knew I had to fly barefoot to truly take in the fullness of the beauty thrust at me around every corner. Like another planet, I've yet to find any where else on earth quite like it.

18

Confederation Bridge.

Photo: Originally named the "Fixed Link", this 14 km span, between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, is the world's longest bridge over ice covered waters. This was the one and only piece of road we were not allowed to ride on during our cross-Canada skateboard trip several years earlier. No longer bound to the politics of gravity, I took immense pleasure in flying her length and waving at the toll-guards below. 🙂

19

Crossing the Rockies.

Photo: A heavy winter's snow melts into rushing rivers and waterfalls, cascading from the high peaks of Manning Provincial Park to the canyons below. Feeling right at home amongst the massive rocks, flying with the aid of the motor meant spending less time looking for lift and more time taking in the magnificent interplay between water and stone.

20

Lakes or Islands?

Photo: An incredible display of water and land dance hand in hand through Eastern Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. With the proportions of the two seeming exactly equal, I could never distinguish whether the water was surrounded by land or vice versa. The only sure thing was that there was nowhere to land!

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