This two-part documentary takes us on a journey to the most remote locations and to the cultural centers of a country full of magical beauty and hope for a better life. And yet a lot of it is deceptive. Snapshots from a Canadian summer reveal how big and varied this country is. The first part of travel report takes us to Canada’s rugged north, where the people live in daily defiance of nature. On Fogo Island in the North Atlantic, our reporters meet fishermen of Irish and British extraction who are struggling to cling onto their traditional livelihoods. They’re proudly unwilling to give up their simple, tough lives or their identity. "There has always been a strong will to survive here, and it still exists today," says Phil Barnes from the Fogo Island Co-operative Society. An eight-hour flight to the north, in the Arctic ice, a region almost six times the size of Germany and home to just 30,000 people, it becomes clear to us that there’s no place on Earth that can isolate itself from the hubris of civilization anymore. Inuit hunters are on their way to one of the most inhospitable and yet most magical places on Earth. People at the northernmost end of the world have been coping with a merciless environment for 8,000 years. But today their lives are being shaken up by an alliance between the forces of Western progress - mining companies and Greenpeace. "You Europeans really believe all the nonsense you’re told," says Charlie Inuarak, the mayor of Pond Inlet on Baffin Island. "And then you issue bans and quotas that affect our lives and that’s wrong." It’s a criticism we hear voiced all over northern Canada, not least in Old Crow in Yukon, 160 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle.
In the second part of the two-part documentary we experience the contradictions that modern Canada has to handle, from the indigenous first nations to Alberta’s oil fields, from Chinese immigrants in Vancouver and British Columbia’s magnificent Pacific coast to the cultural center of Montreal. In Old Crow, journalist Johannes Hano and his crew accompany Harald Frost from the Vuntut Gwitchin first nations. He is considered their best hunter and he sees himself in harmony with nature when he proudly presents the hides of now rare species of wolf. That’s just their way of life and has been for thousands of years, Frost says. He believes so-called progress is rolling back freedom ever further north. In Alberta, the team spends seven hours with Roy from the Chipewyan tribe on the Athabasca River - always careful to avoid the security personnel employed by the oil companies. Photographer and environmentalist Ian McAllister is trying to protect the last intact temperate rain forest in the northern hemisphere from pipelines and tankers in northern British Columbia. Using film and still footage and dozens of underwater cameras that broadcast live online around the clock, the photographer wants to document the beauty and uniqueness of the environment. And he wants to shock people into preserving this stunning natural landscape. "If we can’t manage it, who else can?" he asks.