The Documentary

Traversing the Canol: Explorations by Wheel in the Canadian North

All of the Canol crew members had different motivations as to why they wanted to sign up for what was an ambitious cycling trip. But one of the things they did agree upon, was that they wanted to document the historic significance and environmental impact along the Canol Road as they went. Using video, photography, archival research, and journal writing – they were thinking about how to use documentary filmmaking as an effective tool in sustainability education, touching on themes such as pedal-powered travel, the environmental and human costs of pipeline infrastructures, climate change in Arctic regions, and the potential benefits of environmental remediation.

The 22-minute documentary is now in final form, following the much-appreciated efforts of independent film company {mtset} based out of Edmonton, AB. Film festival applications are currently being rolled out, and a screening schedule is imminent.


“Traversing the Canol” captures the history of a wild place and wilder industrial ambitions. Five female cyclists cross the indifferent yet majestic landscape of the Selwyn and Mackenzie Mountains in northern Canada as they explore the history of the region. Their route follows the historic Canol pipeline, constructed by the US Army Corps in 1943, only to be abandoned two years later. Struggling through challenging terrain and mechanical issues, the riders trace the remnants of the pipeline. They explore the abandoned relics, reflect on the enduring legacy of the Canol’s short-term resource infrastructure, and witness the nascent remediation efforts of the Sahtu Dene to transform the Canol pipeline access road into a wilderness trail.

Postscript: If there are any bright ideas about where the documentary would be well-received, or a request for a ‘hometown’ viewing, please do not hesitate to send them our way ~ Sincerely, the Canol Crew