This Vanishing Land

A Woman's Journey to the Canadian Arctic

Dianne Whelan

In the spring of 2007 the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Rangers, the regiment responsible for providing a military presence in isolated communities, set out on a treacherous journey across jagged sea ice and over steep and hostile terrain. Their mission was to travel over two thousand kilometres by snowmobile from Resolute to the Canadian Forces Station Alert, and plant a Canadian flag en route at Ward Hunt Island. Author, photographer and filmmaker Dianne Whelan is the first woman to accompany the Rangers on this never before patrolled route of the northwestern coast of Ellesmere Island. In This Vanishing Land Whelan shares her personal journey and explores the tumultuous political history and global significance of the Canadian High Arctic.

This Vanishing Land works well as a first-person travelogue of a trip through the High Arctic. Whelan does an especially nice job of inserting historical anecdotes and oral history sidebars into the narrative. She excels at describing the daily hardships of travelling in the Arctic and bluntly details her own struggles and triumphs on the journey.

— Peggy M. Dillon

Interactive media from Dianne Whelan’s film This Land