With a common pain threshold for crisp winter duck dives, building connections with like-minded Canadians has been at the top of our to-do list for some time. The birthplace of Greenpeace, we were inspired by British Columbia's enduring culture of grassroots action, and during our time there we met some truly inspiring not-for-profits working to protect the land and empower their communities.
Connecting With Canada: 7 Inspirational NGOs
4 min read
Words by Finisterre
Images by James MacDonald, David Grey & Jack Johns
Mułaa (Rising Tide Surf Team)
Navigating the complexities around reconciliation and Indigenous Sovereignty in Canada looks and feels a lot like the Rising Tide Surf Team. Using the sport of surfing as the vessel, this organization helps Indigenous youth to rebuild a connection to ancestral waters and lands.
Read our interview with Mułaa co-founder Rachel, here.
Women’s Cold Water Community
From the Queen of the Peak all-female surf competition hosted by Tofino’s Surf Sister Surf School to Bitches and Barrels, a cold water surf club based in Victoria, it was heartening to find that Canada’s female surfing contingent spread the happiest of vibes, especially when the thermometer dips below zero.
Redd Fish Restoration Society
Based on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Redd Fish Restoration Society (Redd Fish) was founded in 1995 by loggers, First Nations, biologists, and forestry professionals who recognized the need to address the loss of habitat in order to preserve wild fish stocks.
Listen to our podcast with Ross Reid, a boots-on-the-ground Redd Fish team member and the creator of the Instagram account Nerdy About Nature, to learn about forest and salmon restoration.
Coastal Queer Alliance
This Tofino-based non-profit is all about uplifting the queer community on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. By hosting queer surf days dedicated to removing the financial, social and logistical barriers within surfing, Coastal Queer Alliance is redefining the lens of what surf events can look like.
Read our interview with co-founder John Sweeny, here.
Surfrider Foundation Canada
With chapters in Vancouver, South Vancouver Island, and the Pacific Rim, Surfrider Foundation Canada (SFC) is making waves for tackling plastic pollution. From pushing municipal and federal legislation that aims to eliminate single-use plastics items like straws, bags, and cutlery to participating in some of the largest coastal clean-up efforts in British Columbia, the SFC team are relentless in their commitment to protect the ocean. Join a beach clean if you are in the area.
Colour The Trails
A Canada-wide organization, Colour the Trails focuses on improving access to outdoor activities for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPoC). Founder Judy Kasiama first started with group hikes and has since branched out into mountain biking mentorship, ski trips, kayaking, ice climbing introductory courses, backpacking and camping for beginners, and even bird watching.
Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks
For the past 40 years, Tribal Parks has been at the front line of protecting Clayoquot Sound on the West Coast of Canada. In 1984, the Tla-o-qui-aht Nation declared Meares Island (Wah-nuh-jus – Hilth-hoo-is) a Tribal Park to protect the logging of sacred Old Growth trees.
Since that day, Tribal Parks has created a modern land and sea management plan grounded in traditional teachings: “Qwa’siin’hap”, meaning leaving it the way it used to be and “Uuy’athluknish”, meaning we take care.