Award winning documentary

500 days in the wild

March 13 & 14

7 pm nightly
1:30 pm Thursday Matinee

2023 — Documentary
PG — 2 hr 5 min

500 Days in the Wild Inspires Us to Listen, Learn, and Be Kind. “You have to be in the moment when you’re out in nature,” says 500 Days in the Wild director Dianne Whelan. “The minute you’re not is when you’re gonna get in trouble.” Whelan knows something about surviving the elements. The director’s latest documentary is called 500 Days in the Wild, but the title sells her short. In actuality, Whelan spent a whopping 2224 days in the wild after embarking on the Trans Canada Trail on July 1, 2015. The film chronicles a multi-year odyssey in which Whelan became the first person to traverse the Trans Canada Trail in its entirety—24,000 KM of trails and waterways from Newfoundland to the Northwest Territories before landing home on the coast of British Columbia.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this country of ours is exceedingly huge. This is a truth that is hammered home every step along Whelan’s 28,000-kilometre journey on the Trans Canada Trail, the longest trail in the world. In addition to cycling, hiking, skiing and snowshoeing, Whelan canoed some of the world’s most unforgiving waterways. The trail includes more than 7,000 kilometres of lakes and rivers, with gruelling portages in between. In one infamous section called the Path of the Paddle, there was a grand total of 168 portages. Epic doesn’t quite do it justice. Trial or trail, you might ask. Maybe both!

Whelan acknowledges that she spent plenty of time by herself on the journey, but makes a case that she was never really “alone.” “Solitude reveals what a mirror cannot,” she said. “When I was alone, I was never really alone, because humans are just 0.01 per cent of all life on Earth. When you go out there and spend time with nature, you get to connect with the other 99.9 per cent.” When Whelan finally lands her canoe on the beach near Victoria and requests permission from the Indigenous people to enter their territory, it’s OK to let it all out and bawl. It has, after all, been a very long road.


Director, Writer, Adventurer:
Dianne Whelan