It began with one person riveted by a spectacle that has taken place – uninterrupted – in BC rivers for millions of years. Director Nettie Wild’s artistic intuition told her that the salmon migration she’d witnessed could – and should – be shared with a wider public audience. That led to a small team exploring the possibilities. Add in a city bridge and a public park, and things really started to get interesting.
A network of partners came on board over time, and their crucial support meant the small group of eight grew – and grew – to a team of 130 artists, specialists and volunteers.
Three years of filming, eighteen months of editing and digital mapping, software innovation, the work of several Canadian companies, an online platform to extend public engagement, the support of civic leaders and the good will of a neighbourhood. All that – and UNINTERRUPTED launched in the summer of 2017 as part of the Canada 150+ celebrations.
In the three month run that followed, crowds totalling 30,000 (on average close to 500, 5 nights a week) came under the Cambie Bridge to swim with the salmon.
It was quite a summer.
At the launch, leaders from the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations welcomed the visiting Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band of the Secwepemc Nation – all First Nations on whose traditional territories Uninterrupted was filmed or projected. They came to share their honour songs – and a special salmon ceremony.
Also joining us were representatives from the Government of Canada (Fisheries & Oceans), the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Park Board; from presenting partners Vancity and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and from our community partner the Pacific Salmon Foundation — and of course, our first audience!
In the weeks that followed, audience members helped spread the word sharing their great pics – and media writers offered up wonderful reviews and coverage.
Throughout the summer, community activations before the shows added everything from public ping-pong, to information about resource conservation, to children’s entertainers Bobs & Lolo and their salmon app, to opportunities with local streamkeepers who volunteer to look after salmon habitat.
And our partners hosted special evenings under the bridge.
At uninterrupted.ca, we’ve enjoyed more than 70,000 visits and counting. When the interactive journey launched in July, people were invited to follow the path of a salmon – and those who swam the distance online received their moment on the bridge too. Nightly their names were featured on the salmon social honour roll – and soon we’ll feature the circle on this website as well.
On Sunday September 24th, the cinematic salmon swam across the bridge one final time – at least for this summer. We’d like to thank all our partners and community participants, individual champions, our team and volunteers, and you – the members of the public who’ve been a big part of it all. Your enthusiastic support has been the final ingredient in our success.
Fall is the time of year to appreciate salmon in the outdoors, and there are lots of places you can do that. Visit our salmon trail, plus there are always community organizations and events that could use your help looking after BC’s wild salmon and their habitat. So take a look – they may be closer than you think!