The Hudson Strait Expedition (1927–1928)

By the 1920s, wheat represented a significant percentage of Canada’s exports. Much of this western prairie wheat was being shipped to Europe via the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. However, an alternate—and shorter—route to the Atlantic was being considered as an important priority. Hence the Canadian government decided to construct a railway line ending with a terminal at Churchill, Manitoba, in Hudson Bay, and build an ocean port from where exports would be shipped.

The Hudson Strait Expedition of 1927–1928 was an ambitious project: the government planned to use aircraft to determine the viability of the Hudson Strait as a shipping route between Hudson Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The expedition was commissioned to conduct aerial surveys to record weather patterns—including ice conditions—and ascertain the best routes within the strait throughout the changing seasons. It would also serve to determine how aircraft could aid in marine navigation there, and report on the feasibility of maintaining detached air operations in Subarctic conditions. Its mandate established, the government selected Thomas Lawrence to organize and command air operations of the expedition over a period of sixteen months.

Very heavy close packed ice, iceberg in distance, 30 km (20 mi) west of Cape Hope's Advance, 6 July 1928.<br />(HSE-A8-P150)
Ice in Mission Cove, near Base "A", July 1928.<br />(HSE-A13-P163)
Thomas Lawrence in front of a Fokker Universal on skis, near Base "C", Wakeham Bay (Kangiqsujuaq).<br />(HSE-A11-P94)