The Canadian Rockies: The PLP Way 🏔️🚞

As I stood atop the towering peaks of Sulphur Mountain , the crisp mountain air filling my lungs and the unreal views unfolding before my eyes, I couldn’t help but marvel at the profound impact of geography on our lives. My recent eight-day trip to Banff, Alberta, focused on exploring the five themes of geography (Location, Place, Human-Environment Interaction, Movement & Region), and exploring into the rich history of the Canadian Pacific Railway, has left an mark on my understanding of Canada’s western landscape and the unique lifestyle it has fostered.

Our journey took us through a diverse range of locations, each filled with its own stories and important facts that help make the West. From the historic Rogers Pass, where the jagged mountains where railway workers who connected a nation, to the enchanting Cave and Basin, with magical underground hot springs and a pungent sulphur smell.

Yet, it was the breathtaking ascent up The Six Planes of Glaciers hike that truly made me appreciate the beauty of the Canadian Rockies. With every step along the trail, I could feel the earth’s geological history beneath my feet, as the intensity of the hike challenged my body.

During our journey, I came to realize how the geography of the West has shaped not only the land but also the people who call it home. The majestic mountains, deep valleys, and massive waterways have carved a rugged character into the region, one that mirrors the resilience and diversity of those who have settled here. The Canadian Pacific Railway, a symbol of determination and nation-building, served as a testament to the transformative power of geography.

Yet, this trip was not just about the land; it was also a profound lesson in the people who inhabit it. As I interviewed locals for my investigative video I discovered a shared sense of wonder and appreciation for the vast expanse of the Canadian West. It was also a bonding experience for my classmates and I, spending everyday together only strengthened the relationships we made.

Everything we learned along the way was put into a multi touch book. It gave us questions that would guide us to a deeper understanding of the locations, but also give us space to make our own interpretations and connections. It is what holds all of our knowledge of the trip, and it shows our personality while exploring the sights and significance of the West.

As I reflect on those eight unforgettable days, I can’t help but be grateful for the opportunity to explore my own country and learn about its history in such a immersive way. This journey has not only deepened my understanding of the geographical forces that have shaped Canada’s western landscape but has also given me respect for the people who have made it their home. It was more than a trip; it was an expedition of self-discovery, resilience, and learning all about the beauty and history of the Canadian Rockies and the wild, Wild West.

The Moving Images in the Rockies

“How might I use the moving image to tell a story?”

This is the driving question for our entire Maker class. We were asked this at the beginning of the school year, to help us imagine whatever our answers might be. And though it is only October, I have hundreds of answers and 4 videos to show my learning. So sit back and relax as I take you through a journey, the Maker way.

We started the whole project with the Silent Video. We were put in groups of four, and had to plan a video using no words to be filmed at Three Valley Gap, a ghost town and our 2nd stop of the first day. We decided on a story like a comic, that followed a chase between 2 people. The concept was to make an old timey movie that was a minute or under. Our plan had to follow the format of a Story Spine, and once we had an approved plan, we could start deciding props and finalize our ideas. And once we got on the bus and arrived, it was go time. 

Once we got there, we immediately split up into our groups and started filming. My group decided to start at the Golden Wheel Saloon and followed a path that led to the Roundhouse, where all the trains were kept. We filmed along the way, and once we had our last shot and got it approved by Mrs. Maxwell & Miss Kadi, we started editing. And 2 weeks later, we submitted it to the public (or at least to YouTube).

I was on trip 2, so while trip 1 was away, we started a new video, one all about us. We were given some questions to answer about ourselves, what we like, dislike and what we dream about. In class, we were to create a script that would be the voiceover for our video, but most of the filming was done on our own time. We had a week to have a rough cut, a peer critique, and a final copy by Friday. So, once we got all the information we needed, I started planning.

I spent Monday and Tuesday on planning and writing my script, trying to find unique ways to express my personality through my writing. I made sure I had enough shots to fill up the time, and once I was certain with my script, I started filming. Most of it I was able to film by myself, but for some of the frames I required help from someone. Wednesday and Thursday were filming days, and once I had everything, I began editing, and had a finished product by Friday morning. I was proud of my video, how I was able to answer the questions and show a lot of my personality and what makes me, well me!

Trip Montage (Video #1) Clap Trend (Video #2)

Before trip 2 left, we were given another assignment. The TikTok videos were the only ones that were completely up to us. The guidelines were simple, you had to have 1 video that shows you on the trip, and everything was up to us. Maddie, a friend, and me decided we would do 2 videos together. The ideas had to be briefed and approved by the teachers, then you could start filming. There were no designated spots for us to film, so we had endless possibilities. 

On the trip, Maddie and I filmed in several places. Lake Louise, Moraine and Minnewanka, Columbia Icefield, Cave and Basin, and many more. We did 2 different videos, one with a montage of photos from the trip, and another was a clap video. We had so much fun coming up with creative ideas and filming our TikTok videos. We wanted to showcase the beautiful locations we visited, but also inject some humor and personality into our videos. The montage video featured stunning shots of the scenery, interspersed with funny moments throughout the trip. It was a great way to capture the essence of our trip and create a lasting memory.

The last video we did was the most challenging by far. We had to come up with a thesis to base the whole video around, and we had to interview people to find evidence towards it. This particular video connects more with the Humanities Blogpost, as we are connecting our thesis to that driving question, “How has the geography of the West shaped who we are?” For my investigative video, I decided to focus on the stereotypes surrounding the West Coast Life. I spent multiple hours brainstorming ideas before finally narrowing down our thesis statement: “The West Coast is known for its beautiful and unique sights, but it is also known for its specific symbols and stereotypes.”

To gather evidence for my video, I interviewed as many people as I could, trying to get a variety of differing opinions. I gathered information, took photos and videos, and captured footage of my interviews. Once I had all of my necessary shots and photos, I started the editing.  The editing process was a lengthy one, as I had hours of interview footage and breathtaking scenic shots. I carefully selected the most compelling stories and visuals that best supported my thesis. Finally, after countless hours of editing and refining, I had my finished investigative video that I was proud of. 


Through these four videos, I have learned the power of storytelling through the moving image. Each video allowed me to explore different aspects of filmmaking, from silent storytelling to personal reflection, and from creative expression to investigative journalism. I have not only expanded my editing skills but also gained a deeper appreciation for the art of visual storytelling. As I reflect on my journey in the Maker class through the Rockies, I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to explore the world of filmmaking and discover my own voice within it.