Soviet-Canadian Polar Bridge Expedition

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The Polar Bridge Expedition was a Soviet initiative in the days of Glasnost. In 1987, members of the Soviet Kolmsomosco Pravda Permanent Polar Expedition came to Canada to recruit Canadians to join in a joint project to ski from Cape Articheski, the most northern point of land in Siberia to Ward Hunt island via the North Pole. Amongst the expedition sponsors was McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada. On March 3, 1988, 9 Soviets Demtri Shparo, Mikhail (Misha) Malakhov, Valodya Ledenov, Yuri Khemeleski, Vasily Shishkariov, Sasha Beliaev, Tolya Melnikhov. and 4 Canadians (Richard Weber, Christopher Holloway, Max Buxton, Laurie Dexter) left Cape Articheski on ski, each carrying a 50 kg backpack. No one person on the expedition was fluent in Russian and English. The expedition received two airdrops by parachute on the way to the North Pole, one re-supply at the Pole and one more re-supply on the way to Canada. At the North Pole, the expedition rendezvoused, for a couple of hours, with an international meeting, including ministers from the Canadian and Soviet Governments, premier for the NWT and other dignitaries, sponsors and media. After a few hours, the team was abandoned to carry on their trek to Canada. About this time, McDonalds Restaurants signed the agreement to build their restaurants in Russia. On June 1, 1998, after 91 days, the team reached Ward Hunt Island



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