#89 Inch Your Way There – 50 Paces Project

SunsetFrom November to January 2004/5 I lived my father’s life on a small island in New Brunswick.  I looked after the animals and waited for the river to freeze so I could cross the ice safely and reliably to get to shore. [see Watching the ice form… a month spent on an island – off-line, off-grid, off-shore.]

In order to know that the ice is safe to cross, you have to test it every 50 paces and mark the safe path to shore. That means you stop and chop a hole in the ice to test its thickness.  If it is safe, you mark the path by putting small trees into the holes you’ve chopped in the ice. These trees mark the path to and from the island until spring thaw. 

As I was testing the ice, I started wondering what was 50 paces, or 100 paces, or even 1200 paces from my door at home? Or your door? Or someone else’s door?   

And thus the 50 Paces Project was born! How cool would it be to cross the river and at the same time see the world 50 paces at a time.

As I shoved a tree into the ice I would think to myself, "I bet that this is about where the beer store is", "this would be around the Harvey’s", even "I’ll bet there is a library about this far from my house."

I created a flickr group.  People started joining. People started pacing things out and now we have 536 photos. 

Once the path is established in January (weather permitting*)
we will be setting up a photo installation with the 50 Paces Project
images hanging from all the trees lining the path from the island to
the shore. 

On the first tree, the 50 Paces Tree, there will
be photos from around the world all taken 50 Paces from people’s
doors.  Every 50 Paces from 50 to 2000 there’s a new tree and a new
view of the world.

Want to be a part of it?  Just join the flickr group and start taking photos.

Here are a couple of things from around my door:

  • Beer Store = 350 paces ;  
  • Harvey’s = 200 paces 8am-11am 
  • Library =  1800 paces    
  • Dim Sum = 1900 paces  
  • Strip Club = 200 paces 
  • Cheap Chinese = 550 paces  
  • Arboretum =100 Paces    
  • Just plain cool stuff = 250 paces 


* Last winter the river ice was too soft to do the installation, so we’re working for January!

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

2 thoughts on “#89 Inch Your Way There – 50 Paces Project

  • April 21, 2007 at 10:01 am

    50 Paces an Installation

    You thought I struggled with picking a new name for this blog and writing my bio for In The Kitchen? That, my dear friends, was small potatoes. Baby potatoes. Seed potatoes compared to writing an Artist’s Statement. Why?, you might ask, would you need …


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