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Fellows Journal

Fall 2014

Message from the President

Posterity may show that on September 9th, 2014, Canadian history was made, with Prime Minister Harper’s announcement of the Victoria Strait Expedition’s successful find of one of Sir John Franklin’s historic lost ships.  To find out, only a few weeks later, that the ship uncovered was the H.M.S. Erebus, closes the door on one of Canada’s greatest mysteries, while opening several windows of discovery into not only Franklin’s fateful mission, but his world, his story, and how it speaks through time to the Canadian mind.  The find of the Erebus was a great moment, a truly Canadian moment.  And in that moment, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society stood proudly beside Parks Canada, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, One Ocean Expeditions, Shell Canada and the Arctic Research Foundation, as partners.  For a Society whose mission is to make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world, there could be no greater achievement, no stronger fulfillment of calling.  And for this, as Fellows of the RCGS, each one of you should be proud at what we’ve accomplished together.

Over the next few months, the role the RCGS was able to play in the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition will surely provide a guiding momentum for many of our Society’s immediate projects.  Most specifically, a spectacular, Franklin-themed special edition of Canadian Geographic will be shared shortly.  Perhaps the most ambitious and excellent publication that we have ever produced, this upcoming edition will provide exclusive information, images and insight into the expedition and its findings that cannot be found anywhere else.  Other initiatives include a multilayered educational program to support classroom learning on the Franklin expedition, a celebratory dinner in Toronto with our Victoria Strait Expedition partners, and the release of a book on the Franklin find.  

Most significantly, however, we will have a chance to celebrate the Society and its successes at our upcoming College of Fellows Annual Dinner on November 19th.  By partnering with the Canadian Space Agency to celebrate Canadian exploration on land, sea, air and space, this year’s Dinner will be unlike any before.   Our event will present General Walter Natynczyk as the keynote speaker, include the involvement of seven Canadian astronauts, feature our strongest Silent Auction prize list to date, and will likely include many additional surprises along the way.   With most of the tickets for our Dinner event already sold, I strongly encourage those Fellows who have not yet arranged to purchase their tickets, to quickly do so.  This will truly be an event that should not be missed.

These are exciting days to be part of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society.  I look forward to sharing in this excitement with you all at our Annual General Meeting, our College of Fellows Annual Dinner, and through all Society initiatives over the next several months.

Dr. Paul Ruest


Atlas of Canada now on sale

To celebrate its 85th anniversary, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society has partnered with publisher Harper Collins Canada to create the new Canadian Geographic Atlas of Canada, its first such atlas in a decade.

Supporting geographic education has been one of the Society’s principal missions since its inception, and this new project goes a long way toward supporting that goal. Besides authoritative reference maps, the atlas includes essays by a number of Canadian luminaries, investigations into multiple facets of the country — from wildlife to climate to economy — and detailed provincial and territorial breakdowns. It looks at the nation’s past, examines and celebrates its present and begins to chart its future.

The atlas is available in bookshops and online here.

Long lost Franklin ship found

John Geiger, RCGS’s CEO, answers the media’s question after the Erebus is found. (Thomas Hall/Canadian Geographic)

As the news of the find broke the world’s media was vying to score an interview with the RCGS team. From London, to Berlin, New Delhi, Bangkok, Sydney, San Francisco, New York and everywhere in Canada, the RCGS made front page news about finding the lost Franklin ship.

RCGS phones were jammed for days with interview requests about the Franklin ship. The RCGS and our CEO, John Geiger, were catapulted into the media spotlight and showcased our on-going efforts to make Canada better known. For a three week period, the Society, together with Parks Canada, worked to satiate desire for information on the doomed Franklin expedition and the newly-found Erebus.

Save the date

2014 Fellows Dinner

Don Newman (Photo: Canada 2020/flickr)

The 2014 College of Fellows Annual Dinner will be held on Wednesday, November 19th at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. This fundraising event will be a celebration of the 85th Anniversary of the RCGS, and the 25th Anniversary of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

The evening will feature seven of Canada’s astronauts as part of the evening’s special theme celebrating Canada in space. In addition, there will be a tribute to the discovery of HMS Erebus. Legendary journalist Don Newman will emcee the event.

Dinner tickets are going fast! If you haven’t bought yours and want to attend this special event, tickets are available at

Society Notes

Update on Fellows Committee

The Fellows Committee met on October 2nd to review the nominations of a number of strong candidates for Fellowship.  As per those deliberations, the Committee is proud to note that 56 nominees will be invited to become new Fellows of the Society.

Looking ahead to 2015, the Committee will be pursuing a number of key initiatives to support the Fellowship, while still working towards enriching the College with new additions to its membership.

Do you know someone who is helping to make Canada better known to Canadians and can contribute to the Society? Please fill out the Fellows nomination form by clicking here to nominate a Fellow for 2015.

Joseph Frey
Chair of the Fellows Committee

Strategic Partnerships

The Society continues to seek to extend its relationships with organizations that share our aims, values and interests. The Society is working with partners in a variety of bilateral and multilateral arrangements.

On October 4th, CG Education Executive members and Fellows Connie Wyatt Anderson, Lynn Moorman and Rob Langston took part in a field trip to Gimli harbour where they toured the Lake Winnipeg Research Consortium’s vessel, the Namao.
(Photo: Joe Super)
  • CG Education is leading OPEN Water, a planning project with the Minnesota Alliance for Geographic Education (MAGE) and the North Dakota Geographic Alliance (NDGA) and supported by the National Geographic Education Foundation. The OPEN Water project is focused on the Lake Winnipeg watershed and is intended to engage teachers and students in freshwater field study. At the conclusion of the planning grant in December, the partners will have developed a proposal with which to seek funding for a pilot phase.
  • CG Education is in discussion with the Canadian Remote Sensing Society/La Société canadienne de télédétection (CRSS-SCT) regarding a Memorandum of Understanding, primarily in the area of geographic education.
  • CG Education is a partner in the ground-breaking research in geospatial literacy for elementary students being led by Dr. Lynn Moorman (Mount Royal University) and supported by TECTERRA, an Alberta-based organization that supports research and development in geomatics.
  • Canadian Geographic and the Royal Ontario Museum are collaborating on a series of public programs on photography, including an exhibition of Canadian wildlife photography.
  • Building support for, and visitation of, Canada’s parks and historic sites, by developing a program dedicated to connecting young Canadians with their natural and cultural heritage is the goal of a nascent partnership initiative of the Society, Historica Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
  • Canadian Geographic and the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation (CSTMC) are partnering on a proposal to draw attention to Talk Energy Week in February 2015.

Historic Notes
One of the ships of Sir John Franklin's last expedition (Erebus or Terror) (Credit: Wikimedia commons)

With the discovery of the Franklin ship, the Erebus, on Sept. 7, 2014, perhaps the most perplexing maritime mystery may soon be resolved. Such was the mystique surrounding the disappearance of Sir John Franklin’s Arctic Expedition that it has tantalized people for 166 years.

As might be expected, the RCGS and its magazine have explored the mystery over the past 85 years. The first Canadian Geographical Journal article about Franklin appeared in 1930, the inaugural year of the magazine. It was the first of more than a dozen articles over eight decades that revisited the history and search for Franklin.

Over many years, the Society also provided financial support to Arctic expeditions searching for clues to Franklin’s fate. Indeed, the Society assembled several private and NGO partners to aid government agencies in the successful 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition that found the ship.

Program Notes

Advancement Committee

The Advancement Committee has continued to meet and work towards building the Society’s fundraising capacity.  With their leadership, the Society has seen a very strong first Quarter, where fundraising targets were met and exceeded in each of the last three months, putting us on pace for our most successful year to date.

Building on the success of the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition, and the implementation of the RCGS’s new vision and tactical plan for fund development, there is a number of exciting advancement opportunities on the horizon for our Society. Fellows can look forward to a diverse and dynamic suite of initiatives that they can engage with and support.

Significantly, our reinvigorated Compass Rose Club continues to grow, with 17 members from across Canada now in the program.  While our goal of 85 members by next summer is a lofty one, we believe, that by working together, it is one that can be reached.

To learn more about the Compass Rose Club, or to discuss how you or someone you know can join the program, please contact Jason Muscant, Director of Advancement, at (613) 740-2025, or via e-mail at

The Advancement Committee is chaired by Governor David Mitchell of Ottawa. Members include Amy Boddington (Toronto), Wendy Cecil (Toronto), Allen Clarke (Toronto), Tony Hendrie (Toronto), Jim Hole (Edmonton), Paul Klein (Toronto) and Bob Page (Calgary).

Awards Committee

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and patron of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), speaking at the 2013 Medal Ceremony. (Photo: Bonnie Findley/Canadian Geographic)

As always, the Awards Committee was impressed with the caliber of nominations received for the RCGS’ most prestigious medals and awards. This year’s recipients of the RCGS Gold Medal, Bergman Arctic Medal and the Ondaatje Medal for Exploration will be announced at the Medal Ceremony at 5pm on November 19th in the Theatre of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, immediately before the Fellows Dinner. Please note, if you plan to attend the Medal Ceremony, you must indicate this when asked while registering for the dinner, as space is limited.

The Awards Committee is chaired by Fellow Helen Kerfoot of Ottawa. Committee members include Richard Berthelsen (Toronto), Peter Dobell (Ottawa), Dianne Draper (Calgary), Alison Gill (Burnaby), Phil Howarth (Dundas), Chris McCreery (Halifax) and Wayne Pollard (Montréal).

Canadian Geographic Education

Students head out to explore while on Canada’s Coolest School Trip 2014 (Photo: Jessica Finn/Canadian Geographic)

Canadian Geographic Education
The Society’s educational program has gone from strength to strength. With membership now exceeding 12,500 teachers, CG Education benefits from dedicated leadership by the Executive members and support from the RCGS Board of Governors. The program has introduced new products and initiatives as a result of funding support from custom publishing projects, strategic partnerships, and generous donors and foundations.

CG Education’s strategic plan, Fostering Geographic Education, identifies educator resources as a key objective. With this objective in mind, CG Education is delivering the following for the 2014-15 school year.





Victoria Strait Expedition

Critical inquiries, interactive map and timeline, and a series of videos

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation
Arctic Research Foundation
One Ocean Expeditions
Shell Canada

First World War

Critical inquiries, a tiled map of Canada circa 1919, and a themed issue of Canadian Geographic or Géographica, distributed via a membership mailing

Parks Canada

Arctic Imperative

A unit of study comprising 6 lessons for secondary school students based on Polar Imperative by Shelagh Grant

Dr. Shelagh Grant and Jon Grant

Energy IQ

In-depth information resource on all types of energy with a library of resources for teachers to develop and share their own lesson plans and activities

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP)




Arctic Alive: Explore the natural history of the Canadian North

Giant floor maps and accompanying set of activities

Canadian Museum of Nature

Canada from Space

Giant floor maps and accompanying set of activities

Canadian Space Agency and the Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Migratory and Endangered Species in North America

Giant floor map and accompanying set of activities

Canadian Wildlife Federation

Parks Canada: Places and Spaces for Everyone

Giant floor maps and accompanying set of activities

Parks Canada

Canada’s Energy: Production and Transmission

Giant floor maps and accompanying set of activities


Canadian Boreal Forest

Giant floor map and accompanying set of activities

Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement Secretariat


Geography Challenge

Undergoing a redesign and revitalization to exercise students’ critical thinking skills

Google Education

Classroom Energy Diet Challenge

Entering its third year with improved activities and prizing

Shell Canada
Global television

Canada’s Coolest School Trip

Grade 8/Secondaire 2 classes compete for an all-expense paid visit to a national park and historic sites in June 2015

Parks Canada
Historica Canada
Canadian Wildlife Federation
Nature Canada




Building capacity in the teaching of geography is another objective of the strategic plan. To this end, CG Education offered two professional development institutes for teachers this summer on the topic of energy literacy. Held in Ottawa and Fort McMurray, the institutes were organized in conjunction with the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge and Energy IQ, respectively. Looking forward, CG Education will be present at a number of the fall teacher conferences and workshops including the Northwest Territories Teachers’ Association’s biennial conference in Yellowknife.

Expeditions Committee

Becky Kagan Schott films snokelers from the Sedna team as they encounter their first sea ice near Saglek, Labrador.
(© - Jill Heinerth)

The RCGS funded three major Expeditions in 2014, The Great Hike, The Sedna Epic Expedition, and Projet Karibu. The Great Hike is still underway, and more information about Expedition lead Dana Meise’s progress can be found at:

The Sedna Epic Expedition has completed their proof of concept expedition and is now preparing for their epic 2016 snorkelling expedition. More information can be found at:

Projet Karibu has completed their expedition and is in the process of completing their follow up work. More information about their work is available here:

The Expeditions Committee is chaired by Fellow Bernard Voyer of Montreal. Members include Jean Marie Beaulieu (Chelsea, QC), Lisel Currie (Calgary), Judith Kennedy (Ottawa), David Pelly (Ottawa) Mike Schmidt (North Saanich, BC), and Steve Smith (Canmore. AB).
Jonathan Luedee, recipient of the James Bourque Northern Doctoral Scholarship, has been selected to speak about his research at the RCGS Annual General Meeting on November 19th

Research Grants Committee

All of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society grant recipients for 2014 are currently completing the final phases of their initial field research or transitioning into the analysis phase of their work. As research is published, it will be posted to

The Research Grants Committee is comprised of the following members: Chris Burn (Ottawa), Janis Dale (Regina), Christine Duverger-Harrison (Ottawa), Alison Gill (Burnaby), Greg Halseth (Prince George), Peter Lafleur (Peterborough), Sarah de Leeuw (Prince George) Denis St-Onge (Ottawa) and Robert Summerby-Murray (Halifax).
Fellows in the news

NOTE: Contributions from the Fellows are published in the language in which they are submitted.

Mark Angelo reports that the 10th annual World Rivers Day was held Sunday, September 28th. This event celebrates the many values of our waterways while promoting the need for greater stewardship. This year, more than 70 countries participated. Thousands of events, ranging from stream clean-ups and habitat enhancement projects to educational outings and community riverside celebrations, took place and millions of people participated. “This year’s event was the biggest yet”, says Mark, World Rivers Day founder and chair. More details about World Rivers Day can be found at

George Manuel Burden recently succeeded to the title of 31st Baron of Seabegs, Stirlingshire, Scotland. He was recognised by the Scottish Crown minister the Lord Lyon of Arms, and matriculated his arms at the Lyons Office on 29 April 2014. Dr. Burden has been using this opportunity to research the 1st Century CE Roman Antonine Wall which extends through the ancient boundaries of the Barony of Seabegs and once served to protect the empire from Pictish invaders.

This July, The Canada Council for the Arts announced the appointment of Christina Cameron, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, as President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. Her term began at the Commission’s Annual General Meeting held in Victoria from June 5 to 7, 2014. She was appointed for a term of 2 years, renewable once.

On October 3 at its National Awards Ceremony in Charlottetown, Christina received the Gabrielle Léger Medal for Lifetime Achievement from Heritage Canada The National Trust. The award recognizes individuals for their outstanding service to the country in the cause of heritage conservation. Founded in 1978, the Gabrielle Léger Award is Canada’s premier honour for individual achievement in heritage conservation.

Adam Chamberlain, an environmental lawyer from Toronto leads his firm’s northern practice called Team North.  He has acted for the Government of Nunavut in environmental assessment hearings of proposed mines (such as the one for Baffinland’s Mary River Iron Mine on Baffin Island) but he also acts for mining and energy companies as well as Aboriginal communities in different parts of Canada’s north.  He serves on a number of Board’s dealing with arctic issues including the Board of Directors for the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines and the Board of Trustees for the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation. When he is in the north, he takes the time to go hiking or on small excursions and carries a digital camera most of the time.  Here’s a photo from his expedition this past April from Iqaluit to Kimmirut in Nunavut.

Ernest Coté at the Juno Beach Centre, Normandy, April 2014

The Society’s oldest Fellow Ernest Côté of Ottawa returned to Normandy earlier this year, to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day on June 6. Back in 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Côté was in charge of logistics for the 3rd Canadian Division in Normandy. Coté stayed in the military after the war and retired a general. He went on to work in government, have a family and live a long life. He turned 101 on June 12. Congratulations Ernest!

John Dunn on Ellesmere Island

John Dunn of Canmore AB is on the road again throughout 2014-15 delivering his popular presentations about his skiing, kayaking and hiking expeditions to school children of all ages. John is a wilderness traveller and photographer with particular affinity for the vast and rugged landscapes of the Canadian Arctic. Born and educated in England, John graduated in geology from London University and worked in mineral exploration in the Australian Outback. After moving to Alberta, John became a Canadian citizen and pursued his dream of exploring and photographing the arctic. John has organised and successfully completed 20 arctic expeditions, totaling over 1100 days in the field.

Wylam Faught of Ottawa, in La Fouly, Switzerland, half-way through the Tour de Mont Blanc Trek.

Geoff Green C.M. had another busy summer leading 86 youths from across Canada and around the world on another wildly successful Students on Ice (SOI) Arctic expedition going from the amazing Torngat Mountains National Park to the west coast of Greenland. A new 3-year partnership with Parks Canada is helping SOI to showcase how Canada's northern National Parks are great classrooms and platforms for connecting youth to nature.  SOI's expedition sailboat Arctic Tern I also completed its third summer season of research in the High Arctic, together with partners from the Canadian Wildlife Service, Oceans North and Environment Canada. Green and his team are busy gearing up for the SOI Antarctic expedition in December with 65 youths. 2015 marks the 15th Anniversary of the Students on Ice program and several special events are being planned to help celebrate, starting with a February event in Monaco co-hosted by Geoff and HSH Prince Albert II. A coffee table book titled - "Students on Ice – The Greatest Classrooms on Earth" celebrating 15 years of polar education is expected to be ready by Christmas! See for more information.

Norman Hallendy with Richard Harrington's wife Margaret, at the opening of Photographic exhibition at the McMichael Gallery of Canadian Art.

Norman Hallendy of Ottawa, who is approaching 83, just keeps going. He has just completed an assignment to document examples of climate change in the South West desert of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. The results of the study are destined to be part of an international exhibition on the subject. Work on Norman's third book An Intimate Wilderness: Travels Across a Land of Vast Horizons is now in the design stage. Also, Hallendy’s Arctic images appeared along side the remarkable photographs made by Richard Harrington in the Contact Photography Festival, the world’s largest photographic event. The exhibition brought together images made between 1881 and 2003, revealing an ongoing fascination with the people, places and mythologies of the North.

Richard Harington of Ottawa reports that Bluefish Caves, located 54 km southwest of the village of Old Crow in northern Yukon has yielded evidence of episodic human activity from about 25,000 to 12,000 BP (radiocarbon years before present). Excavations at the site was carried out under the direction of Jacques Cinq-Mars between 1977 and 1987. With J. Cinq-Mars as coauthor, Richard has been able to close his long-term research on identification of large mammals from the three caves by examining the last few trays of specimens. Among the interesting recent findings are: a couple of wolf mandibles with teeth from the same cave (but different sites) that are clearly a pair and constitute one of the best fossils from Bluefish Caves (see Figure 1); three Arctic fox teeth (one, a carnassial is from a very old individual); and a few more saiga antelope specimens (limb bones and an ankle bone; see Figure 2) – one of the rarest Yukon Pleistocene fossils.

Over the past 15 years, the consensus among archaeologists has moved beyond the idea that Clovis people (13,000 BP or younger) were the first humans in America, to dates of about 16,000 BP. Yet it is frustrating that most archaeologists do not recognize earlier dates on artifacts extending from about 40,000 to 20,000 BP in Yukon, despite good evidence. For example, the authenticity of the discovery of the 23,500 BP mammoth limb bone core and flake — clearly human-made — found in place in the lower loess deposit of Bluefish Cave II has not specifically been disputed.

The Borderski Team: Kate, Rebecca and Ali, aka the Fanny Pack.

Kate Harris, based in Atlin, British Columbia, reports that her latest expedition, Borderski, will launch for Tajikistan in February 2015.

This all-women, self-supported, 250-km ski traverse of the eastern Pamir mountains aims to document the impact of fences on migratory wildlife, particularly Marco Polo sheep, and to inspire others through a film to think beyond borders, whatever shape they take. To track the expedition, which is funded by grants from the Explorers Club and the American Alpine Club, visit

The book launch for Ontario’s Kathy Haycock, Joyce Burkholder and Linda Sorensen’s Wild Women Painters of the Wilderness was held October 22 at the Women’s Art Association of Canada in Toronto. For a preview of the book, see

David Knight first wrote the popular textbook 'Making Sense in Geography and Environmental Sciences' in 1992 for Oxford University Press. The book is now in its fifth edition but, with OUP calling for yet a further edition, he has passed the authorship to Dianne Draper (also a RGS Fellow). David has enjoyed working with the superb OUP editorial staff over the more than two decades and he has appreciated working with Dianne on the fourth and fifth editions. Another book, a collection of original essays David co-edited with Ron J. Johnston and Eleonore Kofman, 'Nationalism, Self-Determination and Political Geography', is being issued in October 2014 by Routledge in the U.K.

George Kourounis has been very busy lately. After only 2 days back from Peru, he embarked on yet another expedition. This mission was to descend 400 meters down inside the very active crater of Marum volcano on Ambrym Island, Vanuatu to get rare, up close imagery of the violently boiling lava lake.


“I was able to get as close as humanly possible to the lava. Without my protective heat suit, I wouldn’t have been able to stand there for more than about four seconds. My camera literally started to melt” said George.
Watch the dramatic video here.

TA Loeffler navigating the Amphu Labsta Pass in Nepal.

TA Loeffler of Memorial University, St. John’s NL completed her trek of the High Himalaya in Nepal. The Human Kinetics and Recreation (HKR) professor, along with her partner Marion Wissink from the Department of Computer Science and two other hikers left Newfoundland and Labrador with the goal of walking one million steps over 65 days and 600 kilometres in the mountainous country of Nepal. 1,108,898 steps later (give or take one or two) their mission was accomplished.

The trek started in in Taplejung, Nepal. They gained more than 25,000 metres in elevation and crossed four regions: Kanchenjunga, Makalu Barun, Everest and Rolwaling, finishing the walk near the highway that links Nepal to Tibet.

Part of the adventure was The Great Big Walk, which involved using curriculum materials developed by HKR 4210 students to engage elementary students in social studies, physical activity and geography. Grade Fours and Fives were able to regularly interact with the group, thanks to funding from Memorial’s Quick Start Fund for Community Engagement. “As always, I want my expeditions to be more than me reaching a summit or traversing a country, so I decided to combine the two: walking across a huge chunk of Nepal while trying to inspire folks and children to be more active,” said Loeffler.

Edward W. (Ted) Manning of Ottawa has been made a full member of the Club of Rome. The Club is an international association of independent thinkers from politics, business and science who are interested in contributing in a systemic interdisciplinary and holistic manner to a better world. The Club of Rome members share a common concern for the future of humanity and the planet.  Based in Winterthur Switzerland, the 100 members of the Club have the goal to identify the most crucial problems which will determine the future of humanity through integrated and forward-looking analysis; to evaluate alternative scenarios for the future and to assess risks, choices and opportunities; to develop and propose and help to implement practical solutions. Ted Manning is also the past-president of the Canadian Association for the Club of Rome.

Taken by timer, this photo finds Ken with Cameron Treleaven and Louie Kamookak at the Rae Cairn overlooking Rae Strait.

At Westminster Abbey in London, Ken McGoogan of Toronto said a few words at the dedication of a memorial to Arctic explorer John Rae. As the author of an international bestseller about Rae, Fatal Passage, Ken has been arguing since 2001 that Rae deserves to be recognized as the discoverer of the final link in the first navigable Northwest Passage.

In 1999, Ken ventured into the High Arctic with two fellow adventurers and placed a plaque at the remains of a cairn Rae built in 1854. Ken provided a foreword for a new edition of John Rae's Arctic Correspondence, just published by Touchwood Editions. Rae was a Scottish Orcadian, and the dedication at Westminster Abbey, on Sept. 30, was followed by a reception at The Scotland Office, Dover House.

Paul D. Miller was named as one of the National Geographic Society’s 2014 class of Emerging Explorers, a group of 14 visionary, young trailblazers from around the globe whose innovative ideas and accomplishments are making a significant difference in the world. The Emerging Explorers Program recognizes and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring adventurers, scientists and innovators who are at the forefront of discovery, adventure and global problem-solving while still early in their careers. Each Emerging Explorer receives a $10,000 award to aid further research and exploration. Paul Miller’s multimedia performances, recordings, art installations and writings immerse audiences in a blend of genres, raising awareness about climate change, sustainability, global culture, the role of technology in society and other pressing environmental and social issues. His multimedia composition, book and installation “The Book of Ice” creates an experiential visual and acoustic portrait of Antarctica’s disappearing environment. In “Nauru Elegies,” he explores, through a string ensemble, video, animation and live Internet feed, problems facing the environmentally exploited South Pacific island of Nauru. He also founded Vanuatu Pacifica Foundation, a sustainable arts center on the island of Vanuatu. Miller first rose to worldwide fame as hip-hop turntablist “DJ Spooky” and now lectures and performs at prestigious venues, arts institutions and universities on every continent. His free, open-source iPad app, DJ Mixer, has been downloaded over 20 million times. It gives users DJ tools to mix, scratch and add electronic effects to tracks from their own digital libraries. Miller was the first artist-in-residence at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. He also went to the Arctic Circle this summer with the Sierra Club.

Recently, as part of the National Geographic Emerging Explorer program, a short video was made about the role of composers, Science and data in creating a cultural response to climate change.

Tom Paddon recently facilitated the first meeting of the Arctic Economic Council during which he was elected as the AEC's first chair.  The AEC has appointed representatives from all eight arctic nations and the six permanent participants which together form the Arctic council.  The AC has called the AEC into being as a result of a Canadian initiative commenced at the start of its term as chair of the AC.  The AEC is an independent organization created by the Arctic Council that will facilitate Arctic business-to-business activities and responsible economic development, as well as the sharing of best practices, technological solutions, standards and other information. Traditional indigenous knowledge, stewardship and a focus on small businesses will play a central role in AEC work. Industries such as fishing, herding, hunting and tourism are essential to Arctic business development and to the livelihoods of the peoples of the Arctic. The AEC consists of 42 business representatives appointed by the Arctic states and indigenous organizations. The AEC’s inaugural Executive Committee is lead by the chair Tom Paddon from Canada, vice chairs Tero Vauraste from Finland, Tara Sweeney from the United States, and Evgeny Ambrosov from Russia.

Darren Platakis of St. Catherines ON reports that Geospatial Niagara's initiative – "Day of Geography" will be held on Monday, November 17, 2014.  Goals of the event are to provide a collection of information that will be accessible to students and teachers from kindergarten to post-secondary school about potential careers in geography/geospatial, to raise awareness in the general community about how geospatial professions touch our daily lives, to promote Geospatial Niagara and to honour the life of Dr. Roger Tomlinson (RCGS Fellow). Day of Geography is being held at the beginning of Geography Awareness Week on Monday, November 17, 2014, which would have been Dr. Tomlinson’s 81st birthday.

Website is

Rob Rondeau reports that Lunenburg’s new Marine Archaeology Centre (MAC) will focus on finding the shipwrecks of two American privateers – one from the American Revolutionary War and the other from the War of 1812.  MAC’s founder is marine archaeologist Rob Rondeau.  It’s a partnership between his company, PROCOM Marine Survey & Archaeology, and the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation (BCAF). The Sweat, named after the “Sou’ Easter” wind, ran aground in Mahone Bay in 1779 while chasing a local vessel.  The 12-gun Yankee warship had a formidable reputation on Nova Scotia’s South Shore. It once attacked a Halifax convoy being escorted by four British warships. The Young Teaser also met its end in Mahone Bay when it was cornered by two British warships on June 26th, 1813.  But, instead of surrendering, the Teaser was blown to pieces by its First Officer.  He preferred death by his own hand instead of swinging from a Royal Navy noose. MAC is located at the BCAF campus in Lunenburg – which is, also, the former home of Angus Walters, the captain of the famed Bluenose.

Wally Schaber of Otttawa is writing a book about the history of the settlement of the Ottawa River village of Des Joachimes and the Dumoine River watershed. The history of Des Joachims is typical of many of the freight forwarding villages established along the Ottawa at the 18 portages between Lake of Two Mountains and Mattawa. This historical portage was crossed by most of Canada's great early explorers, established originally by First Nation traders and warriors and finally replaced with a busy tote road carrying supplies for the logging camps upriver by the first settlers of the village in 1845. Captured in one of Bartlett's watercolours, the village is portrayed in 1854 as a scenic last stop for the first steamboat to run above Pembroke, the Pontiac. Des Joachims, or 'Swisha 'as the locals pronounce it, was always the gateway to the Dumoine River Valley. The story of the Algonquin Dumoine River bands traditional hunting grounds being destroyed by logging then adopted by private hunting and fishing clubs and finally recreational canoeists, hunters and ATV campers , is a micro example of a story that has gone on across Canada. Ironically the Algonquin Wolf Lake Band, today’s expanded family of the original Dumoine Band, opened up an outfitting business in Des Joachims village on July 4,2014 to serve the paddling recreationists. The book, due to be published in October 2015, will describe the history of the use of the Dumoine Valley from all perspectives.

Adam and Travis with the Explorers Club flag and the nameless river behind them.

This past August Adam Shoalts and Travis Hill canoed a river that is officially nameless well over 500 kilometers above the Arctic Circle, on the northern part of Victoria Island, making it one of the most northern rivers ever canoed. The expedition carried the flag of the Explorers Club, and was sponsored by Mountain Equipment Co-op, Globalstar, and Outdoors Oriented.

A short trailer about the expedition and pictures are available at:

Gordon Slade, of St. John’s NL, a former member of the RCGS Board of Governors, a RCGS Gold Medal recipient, and a member of the Order of Canada, was granted an honorary doctorate from Memorial University on October 3. Gordon is receiving his honorary doctorate in recognition of his wide-ranging contributions to the preservation of Newfoundland and Labrador communities and their heritage. Gordon won the RCGS Gold Medal for his role in the restoration of Battle Harbour NL.

This September-October, award-winning photographer Michelle Valberg has an exhibition titled Freedom at the Wall Space Gallery in Westboro Village, Ottawa. This solo show features Michelle’s breathtaking photographs that demonstrate her incredible dedication to her craft that has taken her to regions as far-flung as the high arctic, Greenland, Newfoundland, Sable Island, Jasper National Park, and Ontario.  The Wall Space Gallery is thrilled to introduce the public to her latest body of work, which explores the fierce beauty of our country alongside the majestic abstraction of nature.

Norman Vorano, formerly Curator of Contemporary Inuit Art at the Canadian Museum of History, has joined the Art History and Art Conservation Faculty at Queen's University, Kingston. He has taken the post of Queen's National Scholar in Indigenous Visual and Material Culture, with a cross-appointment to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre on campus.

Connie Wyatt Anderson, RCGS Governor and chair of Canadian Geographic Education, is a recipient of the 2014 Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching. A dynamic teacher on a First Nations reserve 600 kilometres north of Winnipeg, Connie engages her students in a real-life cultural quest. With a population of just over 4,000, the community of Opaskwayak Cree Nation is genuinely dedicated to raising their children in a culture that connects them to their historical past. That is why Connie has created an interactive curriculum that allows her students to embrace their heritage and culture by learning about the First World War through the eyes of First Nations soldiers. Connie was presented with the award by the Right Honourable David Johnston, on Monday November 3rd at Rideau Hall.

Ray Zahab reports on an upcoming impossible2Possible Youth Expedition. For his next project, a group of international youth will join him and an education team traversing the Lost Coast in Northern California. They have partnered with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and educators to deliver a curriculum about “Coastal Species" to thousands of students all over the globe. Everything is 100% free as usual. In January 2015 Ray will attempt to run 1500 km across the Patagonian Desert.

NB. Items for “Fellows in the News” are welcomed and should be sent to Louise Maffett at


Yves Fortier during Operation Franklin, in the summer of 1955. (Claire Fortier)

Dr. Yves Oscar Fortier

In 1943 Dr. Fortier joined the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) and became progressively more involved in the geology of the Canadian North. In the 1950s, Dr. Fortier was determined to map the Canadian Arctic archipelago as a whole. This culminated in his leadership of Operation Franklin in 1955, a 28-person expedition with scientists from many disciplines.

That summer they mapped and studied almost 260,000 square km of Arctic Islands. Data from these surveys showed a thick layer of sedimentary rocks and structures similar to those found in oil fields. In 1964 he became Director of the GSC, a position which he held until 1973. He retired in 1976 as Assistant Deputy Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Canada.

Dr. Fortier received the Massey Medal of the RCGS in 1964 for his exploration and study of the Arctic Islands and description of their geological structure. He was the first person to recognize the oil-bearing potential of the Islands and to direct a geological program to verify his deductions.

Canadian Geographic Notes


In response to the recent discovery of Sir John Franklin’s HMS Erebus, the December issue is dedicated to the find and all things Franklin. The issue will hit newsstands and be distributed to subscribers early (on Nov. 4) to capture the moment, and it will be the first 100-page issue since 2007. The cover boasts an image of the wreck yet to be seen by the public, and the issue includes features on: the find and the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition; a Q&A interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper; a brief history of the original Franklin expedition and subsequent searches for it by Wade Davis; essays on the importance of the find by Noah Richler, Ken McGoogan (RCGS Fellow), Shelagh D. Grant (RCGS Fellow), Minister of the Environment Leona Aglukkaq, Joe MacInnis (RCGS Fellow), Douglas Stenton, Fergus Fleming and Russell A. Potter; and what’s next by Alanna Mitchell; plus, much, much more!

WINTER (November) TRAVEL 2014-2015

In the Winter 2014-2015 issue of Canadian Geographic Travel: a great feature on Ontario’s Niagara Ice Wine Festival by award-winning freelancer Mark Anderson, winter fun in Golden, B.C., an exclusive holiday gear guide, the 10-top winter camping destinations, the best travel apps and more.


Coming soon: Canadian Geographic’s annual wildlife issue, now in January/February. In the issue, renowned environmental journalist Alanna Mitchell explores our love-hate relationship with wolves, we write of the secrets to wildlife rehab success, five well-known Canadians pen essays on what Canada’s national bird should be, an exclusive photo essay on humpback whales by Royal Canadian Geographical Society Fellow Mike Beedell, the winners of Canadian Geographic’s annual wildlife photo contest and much more.


Canadian Geographic’s social media feeds were on fire in the wake of the Franklin find announcement, owing, naturally, to our great coverage of developments. Daily Twitter follower growth on the @CanGeo account tripled (to 32 new followers a day) in the days after the discovery, the brand was exposed to a minimum additional 554,000 Twitter followers and Facebook posts in the first two days after the announcement reached 37,810 people.

Society Calendar
19th 9:00 am RCGS Board
19th 10:30 am Fellows Reception
19th 11-2 pm RCGS AGM
19th 5 pm Medal Ceremony
19nd 6 pm Fellows Reception
19th 7 pm Fellows Dinner
20th 9 am RCGS Board
17-23 Geography Awareness Week
Louise Maffett
Editor of the Fellows Journal

Deb Chapman
Communications Manager

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