The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
Making Canada better
known to Canadians
and to the world.

Publishers of Canadian Geographic Magazine Publishers of géographica


Fellows Journal

Summer 2014

Message from the President

In November 1930, Major L.T. Burwash wrote about his aerial visits to King William Island, the area where the 1845-48 British Arctic Expedition commanded by Sir John Franklin was lost. His account included newly recorded Inuit testimony. That article was the first of many on Franklin we have published in Canadian Geographic over the years. As Canada’s centre for exploration, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society has also funded past expeditions that have sought evidence of Franklin's lost ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

The RCGS has, with private and foundation partners The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, One Ocean Expeditions, Shell Canada, and the Arctic Research Foundation, joined Parks Canada and other federal and Nunavut government agencies to launch the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition, the most ambitious search for Erebus and Terror since the 1850s.

This RCGS flag expedition is also the most ambitious expedition the Society has ever mounted, and the Society would like to acknowledge the early enthusiasm and support by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, and in particular Society Fellow Geordie Dalglish, with inspiring this partnership. I am also grateful to One Ocean Expeditions’ Andrew Prossin, another Fellow, for helping to steer this exciting project and in both cases, also with Shell Canada and the Arctic Research Foundation, for laying the groundwork for a wonderful expedition and outstanding classroom educational resources and editorial coverage in Canadian Geographic.

Among our partners are not only Parks Canada and its elite Underwater Archaeology Unit, but also the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Coast Guard, Defence Research and Development Canada, the Canadian Space Agency, and the Government of Nunavut, to name some of the public agencies involved.

The Society has also established a Fellows Panel, with Dr. David Hik serving as chair, to provide advice on the expedition, and resulting educational and broad public outreach efforts. I would like to thank all of the eminent Fellows who have joined the panel for their time and input!

A wonderful hub has been established at, where members of the public can follow the expedition preparation, learn about all the participating organizations and search leaders, and read about the history of the Franklin mystery.

I want to wish everyone involved a successful expedition, and great luck in the search!

Dr. Paul Ruest

Save the date

2014 Fellows Dinner Tickets Now Available

Photo: NASA

The 2014 Fellows 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). Our honoured guest and speaker will be General Walter Natynczyk, head of the CSA. Tickets for the dinner are now available at

Early-bird tickets are $200 and will be on sale until July 31st. Tickets purchased between August 1st and October 19th will be $225. After October 19th, any remaining tickets will be sold for $250.

Any Fellows interested in volunteering at the Fellows Dinner can send an email to for further information.

Society Events

Jill Heinerth wows sold out crowd at Spring Speaker Series Event

Jill Heinerth thrills the crowd with tales of exploring caves in an Antarctic iceberg at The Royal Canadian Geographical Society's spring speaker series on April 30. (Photo: Jessica Burtnick)

Canada’s top cave diver left no doubt that exploring caves — whether they be in bedrock or an iceberg — is scary business. Heinerth’s presentation was filled with harrowing tales of going into the unknown, with powerful photography of these dark, claustrophobic caves. Both young and old were curious about Heinerth’s choice of professions and wanted to learn more. From technical questions about diving, to a question about her scariest moment, Heinerth’s responses thrilled the crowd, drawing them into her underwater world.

RCGS receives major gift on behalf of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces a large donation to The Royal Canadian Geographical Society as his wife Laureen Harper, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages Shelly Glover look on. (Photo: PMO photo by Jason Ransom)

The Society received a gracious gift from Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall on their recent trip to Canada. Dr. Paul Ruest, President of the RCGS, was on hand to receive the donation announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Winnipeg. HRH The Prince of Wales was happy that the generous gift, given on his behalf, will help inspire “young Canadians to learn more about the geography and history of this great country.” Canadian Geographic Education programs are closely aligned with His Royal Highness' emphasis on the importance of youth.

From left, Lt. Gov Donald Ethell, Dr. Derald Smith (holding Massey Medal), Dr. Nancy Smith, Linda Ethell (Photo: Lynn Moorman)

Dr. Derald Smith awarded the 2014 Massey Medal

Dr. Derald Smith, a much loved former University of Calgary geography professor, received the 2014 Massey Medal at the historic McDougall Centre in Calgary from Colonel (Retired) The Honourable Donald S. Ethell, OC OMM AOE MSC CD LLD, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta. The medal ceremony was a small, private affair attended by university colleagues, friends and family. Dr. Smith received the medal for his exploration and explanation of Canadian landscapes.

The RCGS was saddened to learn that Dr. Derald Smith passed away on June 18th, 2014, his 75th birthday, after a brief battle with cancer. His legacy will carry forward with the new generations of geo-literate citizens that have been motivated and inspired by his exceptional contributions to geography. Dr. Smith and his family have donated his medal and citation to the Department of Geography at the University of Calgary to inspire young geographers.

First row from the left: Fellows Philip Currie, Todd Babiak, Brian Hodgson, Bruce MacGillivray, David Hik, Guy Swinnerton. Second row from the left: Fellows Eva Koppelhus and Myrna Kostash.

Fellows Plot Edmonton-area Outreach Program

On May 15th, Edmonton-area Fellows gathered at the University of Alberta Alumni House to discuss how they can contribute to making Canada better known to Canadians and the world, and promote the Society’s educational mission of expanding geographic knowledge and literacy. Lots of interesting ideas and strategies emerged and a follow-up meeting is slated for early Fall when one idea will be selected as an Edmonton Fellows outreach project.

Compass Rose Cocktail Party

Special guest, RCGS Fellow Dr. Wade Davis with Dr. Heidi Wyle

On May 21st, the Society held an extremely successful fundraising cocktail party, An Evening With Wade Davis, in Toronto.

Hosted by Fellow and Advancement Committee Member, Dr. Wendy Cecil, guests were treated to an evening of wonderful food, a new Compass Rose signature drink, and an inspirational talk by world-renowned anthropologist, ethnobiologist and author, Dr. Wade Davis, on the importance of geographical education.

Highlighted by a strong commitment of support made by Fellow Tom Kierans, revenue from the event has reached approximately $75,000, and looks to continue to grow through follow-up communication initiatives.

RCGS Fellow Kathryn McCain with Jaime Pyper
RCGS CEO John Geiger with Fellow Tom Kierans
Fellow Wade Davis with fellow Wendy Cecil who hosted the evening event. Wendy is holding a canoe paddle signed by Wade Davis.

Compass Rose Cocktail

Raspberries, fresh
Mint, fresh
Rose water
1 bottle pink champagne

Place several raspberries in the glass with fresh mint as garnish. Add 1 or 2 drops of rose water and tsp Amaretto to the glass, top with the chilled champagne, stir well.

Society Notes

Update on Fellows Committee

The Fellows Committee met on the 26th of June to review the nominations of a number of strong candidates for Fellowship.  As per those deliberations, the Committee is proud to note that 24 nominees will be invited to become new Fellows of the Society.

During its June 26th meeting, the Committee also discussed a number of Fellows initiatives that will be pursued in the upcoming year. Please stand by for an upcoming Fellows Survey, to be circulated in the fall, and for a Fellows event to be held in your area.

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. Completed nominations must be received by Sunday, August 31, 2014 to be considered.

Joseph Frey
Chair of the Fellows Committee

Andrew Campbell, Vice President - Parks Canada, Rear Admiral John Newton, Jim Balsillie and John Geiger met with the editorial boards of the Toronto Star and Macleans Magazine to talk about the 2014 search for the lost Franklin ships. (Photo: Joe Frey)

Your Society in the news

RCGS Assembles Private Partnership to Join Public Partners in 2014 Search for Franklin Ships
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society has again made national and international news, this time about the 2014 private partnership search team we assembled that incorporates the world’s most renowned authorities on Franklin, with the highest levels of excellence in Canadian technological innovation. The public and private sector collaboration is unprecedented in the history of the search for Franklin and is headed by Parks Canada. Members of the private partnership include: The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, One Ocean Expeditions, Shell Canada and the Arctic Research Foundation. The quality and expertise of this partnership is raising hopes that this year the Erebus and Terror might finally be found.

RCGS Receives Generous Donation on Behalf of The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall

RCGS President Paul Ruest being interviewed following Prime Minister Stephen Harper's announcement that the Government of Canada was making a gift to the RCGS in honour of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society was in the news recently with the announcement of the generous gift from Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, on their recent trip to Canada. The donation will help Canadian youth learn more about Canada and its geography.

Jill Heinerth Sells Out Society’s Spring Series Event
Jill Heinerth, the RCGS’s first-ever Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration winner was featured in the Ottawa Citizen and on CBC radio in advance of her speaking engagement at the Society’s Spring Series event at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum last April. Click here to read the Citizen’s story.

CGE Giant Floor Maps Continue to Attract Attention
Canadian Geographic Education and its programs continues to attract media attention especially when there’s a giant floor map that tells a story. The Canadian Boreal Forest Giant Floor map drew media attention on a recent western tour.

For more information about the Society’s media relations activities, please visit the Society’s News Room.

Strategic Partnerships

Partnerships are an effective way to gather critical mass and advance agendas. Several of the Society’s partnerships are doing just that in the area of geographic education. In conjunction with the Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG), the Society and its educational division, Canadian Geographic Education, convened an experts meeting in St. John’s last summer. At the conclusion of the meeting, the participants issued a statement and an action plan, Advancing Geographic Education for Canadians. Subsequently endorsed by a number of the Society’s other partners such as Esri Canada, the St. John’s Declaration continues to inspire and motivate those dedicated to the geographic and spatial literacy of Canadians.

The Declaration was the basis of a panel discussion at the CAG annual conference in May and informed the education component of the Pan-Canadian Geomatics Strategy Action and Implementation Planning meeting in June in Ottawa. The Pan-Canadian Geomatics Strategy is being elaborated as the road map to the future of the Canadian Geomatics Community Round Table, co-chaired by Fellow James Boxall.

Historic Notes

A look back to 85 years ago

On Feb. 13, 1929, when Dr. Charles Camsell and 27 other visionaries agreed to establish The Canadian Geographical Society, a loaf of bread and a litre of gasoline each cost less than a dime and the average house cost about $2,000. The membership fee to join the fledging Society was $3.00. Despite economic hardships, the appetite for information about Canada was so great that more than 25,000 people joined in the first year. However, both the Society and Canada struggled to survive the Great Depression, the most profound economic and social crisis of the 20th century. Now, as the RCGS celebrates its 85th anniversary, bread costs $2.74, a litre of gasoline is $1.35 and the average house costs $389,119. Membership in the Society is a modest $28.50 (plus tax). And, both the Society and Canada endeavour to move forward after the recent global financial crisis.

While some things change, others do not, even after 85 years. Our mandate “to make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world” remains constant and our motto “Love of my country leads me on” continues to guide us.

A Fellows Challenge for the 85th anniversary
Who is the Society’s oldest Fellow? Who is the longest serving Fellow?
With the Society’s 85th anniversary this year, we started asking a few questions about the College of Fellows. We think we have some answers, but we’re not 100% sure, so we challenge all of you to take the test. If you can beat these records, please inform Louise Maffett. Who knows, we may award prizes at the Fellows Dinner!

Our oldest Fellow — Ross MacKay of Vancouver, 99 years
Longest serving Fellow — Keith Fraser of Ottawa, since 1959
Brothers — Jules Blais of Ottawa and John Smol of Kingston
Father and Son — Morley Thomas and Steve Thomas of Toronto
Husbands and Wives — Anne Smith and Dick Mansfield of Kingston, Joan and Doug Heyland of Metcalfe ON, Ree Brennin and John Houston of Halifax

Program Notes

The Society’s programs are governed by committee members who mostly meet by teleconference. Starting with this edition of the Journal, these hard-working committee members will be listed for the information of all Fellows and in recognition of the essential contribution they make to the Society’s programs.

Advancement Committee

The Advancement Committee has continued to work towards strengthening the Society’s fundraising capacity, and this has led to some really positive results in the last quarter.

While the Society has seen real revenue growth from both events and online donations as a whole, what is really interesting has been the rapid growth of our Compass Rose Club. The Compass Rose Club was launched to recognize Society supporters who have donated at least $2,500 in a given fiscal year. Since reinvigorating the CRC this spring, we have already seen 15 new members join the program, putting us on a great start towards achieving 85 members by next summer.

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

2014 Massey Medal winner — Dr. Derald Smith
University of Calgary geographer Dr. Derald Smith was presented with the 2014 Massey Medal by Alberta Lieutenant-Governor Donald Ethell at a ceremony in Calgary in May. The Massey Medal was established to honour those who have contributed to the exploration, development or description of Canada’s geography. Dr. Smith earned an international reputation as the leading authority on anastomosing rivers — a distinct type of multi-channeled and stable river pattern found in low-gradient conditions such as deltas, but also for his pioneering work on ground-penetrating radar. His research has had a wide-ranging impact on a number of fields including ecology, biology, water management, engineering, geophysics and environmental protection. But perhaps his biggest influence has been on new generations of geo-literate citizens, because in every paper, project, lesson, and field trip, Smith emphasized the geographic imperative and spatial perspective that have allowed them to see the  “the Big Picture.”

Iain Wallace

2014 Camsell Medal winners — Chris Burn and Iain Wallace
Two veteran Society volunteers — Chris Burn and Iain Wallace — will receive Camsell Medals this year. Up to 2 medals may be awarded each year for outstanding service to the Society.

For the last 31 years, Iain Wallace, professor emeritus, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies of Carleton University, served the Society in a number of capacities. He was a member of the Research Grants Committee (also serving as its Chair), the Awards Committee, the Policy & Planning Committee and the Editorial Advisory Committee. In addition, he served on the Board of Governors from 1995 to 2000 and again from 2005 to 2010.

Chris Burn

Chris Burn, professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University, has been involved with the Society for 20 years. He has served on the Research Grants Committee (also serving as its Chair), the Policy & Planning Committee and the Nominating Committee (also serving as its Chair). Chris was on the Board of Governors from 2001 to 2009. He served on the Executive as the Society’s Vice-President from 2005 to 2009.

During the long period of their involvement, the Society benefited greatly from their expertise, wisdom and dedication. The Camsell Medals are well-deserved recognition for these two Fellows and their many contributions to the Society.

Nomination deadlines
Some of the Society’s 2014 medals and awards are still to be determined. The nomination deadlines are listed below. For more information on any of the medals and the nomination process, please click on the link.

Sir Christopher Ondaatje Exploration Medal — September 5
3M Environmental Innovation Award — September 12
Geographic Literacy Award — September 15
Innovation in Geography Teaching Award — September 15

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

As this school year has come to a close, Canadian Geographic Education is reaching more than 11,000 members with its innovative programming in Canadian classrooms.

The Geography Challenge ended in a nail-biting national final on April 17th, with Lucas Grande of Kitchener, Ontario being named the 2014 Canadian champion. Participation increased this year reaching 411 schools from coast to coast to coast. You can learn more about our junior geography whizzes at the Geography Challenge website.

The Classroom Energy Diet Challenge wrapped up at the end of April and prizes were awarded throughout May. This year’s Challenge had the highest participation yet resulting in a reduction in garbage of more than 2,000 kg and in a saving of more than 44 days’ worth of energy. The largest prize to date ($10,000 to Green Your School) was won by St. Mary’s School in Huntsville, Ont. The Top School award once again went to Duncan Cran Elementary School in Fort St. John, B.C. The ‘Most points’ prize this year went to Point Leamington Academy, in Point Leamington N.L. For a complete listing of prizes please visit

Photo: Jessica Toczko

Educator Resources
This summer CG Education is developing engaging inquiries for students which will complement the content of the June issue of Canadian Geographic and Géographica. CG Education will also make available a tiled map of Canada in 1914 to accompany the themed First World War issue of Canadian Geographic and Géographica (July/August). Thanks to our partners, CAPP and Parks Canada, these will be mailed out directly to CG Education members as well as made available online.

Giant Floor Maps
Giant Floor Maps continue to be very popular, with requests far exceeding availability. To help reduce that problem, CG Education is now offering school boards the opportunity to purchase copies of the Giant Floor Maps for their own use. We are pleased that the Peel School Board in Ontario has purchased two (Parks Canada: Places and Spaces for Everyone and Energy Production and Transmission) for exclusive use within their board.

CG Education is committed to providing professional development opportunities for Canadian teachers. We are pleased to have given a Phyllis Arnold Professional Development Award to Heather Dabrowski of Huntsville, ON, which will enable her to attend the Association for Experiential Education Conference in October. Through our partnership with the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society we are also able to send Zachary Vanthournout of Moncton, NB, to Project Atmosphere later this summer. A three-day summer institute ran July 15-18 in Ottawa for ten teachers who participated in the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge. From August 19-21, CG Education will be taking ten teachers to Fort McMurray to expand their energy literacy through an interactive professional development workshop. CG Education is thrilled to be able to offer these unique opportunities to its members.

The CG Education Executive is chaired by Governor Connie Wyatt Anderson of Le Pas. Members include James Boxall (Halifax), Jozsef Budai (Coquitlam), Geoff Buerger (Ulukhaktok, NT), Norm Catto (St. John’s), Chantal Déry (Gatineau), (Rob Langston (Brandon), Lynn Moorman (Calgary), Greg Neil (Calgary), John Trites (Berwick, NS) and Kim Wallace (Burlington).

Expeditions Committee

Sedna’s 2014 expedition route.

There’s a lot happening on the 2014-2016 Sedna Epic Expedition. On July 10 Team Sedna started their 15-day, action-packed expedition. After launching the expedition in St. John’s NFLD with some community outreach activities, Team Sedna departed Nain, Labrador and now the multi-faceted and ambitious Arctic expedition is underway. This expedition combines scientific ocean research and educational outreach to Inuit communities with a special focus on empowering women and girls. The 10-women expedition team includes female scientists, dive professionals, explorers and underwater moviemakers. The 2014 Sedna expedition is a proof of concept trip to prepare for their full 2016 expedition when they’ll tackle a 100-day Northwest Passage snorkel relay.

Before departing, Team Sedna delivered a free educational program using a mobile touch tank aquarium to raise awareness of ocean conservation at the Petty Harbour Aquarium in St. John’s. (Photo: Jill Heinerth)

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).

Research Grants Committee

After having reviewed 50 applications, the Research Grants Committee determined to award the following studentships and scholarships:

Dr. Charles Yonge: Completing research on ice caves in Alberta. Collecting ice and water samples for analysis, and also mapping the caves.

James Bourque Northern Geography:
Jonathan Luedee: Looking at an environmental history of the Porcupine Caribou's transboundary migration since 1900. 

James Maxwell Human Geography (two-way tie):
Andrew Longhurst: Institutional management of suburban poverty (focused on Surrey, BC) - geographic focus on poverty.

Dylan Simone: Analyzing immigrant indebtedness and socio-spatial polarization in Canadian cities.

Andrew Spring: Food security in the Northwest Territories.

Dasvinder Kambo: Fine-scale mechanisms of tree establishment and growth in an alpine forest-tundra eco-zone.

Sarah Nelson: Race, culture, identity, health: Understanding the challenges of service provision within urban Aboriginal health care services.

Brielle Beaudin: Metis food sovereignty in Manitoba: Perspectives from harvesters on traditional foods and Metis harvesting rights.

The Research Grants Committee is chaired by Governor Jody Decker of Waterloo. Members include 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, a passionate storyteller and river advocate, has possibly paddled more rivers in his lifetime than anyone else on this planet. Having paddled globally for over 40 years, he has sadly watched the decline of the rivers he loves. Journeying through some of the most pristine to most devastated rivers, Mark discovers and unveils the source of much destruction of these waters — industrial pollution.

Mark and Roger Williams are producing a feature-length documentary film called RiverBlue to help stem the pollution of all rivers with the aim of better protecting our vital waterways. During the past two years, they have been on an around-the-world river journey in the quest of learning more about the state of our waterways. In many ways, their global adventure was unprecedented and what they found was truly disturbing — in effect, a state of crisis.

Their entire trip was documented and forms the basis of the upcoming feature film, RiverBlue, due in theatres later this year. RiverBlue is one of the most ambitious and important river documentaries ever filmed. The movie speaks passionately about the need to protect all rivers, which are lifelines in the truest sense.

Shawn Atleo resigned as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations this May. He had been elected leader of the AFN in 2009 and was re-elected in 2012. He resigned over controversy of Bill C-33, the First Nations Control of the First Nations Education Act.

Linking conservation to culture is the theme of a documentary entitled Three Waters — A journey through the Salish Sea by Rob Butler and filmmaker Mike McKinlay. The trailer can be seen at Rob Butler was awarded a Wings Across the Americas statue from the US Forest Service for his role in establishing a 10-year research project to investigate changes in the numbers of shorebirds in North America. The Migratory Shorebird Project is a partnership with groups in North, Central and South America led by Point Blue in California.

Rob also became Chair of Vancouver’s Bird Advisory Committee which is developing guidelines for urban development to accommodate the needs of birds and directs the popular annual Bird Week events in the city.

Allen Clarke of Toronto and wife Jacqueline Tilford, recently transited the Panama Canal to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of its opening. In preparation for the trip they read McMullough’s definitive book on the building of the Panama Canal, “Path between the Seas”. In Salvador they bought real Panama hats like the one Teddy Roosevelt made famous on his 1906 visit to Panama. Braving dust storms on the Sechura Desert, the coastal desert of Peru, they visited the Pre-Incan Moche Temples of the Sun and Moon before jumping over the Andes into the headwaters of the Peruvian Amazon. To their great delight they were fortunate to see both species of fresh water River Dolphin, the Blue Grey and the Pink. Even better further up stream deep in the primordial Amazonian forest, Allen made a new friend. Notice the similarity in their smiles.

Phil Dearden of the University of Victoria recently gave an opening Keynote Address titled “Marine Protected Areas: Anchors for Ocean Sustainability, Platforms for Community Development?” at the 5th World Ecotourism Conference, Cebu, Philippines, Feb 19-22. The 5th World Ecotourism Conference under the theme — “Marine and Coastal Ecotourism: Oceans of Uncertainties, Waves of Opportunities” provided a strategic podium for high level ecotourism experts, proponents, practitioners, stakeholders, legislators, educators and consultants to network and share among their peers their knowledge and experiences with coastal communities in developing nations. Professor Dearden, Leader of the Marine Protected Areas Research Group at the University of Victoria, reviewed the declining health of global marine ecosystems and the ecosystem services that support coastal livelihoods. One of the main tools to address these declines is marine protected areas (MPAs) if they are planned and implemented in an effective manner. Professor Dearden drew on his global experience in this area to illustrate some of the potential for MPAs to contribute to marine conservation and assist in enhancing coastal community livelihoods.

Elizabeth Dowdeswell, O.C., was named Lieutenant Governor of Ontario June 25, 2014. Ms. Dowdeswell has had a number of successful careers in public policy, the energy industry, education and the public service. She is currently the President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies. Prior to that, Ms. Dowdeswell was the founding President and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto, the Under Secretary General of the United Nations, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, and Executive Director of UN-Habitat.

Ms. Dowdeswell is an internationally-recognized executive who is actively involved in community service aimed at promoting a healthy environment, sustainable energy and development, and a better quality of education both at home and abroad. Lieutenant Governors are appointed by His Excellency the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. They serve five-year terms, during which they act as their provinces' vice-regal representatives.

James Fleck

The 2013 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal of Distinction in Public Administration, which is Ontario’s highest honour for public service was presented to Dr. James D. Fleck in May. Awarded annually, this prestigious medal recognizes an individual who has shown distinguished leadership in public administration, or who, by writings and other endeavours, has made a significant contribution in the field of public administration in Ontario.  The selection criteria includes leadership, innovation and creativity, accomplishment and impact, dedication and sustained effort, and contribution to the profession and the community.  Jim Fleck has demonstrated excellence in all of these areas during his distinguished and varied career.

Après deux ans d'attente, Jean Fournier se rend à la base d'Alert au Nunavut pour y passer quelques jours. C'est une permission très rare pour un civil et il ne voulait rien manquer. Il a passé une semaine entre le 13 et 20 juin 2014. Il a tout visité ce qui s'était permis de regarder. Il a été fasciné de constater comment une base aussi éloignée pouvait opérer dans des conditions extrêmes. Le personnel d'Alert composé de près de 120 travailleurs en haute saison, soit des deux tiers de civils et du tiers de militaires se plaisent à dire que nous sommes plus prêt de Moscou que d'Ottawa.

Ayant vécu le soleil au zénith à la journée longue, c'est une donnée avec laquelle les gens qui y travaillent doivent s'habituer même si certains préfèrent la période de l'année où c'est la pleine nuit. À sa grande surprise, il y avait une meute de loups blancs de l'Arctique qui vivait autour de la base se permettant même d'accompagner les travailleurs dans leur marche entre les bâtiments. Nous avons eu la visite de deux ours polaires de même que de magnifiques lapins de l'Arctique. Environnement Canada qui y a des employés sur place l'a invité à lancer un de leurs ballons sonde de météo. Il conserve un souvenir merveilleux à la fois des gens qui y travaillent et de ce site tout-à-fait exceptionnel pour le Canada.

Sur la photo, Jean Fournier est accompagné du Major Sylvain Bélanger, pilote d'hélicoptères de l'Escadron 438 de St-Hubert au Québec.

Evan Fraser of the University of Guelph and Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security has been doing some popular writing on topics relating to food and food security. He recently posted an article Are More Food Protests around the corner? on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria’s website. He and Elizabeth Fraser, who is completing her MA in Global Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs at the University of Waterloo, posted an article 10 things you need to know about the global food system on the Guardian website.

Shelagh Grant of Peterborough received an honorary Doctor of Letters (D. Litt) from Trent University on June 5th. Wade Davis of B.C. also received an honorary degree from Trent the same day.

Geoff Green

Educator and expedition leader Geoff Green of Chelsea, QC, has been appointed to the Order of Canada. Geoff founded Students on Ice, a program that groups young people from around the world with diverse leaders and experts on polar expeditions, fourteen years ago. He has brought together youth from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds as a means of nurturing a heightened understanding and respect for the planet’s ecosystems and the inspiration to protect it.

The extraordinary photographs of Richard Harrington, Norman Hallendy and Jimmy Manning appeared in the major exhibition “Arctic Exposure” May 3 - June 1 at the McMichael Gallery of Canadian Art.  Hallendy’s photographs of “inuksuit” are particularly arresting. They are part of a 2009 donation to the McMichael of over 7,000 colour images. These photographs speak to the life and activities of the Inuit who inhabit Canada’s most remote and inhospitable environments. — See more at:

Lorie Karnath and Tim Lavery co-founders of The Explorers Museum announced that Sir Ranulph Fiennes has become a patron to the organization. The Explorers Museum will hold their inaugural gala on September 6th at Belvedere House and Gardens as well as their first film festival at Charleville Castle, Ireland over the September 6-7th weekend. Charleville Castle, the birthplace of explorer Charles Howard-Bury and location from which he launched the first reconnaissance expedition to Everest, serves as the museum's global expedition base. Belvedere was the longtime residence of Howard-Bury.

In April, Martin Kennedy joined the Alberta Public Service to lead the Public Affairs Bureau. Premier Hancock announced his appointment to the Executive Council as Deputy Chief, PAB. The PAB helps government communicate with Albertans by assigning staff to communication branches across government, develops communications for government's long-term strategic plans and priority initiatives, coordinates advertising and corporate identity programs, and provides Albertans with two-way access to government through central communications and information resources. Martin is honoured to be taking on this opportunity after 11 years leading communications within Capital Power and EPCOR.

On June 19, 2014 Helen Kerfoot, former Executive Secretary of the Geographic Names Board of Canada, received Natural Resources Canada’s 2014 Departmental Achievement Award for her outstanding career achievement. This prestigious award is given to carefully selected individuals or groups who have made a significant contribution to the department.

Dave MacLean of the Centre of Geographic Sciences at the Nova Scotia Community College has been working with Reid Wiseman, an astronaut now on the International Space Station, and Esri towards an online map showing tweets about and pictures of the Station as it goes overhead. People contribute simply by sending a tweet with their town and country (or province) and the hashtag #SpotTheStation (pictures optional); the map automatically updates. The project went live on 4 June when Reid tweeted about the map “see the Station. Send a tweet with your location and #spotthestation, and we’ll map it!” from the Station. There are entries from all around the world. Want to contribute? One manner to know when the Station will be overhead is and here’s a sample, “Just saw it last night!! #SpotTheStation Winnipeg, MB can't wait to see it again tonight! #ISS #NASA #Spaaaaacce!”. Many have included time-lapse photos or even vine videos. To view the map, visit

In March 2012, RCGS Fellow Dr. Joe MacInnis served as expedition physician for Canadian James Cameron's solo dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Deepsea Challenger submersible. Deepsea Challenge 3D is a film depicting the historic expedition and premiers in New York City on August 8. 

Paul Miller of North Carolina is going to be Artist in Residence with National Geographic, and will be going to the Arctic Circle with the Sierra Club. He also just shot a music video in Korea.

For the first time ever, in the Canadian Arctic, Baffin Island’s remote Auyuittuq National Park (through the Akshayuk Pass) has been traversed by mountain bike. Pulling a loaded sled, adventurer David Reid travelled solo and unsupported, taking 10 days to bike the entire remote route. The expedition was successfully completed with Reid cycling into the small Inuit community of Pangnirtung under blue skies and perfect conditions on April 13, 2014. Riding a Borealis fat-tire bike, Reid started biking in early April to avoid any potential melting or slush, and to take advantage of the frozen rivers and lakes. Conditions were challenging throughout with at times -25C temperatures, fierce winds and lack of snow.

Stuart Semple of Nova Scotia has been meeting in Australia with people involved with geography in its new National Curriculum. Geography will be a compulsory subject, stand-alone, conceptually structured and place-based. In New South Wales, which most closely resembles Ontario in providing geographical education, the subject will be compulsory to grade 10 and optional in grades 11 and 12. The Geography Teachers’ Association of NSW (the equivalent of the Ontario Association for Geography and Environmental Education) is organizing seminars to prepare teachers for it. In other states, where geography has been less emphasized or there is a shortage of qualified teachers, it is likely to be compulsory to grade 8.

The Australians were pleased to see Canada’s St. John’s Declaration developed by the RCGS and Canadian Association of Geographers. As implementation of the declaration proceeds, opportunities could abound for ongoing and formal dialogue, and even visitor exchanges. Geographic educators in the two countries can learn much from each other.

During the month of July, Olav Slaymaker, professor emeritus of the University of British Columbia, will be conducting a group of 25 Austrian students from the Department of Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna across the Canadian Cordillera from Vancouver to Whitehorse and from Victoria to Banff and Jasper. The field trip marks the culmination of a Spring Semester course of lectures and class assignments under the direction of Professor Embleton-Hamann in Vienna and entitled Physical Geography of the Canadian Cordillera.

Cedar Swan of Adventure Canada was named one of 75 Women For Nature by Nature Canada. In celebration of Nature Canada's 75th anniversary, this initiative brings together the leadership, experience and passion of amazing women across Canada who are committed to nature conservation. Cedar joins a select group that includes other RCGS Fellows Margaret Atwood and Michelle Valberg.

Vanishing Point, a documentary film directed by Alberta filmmakers and environmental scientists Stephen A. Smith and Julia Szucs, chronicled life in the Arctic for two remote communities linked by a migration from Baffin Island to Greenland. Production of the film took Smith and Szucs four years. The film was nominated for best feature documentary at the 2nd Canadian Screen Awards this year.

Dr. Taylor was the 2012 recipient of the 3M Environmental Innovation Award, presented by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Carleton University professor Fraser Taylor was among 10 recipients of a 2014 Killam Award. These national awards, funded and administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, celebrate Canada’s most distinguished researchers in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering. Dr. Taylor is the recipient of the $100,000 Killam Prize in the Social Sciences. This is the first time the Killam Prize has been awarded to a cartographer and recognizes Dr. Taylor’s international leadership and outstanding contributions in cartography and geography in Canada and around the world.

Jean Thie of Wakefield, QC has become the Chair of the Arctic Ecosystem Management Task Force of the Commission on Ecosystem Management of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). He would welcome any inquiries from fellows who have an interest in joining working groups of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystems Management.

Heather Bruce-Veitch, President of CIM Newfoundland Branch, presented the Geoscientist of the Year award to Derek Wilton.

Derek Wilton of Memorial University won the Geoscientist of the Year award at the annual Mineral Resources Review Conference and Trade Show in St. John’s, Newfoundland in November 2013. Dr. Wilton is a recognized expert on mineral deposits and their environments in Newfoundland and Labrador. His research into exploration applications for innovative biogeochemical techniques has global implications and is now being used in other parts of Canada and throughout the world.  The methodology has the potential to become standard in the explorers toolbox and may lead to the next generation of mineral discoveries.

Ray Zahab and his impossible2Possible initiative is about to head out on their next Youth expedition! All of the programs are 100% free for youth on the expeditions and for participating schools! As a matter of fact anyone can follow the expedition which began May 12 in the Atacama Desert. The website is On this expedition, an international team of i2P Youth Ambassadors will run approximately 250km of the 1200km route which Ray ran when he crossed the Atacama in 2011. On their running journey this team will learn about Astronomy and the Origins of the Universe with our educational team. Every youth expedition has a different curriculum attached to the adventure! There will be several live video conferences from the desert into schools around the globe as well! For more comprehensive information, visit the website.

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


Acclaimed Canadian author Farley Mowat passed away in May, a few days short of his 93 birthday. Mowat was one of the giants of Canadian literature. He authored over 40 books, selling 17 million copies which were translated into 52 languages. Some of his most famous works focused on the Canadian North, such as "People Of The Deer" (1952) and "Never Cry Wolf" (1963). Mowat was a lifelong advocate of indigenous people's rights. He was also not shy about speaking out on many controversial environmental and social issues.

Read more about Farley Mowat at the Canadian Geographic blog.

Derald Smith of the University of Calgary, the 2014 Massey Medal winner, passed away in June following a brief battle with cancer.

Canadian Geographic Notes

FALL (September) 2014 Canadian Geographic Travel

A celebration of the best of autumn travel, including features on houseboating on the Saint John’s River, an exclusive photo essay of heli-hiking in B.C.’s Bugaboo Mountains and RCGS Fellow Todd Babiak writes about his trip to Kenya. Plus, exploring Montana’s best fall spots, surfing in B.C., and the country’s best haunted places.


Preparations are underway to create a special interest publication that would be published in the immediate aftermath of a find of the Franklin ships this summer. The issue will naturally include inside details of the find, as well as tons of Franklin maps, facts, photos and more, to celebrate this momentous occasion.


In conjunction with the summer 2014 issue of Canadian Geographic Travel, our new enhanced digital edition was launched. It boasts numerous interactive features that expand on the great content from the print edition. Also, in early May, Canadian Geographic launched a new photo blog.

Society Calendar
no meetings scheduled
4th 2 pm Nominating Committee
10th 11 am Advancement Committee
11th 8 pm CG Education Conference Call re Lit. Award
24th 1 pm Fellows Committee
25th 2 pm Expeditions — Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal
30th 2 pm Environmental Inovation Jury
2nd 2 pm Awards (Bergmann)
7th 2 pm Environmental Innovation Jury
9th 10 am Audit
16th 10 am RCGS Board to approve Audited Fin. Statements
22nd 9 am CGE Management Board
29th 10 am Finance Committee
29th noon Executive Committee
19th 8:30 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

Share this page
   Copyright © 2019 The Royal Canadian Geographical Society SITEMAP  |   CONTACT  |   PRIVACY POLICY  |   TERMS OF USE  |   FRANÇAIS