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Fellows Journal

Spring 2017

Dr. Roberta Bondar named RCGS Honorary Vice-President

(Photo: Tom Sandler)
(Photo: Tom Sandler)

RCGS President Gavin Fitch has announced the appointment of Dr. Roberta Bondar as Honorary Vice-President, a very special honour of the Society, one reserved for remarkable people who have made very significant contributions not only to geography, but to the country.

The announcement was made on April 18 in Toronto, at a luncheon hosted by Society Vice President Dr. Wendy Cecil, and attended by, among others, Explorer-in-Residence Jill Heinerth, Fellow Adam Shoalts, and former Governor Kathy McCain.

The appointment of Dr. Bondar by the Board of Governors comes on the 25th anniversary of her mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery (Mission STS-42, January 22 to 30, 1992). With that historic flight she became the world’s first neurologist in space, the second Canadian and first Canadian woman in space. Dr. Bondar's remarkable contributions extend to her medical career and to her renowned work as a photographer. For complete coverage click here.

Gavin Fitch said of Dr. Bondar, "such are her achievements that she is, if anything, overqualified for the role."

The title of Honorary VP has existed since the RCGS was founded in 1929. The first was Arthur Philemon Coleman, a geologist and explorer who between 1884 and 1908 made eight expeditions to the Canadian Rockies. He was followed by, among others, Gen. A.G.L. McNaughton, Chief of the General Staff from 1929 to 1935, President of the National Research Council and Canada’s first Ambassador to the United Nations, and Dr. John Tuzo Wilson, geophysicist and geologist who achieved worldwide acclaim for his contributions to the theory of plate tectonics. 

Attenborough awarded RCGS Gold

(Photo: Paul Glen)
(Photo: John Geiger)

Broadcasting legend Sir David Attenborough has been presented with the RCGS's Gold Medal in recognition of his more than 50 years as the voice and face of the BBC’s natural history programming. The medal ceremony and Q&A session (between Attenborough and BBC presenter Dan Snow, an RCGS Fellow) drew 150 people to Canada House in central London, U.K., among them past Society medallists such as Michael Palin and other London-based Fellows. Board Members Gavin Fitch, President, and Wendy Cecil, Vice President, also attended the reception.

“In the last century, there is no one who has said or done more than Sir David to bring the importance of geography and the environment into the public consciousness,” said RCGS CEO John Geiger. “He has altered the world for the better, awakening generations to the wonder that is planet Earth.”

Click here for the full story, or watch a video of Sir David's chat with Dan Snow here.

Dr. Rita Gardner, Managing Director of the Royal Geographical Society and RCGS Fellow, with André Prefontaine, Chief Development Officer of RCGS.
Aaron Lawton, Cathy Lawton (of One Ocean Expeditions) and Sir David Attenborough (Photo: John Geiger)

Can Geo Talks 2017

Where the clouds can go, by Ivan Petrov.

Ottawa première of “Hobnails and Hemp Rope,” a documentary recounting the Bugaboo Spire Centennial Climb, a 2016 RCGS-funded expedition

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) in association with the ByTowne Cinema are pleased to present the Ottawa première of "Hobnails and Hemp Rope," a documentary about the Bugaboo Spire Centennial Climb Project. This Can Geo Talks event follows the adventures of four Ontario climbers as they set out to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first known ascent of British Columbia’s Purcell Mountains’ Bugaboo Spire, in July 2016. To celebrate the Alpine Club of Canada's first professional mountain guide, Conrad Kain, and his 1916 expedition, the modern-day climbers faithfully used only mountaineering equipment from the early 1900s - wooden ice axes, a hemp rope, hobnail-soled boots, a canvas tent and vintage woolen clothing - to camp and climb the spire in the same manner as 100 years before. The 2016 team did make one exception, however, for the very upper section of the climb which was deemed too unsafe to face today with historic gear.

Greg Gransden, director of "Hobnails and Hemp Rope" and Bryan Thompson, expedition leader, will be on hand to answer audience questions after the screening. A stunning collection of Ivan Petrov’s expedition photography will be on display, along with vintage mountaineering gear and the research materials used on the project. The Ottawa screening is part of a cross-Canada tour to celebrate Canada’s 150th. See the film trailer here:

DATE: Thursday, May 25th, 2016 from 
TIME: 7:00 PM – 8:45 PM EDT
LOCATION: ByTowne Cinema, 325 Rideau St., Ottawa, ON 

Get your tickets now!


Canada’s 150th anniversary is a time for celebration and reflection and a milestone that aligns perfectly with the Society’s mission to make Canada better known to Canadians and to the world. With a nod to the past, the Society got out in front of the sesquicentennial celebration with a special interest publication, “A Story of Canada in 150 Objects” on newsstands in January. This lively magazine, a joint initiative of Canadian Geographic and The Walrus, identifies 150 objects, achievements and events that reflect directly on what defines the country and its citizens.

Canadian Geographic marks the 150th

This special interest publication is the first in the dedicated editorial line-up for Canadian Geographic in 2017 – six themed issues of the magazine – examining timely and topical issues through a broad geographical lens. The final issue in 2017 (November-December) will be dedicated to Canada’s Indigenous peoples. It is timed to appear with the “Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada,” a ground-breaking project led by the Society in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Métis National Council, Indspire and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Funded as a Canada 150 Signature Project, the Atlas project, with its many educational elements, offers the potential for contributing to a deeper understanding of Canada from pre-contact to the present and for resetting the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.

Canada’s Coming of Age – The Battle of Vimy Ridge

(Photo: Alexandra Pope)
(Photo: Alexandra Pope)

From April 8-11, the Society participated in activities to commemorate the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in France. Over the course of two days, more than 8,000 Canadian high school students explored our Drawn to Victory and Vimy Ridge giant floor maps at EF Tours' experiential education hub in Arras. A delegation including the Canadian Geographic Education team was on hand to lead the students in activities on the maps. The two maps are part of A Nation Soars, a multimedia partnership project commemorating Canada's First World War aviators and their contributions to the evolution of cartography. 

Canada’s Centre for Geography and Exploration Opens for Summer 2017

In June, the Society will open the doors to 50 Sussex Drive, Canada’s Centre for Geography and Exploration, welcoming the public to view two specially designed exhibits. The first exhibit will feature an important art installation by renowned indigenous artist Alex Janvier, while the second exhibit, a joint initiative with the National Capital Commission, takes a look at the future of Canada’s capital. The free exhibitions will be on display from June through September at 50 Sussex Drive. When the exhibitions close, renovations will resume on the building in time for the Society to move to its new location in summer 2018.

Canada’s Centre for Geography and Exploration is being designed to facilitate on-site and distance learning through partnerships with some of Canada’s foremost leaders in innovation and technology. In the meantime, Canadian Geographic Education continues to offer a wide-ranging program in support of geographic and geospatial literacy such as the Canadian Geographic Challenge, Classroom Energy Diet Challenge, the Explorer-in-Residence and the giant floor maps.

Can Geo Education in UK and France, and Jill Heinerth's tour!

Canadian Geographic Education's programs continue to evolve and expand, including unprecedented impact beyond Canada's borders. Internationally, the Canada-UK Foundation is managing an oversubscribed tour of the Arctic Circumpolar Map to schools in the London area. Can Geo Education worked with British teachers to develop curriculum and culturally specific materials. As part of the program, this map will be featured in Trafalgar Square on Canada Day for thousands of people to explore.

Next soon in France, Can Geo Education had more than 9,500 students and teachers filter through the Artois Expo in Arras, France as part of EF tours commemoration programming of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Students had remarkable experiences tracking journeys of soldiers they had studied on the two giant floor maps right next to one of Vimy Flight's replica biplanes. A once in a life time experience for sure!

In February, we celebrated the completion by RCGS Explorer-in-Residence Jill Heinerth of a tour of Canada that has taken her to schools in five provinces, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. In all, Jill spoke to nearly 5,000 students in person, and many others through online interactions, and the response has been outstanding, with words like “entranced”, “captivated”, and “inspired” used by teachers to describe Jill’s impact on students.

Not only that, but two dozen media organizations, including CTV, CBC, Global television, as well as radio stations and newspapers covered the tour. So Jill’s message, about the important work of the RCGS, about geography, about the importance of water, about exploration, about engineering, about scientific discovery, and about great individual courage, reached a far broader audience than in the schools alone. So congratulations Jill! We would like to acknowledge the tremendous support of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, and in particular our Fellow Claudia Hepburn, without whose vision and passionate support Jill’s tour would not have happened.

The National Final of the Can Geo Challenge is on June 3-5, 2017 in Ottawa, ON. Twenty of Canada's best geography students from all across Canada will compete in three rounds. This year, Fellows from across Canada have helped write questions and record video questions for the live National Final. To see who the national finalists are and to learn more about how to attend the live Final on June 5, 2017 at the Canadian War Museum, visit the challenge website.


RCGS CEO John Geiger, former First Lady Rosalyn Carter, Fellow Arthur Milnes, President Jimmy Carter, and Alvaro Geiger in Plains, Georgia. (Photo: Bobby Ellis)

Former United States President Jimmy Carter was presented with the Society's Lawrence J. Burpee Medal, and officially became an Honorary Fellow of the RCGS, at a brief ceremony in his hometown of Plains, Georgia, on February 19. Fellow Arthur Milnes, a veteran of many visits to Plains and a scholar of both the Canadian Prime Ministership and U.S. Presidency, joined CEO John Geiger to make the presentation. The citation cited "the vision and political courage of President Carter" for his efforts to protect natural spaces in the U.S., particularly Alaska, and praised the President's "example of moral leadership".

Committee updates

Fellows Committee

The Fellows Committee will be meeting in June to begin reviewing new nominations for the College of Fellows.   All Fellows are encouraged to help grow the College by submitting nominations.
If you know someone who is helping to make Canada better known to Canadians and can contribute to the Society, please fill out the nomination form by clicking here.

Advancement Committee

The Advancement Committee continues to provide strategic advice on the Society’s overall fundraising strategy, as it helps guide the Society towards a fundraising model with a primary emphasis on major and designated gifts. 

In this capacity, the Committee has provided leadership on the development of the Society’s first fundraising policy document, “Statement of Fund Development Principles”, and is actively helping to grow Society partnerships and Compass Rose Club membership.
In addition, the Committee continues to encourage all Fellows of the RCGS to become donors, in a way that they are most comfortable.  To learn more about what donation options are available to you, or for more information about how to join our exclusive Compass Rose Club Program, please contact Jason Muscant, Director of Advancement at (613)745-4629 ex. 139, or via e-mail at

Expeditions Committee

This year, the Expeditions Committee met to review a record number of grant applications submitted to the Society for potential funding.  With the number and quality of applications submitted, this year’s selection of funded expeditions was extremely competitive.  In the end, the following four expeditions were selected for funding:

Expedition of the Year

The Enduring Ice Project, Stephen Smith
To tell the story of the last of the Arctic’s sea ice, Stephen will lead a small team north to kayak its most dynamic strait, a narrow ice-choked passageway separating Canada and Greenland. Setting out five hundred miles from the North Pole, the paddlers explore and document the ice on their southbound navigation to the northernmost village of Greenland. Their goal is to investigate the breakdown of a frozen ocean; their vision is to make the Arctic tangible.

Major Expedition

Boothia & Beyond, John Dunn
John will undertake a 70 day, 1100km south-north skiing and hiking traverse of the Boothia Peninsula and Somerset Island - from the mouth of the Back River to the shore of Lancaster Sound.

Women’s Major Expedition

500 Days in the Wild, Dianne Whelan
Using only human-powered transportation, Diane will hike, bike, paddle and snow shoe the 23000km Trans Canada Trail.  In completing her trek, she will be the first person to do the TC Trail including the 7000km of water routes.

Seed Project

Chrysalis Expedition, Journey from the Monarch Icefield to the Pacific Ocean, Dave Pearson

The objective of Dave’s expedition is to explore the Monarch Icefield south of Bella Coola on skis in search of first descents and wide open spaces as he moves toward the transition point and descends to the head of the Talchako River. He will then navigate the Talchako to the Bella Coola River at the confluence with the Atnarko River, and then to the ocean port at Bella Coola, completing a 100km float from source to saltwater.


(Photo: Tom Sandler)

To celebrate Canada’s 150th , Adam Shoalts is embarking on a 5 month journey alone across Canada’s Arctic, crossing 4000 kilometers on foot, by packraft, and canoe. He will start the 2017 Trans-Canadian Arctic Expedition in May on the international border between Canada and Alaska and finish on the saltwater of Hudson Bay by late September. The journey will take him over mountains, up rivers, across tundra, through subarctic forest, and down wild waterways in the heart of the world’s greatest wilderness. Adam will carry the RCGS Compass Rose Flag on the expedition, as well as the Honorary President's Flag, presented by Alex Trebek. Adam was feted at a lunch in Toronto in early April, where he met new Society Honorary Vice-President Dr. Roberta Bondar, and several key supporters. Help make this dream a reality by donating to the fundraising campaign. Even small amounts can help…and check Canadian Geographic and its social media platforms for updates of his progress. Or on facebook where you can “like” the Adam Shoalts page to stay up-to-date.


This honour celebrates Canada’s northern heritage and recognizes an individual for contributions to the exploration, knowledge, and sovereignty of the Canadian north.

Dr. David Hik

In December 2016, Governor General David Johnston presented Dr. David Hik with the Canadian Polar Medal. “I am honoured and I hope that I’ve made some small contribution,” Hik said in accepting his award. “Issues in the north need more attention, and we have to keep pushing and pushing and pushing to move our focus northward and shift Canada’s centre of gravity.” 

Dr. David Hik, professor with the department of biological sciences at the University of Alberta, has been instrumental in fostering international collaboration on Arctic issues and the development of extensive research networks. Through his sustained and innovative work on understanding tundra ecosystems in the Arctic and alpine environments, he has greatly contributed to strengthening Canada’s research presence in the North.

Dr. Peter Suedfeld

Dr. Peter Suedfeld, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia, was also awarded Canada’s Polar Medal from Governor General David Johnston in December 2016. Dr. Suedfeld has conducted field research in both polar regions. Principally interested in understanding both the pathogenic and salutogenic psychological effects associated with isolation in polar stations, he has provided key insights into the leadership styles and personality characteristics of individuals who thrive in such extreme conditions.

Jill Heinerth

On March 9th His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, presented Jill Heinerth, the Society’s inaugural Explorer-in-Residence, with the Polar Medal at a ceremony in London, Ontario. Jill Heinerth, considered one of the most accomplished explorers and underwater cave divers in the world, was acknowledged for her excellence at this high-risk activity and her unparalleled skill. Her work has helped researchers unlock the history of climate change while broadening our understanding of the underwater ecosystems present in both the Arctic and the Antarctic.

Fellows in the news

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


Fellow Mark Angelo, a member of the RiverBlue Team, reports that since the RiverBlue film’s release in October 2016, it has been screened across Canada and the U.S., as well as in India. The film received the Best Documentary Award at the Eugene Film Festival and at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards, with additional Best Documentary and Impact Award nominations at Blue Ocean Film Festival and the Vancouver International Film Festival. In 2017 RiverBlue will be screened in Florida, California, New York, New Zealand, Yukon, British Columbia, Australia. A list of screenings may be found on the website: and an on-line release is scheduled for later this year.

BONDAR, Roberta

Gold medalist, Fellow and new Honorary Vice-President Roberta Bondar, OC,  was profiled in various media on the occasion of the 25-year milestone of being Canada’s first woman in space. In one article, Gilles Leclerc, director general of space exploration at the Canadian Space Agency is quoted as saying that Bondar was a pioneer and did Canada proud. "She was a renaissance woman. We were extremely proud, and still are of her contribution to the space program," said Leclerc. The article adds that after her flight, Bondar became head of an international space medicine team working with NASA to look at various aspects of human physiology changes in space flight and on recovery. In late January, Dr. Bondar received a Rotary Lifetime Achievement in recognition of her accomplishments in the fields of space medicine, fine art photography, environment education and volunteerism. She was lauded as a continuous role model for youth and truly one of Canada’s great heroes.

CAMERON, Christina and PROSPER, Lisa

In late December, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, announced the members of a new Ministerial Advisory Committee charged with reviewing applications from the public for Canada’s next set of possible UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Ministerial Advisory Committee is composed of six Canadians that are experts in natural and cultural heritage conservation and commemoration in Canada. The Committee is to be chaired by Dr. Christina Cameron. She will be joined on the Committee by Mr. Derek Thompson, Mr. George Greene, Dr. Lisa Prosper, Dr. Shabnam Inanloo Dailoo, and Guujaaw. Drs. Cameron and Prosper are Fellows of the RCGS.

CAMU, Pierre

CEO John Geiger, who served as the 13th President of the RCGS before assuming his current role, with the 7th President of the RCGS, Dr. Pierre Camu. They met on February 7th at a luncheon held at the Rideau Club, Ottawa, featuring remarks by Paul LaBarge, Chair of the Trans Canada Trail.


In December 2016, Canadian Arctic scientist Dr. John England was honoured with the Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research. Dr. England, professor emeritus in the department of earth and atmospheric sciences at the University of Alberta, is a well-known advocate for the importance of northern science and value of the Canadian Arctic landscape. His work has captured 18,000 years of glacial and sea level history extending to the modern day. “Dr. England has left an unprecedented mark on the Canadian Arctic, unearthing new information that not only re-evaluates glacial history, but draws attention to the impact of climate change,” says Geordie Dalglish, director of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and chair of its Northern Committee, and RCGS Fellow.

Dr. England was presented with the $50,000 Prize at ArcticNet’s 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting, the largest annual gathering of Arctic researchers in Canada, held this year in Winnipeg.  In addition to the $50,000 Prize, this year The W. Garfield Weston Foundation will be funding a Postdoctoral Fellowship to conduct research under Dr. England, and providing additional funds to engage local First Nations and Inuit communities.


Artist Kathy Haycock will be a member of a panel discussion organized by the South of 60 Arts Centre on “Belonging – Three Perspectives on Canada’s North.” The event is scheduled for March 30th in Barry’s Bay. Kathy will be joined on the panel by RCGS Fellow James Raffan and scientist Eva Kruemmel. The panelists will give a presentation on their connection with the Arctic and then participate in a discussion on geographical and cultural issues. One of Kathy’s paintings, Bylot Island Coast Study, will be on display.


While undertaking a project in Abaco (Bahamas), RCGS Fellow and Explorer-in-Residence Jill Heinerth compiled a series of videos that can be viewed at She also completed three “Explorer Classroom” sessions via satellite from the field with students from Guelph to Victoria and Brampton to Los Angeles… and points throughout North America. RCGS Fellow Joe Grabowski, Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants, facilitated the free participation of the schools.

Jill reported that the six days in the Bahamas were filled with local school kids learning about diving, island biogeography, bush medicine, paleontology, climate change, mapping and survey, augmented reality and many new technologies. Her favorite moment from the project was when the kids used the cave radio tracking beacon to find that we had put a location device inside the cave in a spot directly below the porta potty. The reactions were priceless.

HEPBURN, Claudia

Fellow Claudia Hepburn has been appointed the first Chief Executive Officer of Immigrant Access Fund Canada (IAF), a national charity dedicated to helping skilled immigrants, including refugees, succeed in Canada’s labour market. IAF achieves this by providing micro loans of up to $10,000 for the costs of the licensing/training newcomers need to work in their field in Canada.Ms. Hepburn is a widely recognized Canadian leader in the field of human capital development.


From left to right: Robin Brooks, George Kourounis FRCGS, Jessica Phillips FRCGS

The Fading Bloodlines Expedition team have returned from western Myanmar and it was a tremendous success. In the 1960’s the cultural practice of tattooing the faces of young girls was banned by the government and the few remaining women are now dying off, taking the disappearing art form and social tradition with them. The team interviewed 184 of these “tattooed grannies” in the remote villages of Chin and Rakhine state. The information they collected is currently being compiled and translated into Burmese as a permanent record of the practice.


Christopher McCreery has two new books out marking the 50th anniversary of the Order of Canada. Fifty Years Honouring Canadians; The Order of Canada 1967-2017 (Dundurn Press) and The Order of Canada: Genesis of an Honours System (University of Toronto Press). The second edition of The Order of Canada continues the celebration of the order. Christopher McCreery sheds new light on the development of Canadian honours in the early 1930s, the imposed prohibition on honours from 1946 to 1967, and new details on those who have been removed or resigned from the Order. Extensively illustrated, The Order of Canada pays tribute to the individuals who felt the need for a system of recognition for Canadians. Indeed, the order’s history is as fascinating as the more than four thousand Canadians who have received it. The book is scheduled to appear in June 2017.


"Let's invite Scotland to join Canada." The idea began as a 170-word blog post. When that got traction, RCGS fellow Ken McGoogan offered to write a 600-word version for the Globe and Mail. Opinions editor Natasha Hassan said yes: "I knew right away it was Internet gold." The Globe story exploded into cyberspace, inspiring commentaries not just in Scotland and the UK, but in Spain, Estonia, Brazil, China. McGoogan is still shaking his head: "BBC, CTV, the Huffington Post, even the Weather Network got into the act. Check out the links. If I ever figure out how this happened, I will do it once a week."


Fellow David Newland was the featured artist at the January 21st gathering in Toronto entitled NORTHBOUND!: An Arctic Appreciation. David is a writer, musician and host with an avid interest in the north. His current project is The Northwest Passage in Story and Song,  a presentation and performance based on his travels to the Arctic as a Zodiac driver with Adventure Canada. The January event included performances by Uncharted Waters, the Roncevalles Gospel Choir and special guests Sunsdrum, Inuit throat-singers.

POTTER, Russell

In January, The Relics of the Franklin Expedition, written by the late Garth Walpole and edited by RCGS fellow Russell Potter, was published by McFarland. With over 75 illustrations and a complete accounting of the relics retrieved prior to the 2014 and 2016 discoveries of Franklin’s ships, it promises to be the definitive record of what we know now. May, he also spoke at the John Rae Festival in Stromness and Kirkwall, Orkney, giving two lectures honoring Dr. Rae’s contributions to the Franklin search, and his lasting legacy for Arctic exploration.


The American Medallic Sculpture Association awarded its American Medal of the Year to Ottawa Fellow Susan Taylor for her First World War medal, “Remembrance.” The medal honours the heroic efforts of the artist’s grandfather, George Edie, and his fellow comrades who fought in the 2nd Battle of Ypres.  Susan describes the medal as the portrait of the young soldier framed by the barbed wire that represents youth sacrificed through the loss of life, imprisonment and emotional trauma. On the reverse the poppies emerging from the barbed wire symbolize the loss of life through the spent flowers, the flowers in bloom: the survivors and the young buds: the future, lest we forget.” 


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), more commonly known as the COP conferences, focused the 2016 sessions on putting into action the recommendations of last year’s Paris Agreement, signed by every nation of the world. One of the key issues of this historic environmental agreement was education, an issue that given its importance occasioned a separate conference, the International Conference on Education as a Driver of Sustainable Development Goals, in Ahmedabad, India.

COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco followed-up with this policy priority throughout the conference. Mark Terry was invited specifically to introduce a new data delivery system that he has been developing with Google’s experimental new GIS software, Fusion, as part of his PhD research at York University.

The project is called the Youth Climate Report and it is a multilinear, interactive, database documentary film project presented on a platform of a Geographic Information System map. Throughout the year, and in collaboration with the television production arm of the United Nation Environment Programme, Television for the Environment, Youth Climate Report curated 250 video reports of climate research from around the world.

The videos, produced by students and featuring climate researchers as interview subjects, are embedded in pins on the world map together with such metadata as links to scientific organizations, universities and climate researchers and a current 360-degree satellite photograph of the area profiled in the video report.

At a press conference on November 10, 2016 that honored some of the student filmmakers who contributed to the project, the UNFCCC also announced that the Youth Climate Report was an official partner program under its Article 6 mandate for education and outreach. The press release is available here.

For more information about the map, including additional press releases and video of press conferences, please visit Mark Terry’s website: The site also includes an academic paper explaining the theory and praxis of the project.

THOMAS, Morley

In late fall, more than 60 people gathered at the Toronto office of the Department of Environment and Climate Change (Environment Canada) to celebrate Morley K. Thomas’ outstanding contribution to Canadian meteorology and climate during his 66 years of service. Environment Canada’s well-known senior climataologist David Phillips, CM, spoke, as did David Grimes, Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of the Meteorological Service of Canada. During his thoughtful and witty speech David Phillips noted that Steve Thomas was probably unique – the only Canadian to have two parents honoured with archives – the Clara Thomas Archives of York University and the Morley Thomas Meteorological Archives of Canada as they now will be called. Before unveiling a plaque, ADM Grimes thanked Morley Thomas for his accomplishment on behalf of all the people of Canada. In 1985, the Society presented Morley Thomas with the Massey Medal in acknowledgement of his significant contributions to the knowledge of the climates of Canada and for leadership in promoting the value of climatology in socioeconomic and resource management planning.


On February 9th, the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C. hosted the world premiere of Into The Arctic, Fellow Cory Trépanier’s ambitious touring exhibition, as part of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebration. Into the Arctic showcases over fifty of Trépanier’s original oil paintings plus and his series of Arctic films (including Into The Arctic II, which was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award) documenting his 4 expeditions to the furthest reaches of the Canadian Arctic, a biosphere so remote and untouched, that most of its vast landscape has never been painted before. “Like some of the great figures in polar exploration history, Cory Trépanier combines the courage and adventurousness of an explorer with the exacting skill and powerful creative vision of an artist.”, said John Geiger, RCGS CEO.

Into The Arctic was on view at the Embassy until February 28th, and is now travelling to eight museums across the U.S. until 2020, with efforts underway to extend the tour abroad. Tour video, photos and much more can be found here:

Also, Trépanier was recently honoured to lend his voice as a National Champion of The Great Trail and its worthy cause of connecting Canadians across the country to our wilderness treasures. He joins a group of illustrious and patriotic Canadians that have lent their voices to the cause, including Their Excellencies, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada and Mrs. Sharon Johnston, Edward Burtynsky, Margaret Atwood, Robert Bateman, among others.

Cory has been recently been making Canada known to many through numerous media appearances, such as on CBC in Canada, Nebraska TV in the US and IMAGICA-TV in Japan. Catch them at and on his Facebook page.

VALBERG, Michelle

Photographer-in-Residence Michelle Valberg’s commitment to Northern communities is described in “Project North: In Giving, We Receive” an article in the spring 2017 issue of Photo News. Valberg’s involvement grew out of her photographic work and led to the foundation of Project North that provides sporting opportunities and equipment for children in remote Arctic communities. The article illustrates the ubiquitous appeal of hockey throughout Canada.

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

NB. Items for “Fellows in the News” are welcomed and should be sent to Mary Jane Starr at


1923 - 2017

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Guy R D'Avignon, devoted husband of Josette Robertson, beloved father of Marie (Mike Burrows), Nicole (Justin Lacroix) and Pierre (Nicole Bissonnette), caring grandfather of Anouk, Alexandre, Marisha, Julie and Christian. He leaves behind two sisters Réjeanne and Jacqueline and stepdaughters Joan and Manny. He was predeceased by first wife Denise Dansereau and brothers Raymond, Jean and Gilles. Guy had a distinguished career as a senior public servant with the federal government. Highlights of his career include Deputy Minister of Supply and Services, Deputy Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce, President of Information Canada, and President of the Anti-dumping Tribunal. He also served as Chairman of the Royal Canadian Mint. He played a key role in the implementation of bilingualism in the public service, was instrumental in the selection of the CF 18 aircrafts for the Canadian Armed Forces and presided over the special committee that made recommendations on the merit principle within the public service, a seminal document in the field. A private memorial will be held in the summer of 2017. 

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