About The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
Like the Honorary Presidency, the Honorary Vice-Presidency is a mark of distinction, and those named to the role serve to inspire members of the College of Fellows and the Society’s broader membership.
The expertise and patronage of the Honorary Vice-Presidents help ensure that the Society remains a powerful, permanent advocate for Canada, imparting a broader knowledge and deeper appreciation of its people and places, its natural and cultural heritage and its environmental, social and economic challenges.
Current Honorary Vice-Presidents
Roberta Bondar, O.C.
Pierre Camu, O.C.
Arthur E. Collin
Wade Davis, C.M.
Louie Kamookak, O. Nu.
Denis A. St-Onge, O.C.
Our most recent Honorary Vice-Presidents
Astronaut, neurologist, landscape photographer, role model and now the The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s newest Honorary Vice-President. Roberta Bondar has been sharing Canada with the world since she was snapping pictures of the country from orbit, 300 kilometres above Earth’s surface.
That was in 1992, when she, as the first Canadian woman in space, circled the globe 129 times over eight days in Space Shuttle Discovery, simultaneously conducting crucial experiments related to microgravity for 14 nations.
Bondar has since continued to travel widely as a celebrated landscape photographer, publishing several collections of her work. “I changed how I approached my passion and my curiosity,” she says, “by moving from the space program to being an explorer on the surface of the planet and sharing that passion.” She hopes this can inspire Canadians to protect their country and start digging into their own issues.
Citing her enormous achievements, Gavin Fitch, President of the RCGS, has said, “If anything, Dr. Bondar is overqualified for the Society’s Honorary Vice-Presidency.”
Wade Davis was 20 — a student at Harvard University working toward degrees in anthropology and biology and a PhD in ethnobotany — when he set out on his first research expedition into the Amazon. He would go on to spend three years there, gathering more than 6,000 botanical collections in the South American rainforest and reaches of the Andes, living with 15 different indigenous groups in eight countries to study their traditional uses of medicinal and psychoactive plants.
In the decades since, the Vancouver born, Pointe-Claire, Que.-raised “plant explorer” and ethnographer has carried out fieldwork among several indigenous societies of northern Canada, and has documented folk rituals, the world’s biodiversity crisis and more from Australia and East Africa to Haiti, Mongolia and South Pacific island nations. He has published 17 books and his photographs have appeared in numerous collections and publications.
Davis is Honorary Vice-President of the RCGS (and was awarded its Gold Medal in 2009) and an Explorer-in-Residence for the National Geographic Society. His mission, he says, has always been to tell the stories of the world’s indigenous societies, in such a way that he might “change the way the world views and values culture.”