1963 Winner - Graham Westbrook Rowley
One of the last great explorers
When Graham Rowley first journeyed to the Arctic in 1936, the unexplored coasts of Canada’s
far northern reaches were still dotted lines on a map. Holed up in an igloo, Rowley, then 23,
filled in the last of these lines on a piece of Hudson’s Bay stationery, using a compass and
a watch. He’d left England to join the British Canadian Arctic Expedition, a surveying team,
as its archaeologist.
|Courtesy of Diana Rowley|
His archaeological work on the Inuit and Dorset people allowed him to explore Foxe Basin
and Baffin Island. As a result, Rowley (left, on an Arctic expedition around 1937), who died
in December 2003, had a large island and a river in the Arctic named after him.
"He was the last in a line of European explorers of Canada that began with Jacques
Cartier," says friend Ted Johnson, vice-president of The
Royal Canadian Geographical Society. "He was energetic, thoughtful and deeply caring about the people of
An RCGS Fellow, Rowley was awarded the Massey
Medal in 1963 for his geographical work. As
a scientist with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in the early 1970s,
he created a training program for Northern scientists and developed ground and air support
services for scientific groups working in the Arctic.
His book, Cold Comfort: My Love Affair with the Arctic, published in 1996, remains
a testament to his lifelong passion for Canada’s North.
— Jessa Sinclair