La Société géographique royale du Canada
  
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le Canada aux Canadiens
et au monde entier.







Éditeurs de Canadian Geographic et géographica


 

Journal des fellows

Avril/Mai 2018




MEC devient le fournisseur officiel du programme d’expéditions de la SGRC

Photo : MEC

Deux des plus grands noms de l’exploration s’associent pour mieux faire connaître le Canada aux Canadiens et au monde entier. La SGRC a le plaisir d’annoncer que Mountain Equipment Co-op devient son fournisseur d’équipement officiel. Désormais, lorsque les explorateurs portant l’étendard de la Société dans les coins les plus reculés de notre pays, ils le feront avec du matériel portant le nom de la plus grande entreprise canadienne d’équipement et de vêtements de plein air. MEC, la plus grande coopérative au Canada selon le nombre de membres, est reconnue pour son engagement envers la durabilité, la collectivité et l’intendance des espaces sauvages. Dans le cadre de ce partenariat, MEC fournira également un soutien financier au programme d’expéditions et du matériel pour d’autres programmes de la SGRC.

« Nous sommes ravis que MEC, un nom qui est synonyme de qualité, d’aventure et de passion pour le plein air, se joigne à nous dans notre mission de rattacher les Canadiens à leur patrimoine naturel et culturel, » a indiqué John Geiger, chef de la direction de la SGRC

Les expéditions suivantes sont au nombre de celles qui recevront un soutien de la SGRC et de MEC en 2018 :

L'expédition AKOR, une expédition en canot de trois mois et 1 500 kilomètres pour relier la rivière George, la baie d’Ungava, le mont d’Iberville et les côtes escarpées de la mer du Labrador;

Le projet Bayne et Coleman, un documentaire sur la recherche du caveau funéraire de Sir John Franklin

Le projet de la montagne mystère, une reconstitution de la première exploration de la chaîne Waddington en Colombie-Britannique

À la recherche du Nova Zembla, une expédition visant à retrouver l’épave d’un baleinier britannique ayant coulé près de l’île Baffin en 1902 (projet financé en partie par One Ocean Expeditions)

L’expédition MEC de l’année, Exploration des grottes Bisaro, alors que les spéléologues Jeremy Bruns, Christian Stenner, Kathleen Graham et une vaste équipe de spéléologie canadienne retourneront dans ce complexe réseau de cavernes en 2018 pour en poursuivre l’exploration.

Nomination de nouveaux explorateurs en résidence annoncée au gala de Toronto en février

Adam Shoalts (à gauche, qui reçoit les félicitations du premier ministre Justin Trudeau le 28 mars) et George Kourounis sont les nouveaux explorateurs en résidence de la SGRC. (Gauche : BPM/Adam Scotti; droite : Robert Carter/Can Geo)

La Société géographique royale du Canada a annoncé une expansion de son programme d’explorateurs en résidence à l’occasion de son tout premier gala annuel Sights, Sounds and Tastes of Canada, tenu au Airship 37 dans la zone historique de Distillery District de Toronto le 28 février.

Les nouveaux explorateurs en résidence sont George Kourounis, un animateur, chasseur de tempêtes et expert reconnu mondialement des catastrophes naturelles, et Adam Shoalts, explorateur solitaire des régions sauvages du Canada et auteur des best-sellers canadiens Alone Against the North et A History of Canada in Ten Maps. Ils se joignent à la plongeuse de cavernes Jill Heinerth, qui parcourt le Canada depuis deux ans avec comme mission d’inspirer les jeunes Canadiens à découvrir leur pays, à protéger leur héritage naturel et à faire des études en sciences et en technologie.

C’est le succès obtenu par Heinerth dans ce rôle qui a incité la Société à nommer d’autres participants à ce programme, explique le chef de la direction de la SGRC, John Geiger. « Nous sommes tous enchantés par la nomination de ces remarquables nouveaux explorateurs en résidence. » Pour en savoir plus sur les nominations, rendez-vous sur cangeo.ca/mj18/explorers.

Béatrice Martin (Coeur de pirate) reçoit la médaille Bernier

Cœur de pirate en spectacle lors du gala Sights, Sounds and Tastes of Canada à Toronto. (Photo : Tom Sandler/Can Geo)

Béatrice Martin, connue à l’échelle internationale sous son nom d’artiste Cœur de pirate, a reçu la médaille Capitaine Joseph-Elzéar Bernier et le titre de fellow honoraire de la SGRC à l’occasion du premier gala Sights, Sounds and Tastes of Canada à Toronto, où elle a présenté un spectacle. Martin, l’une des jeunes artistes francophones les plus populaires à travers le monde, a eu un impact culturel important en faisant revivre la chanson française, exposant un important jeune auditoire à cette forme musicale. Son nouveau simple, « Prémonition », lancé en janvier, avait été téléchargé plus de 800 000 fois à la fin d’avril. Gagnantes de plusieurs trophées Félix et gagnante du titre d’Artiste francophone de l’année aux Canadian Independent Music Awards, Cœur de pirate célèbre le Canada et en fait la promotion par ses chansons. Pour en savoir plus, rendez-vous sur cangeo.ca/mj18/bernier.

Une exposition sur les personnages marquants de la SGRC ouvrira en juin

Peinture artistique : Chris Cran

L’artiste visuel renommé de Calgary Chris Cran a créé une série de tableaux représentant des personnages marquants de l’histoire de la Société de géographie royale du Canada pour une exposition au 50, promenade Sussex. Cette nouvelle collection s’inscrit dans la foulée d’une exposition majeure préparée, organisée conjointement et présentée à tour de rôle par l’Art Gallery of Alberta et le Musée des beaux-arts du Canada à Ottawa de l’automne 2015 à la fin de 2016. Chris Cran, sincèrement vôtre, était l’exposition la plus exhaustive à ce jour des œuvres de cet artiste contemporain, célébrant plusieurs décennies d’influence et réunissant plus de 100 tableaux et dessins. Cran est reconnu pour sa capacité à se jouer de la perception et à utiliser l’illusion afin d’explorer, d’emprunter aux genres artistiques traditionnels et aux mouvements contemporains, de puis le pop art jusqu’à l’abstraction et au photoréalisme, pour les renverser ensuite.

« Chris Cran a grandement contribué à l’essor de l'art contemporain, particulièrement en Alberta, tant par l’influence de son art que pour son mentorat auprès de nombreux jeunes artistes », a déclaré le directeur général du MBAC, Marc Mayer. «Au cours de quatre décennies de pratique prolifique, Chris nous a toujours surpris et interpellés avec des œuvres à la fois cérébrales et humoristiques. Lea Musée des beaux-arts est fier de collaborer avec ses partenaires de l'Alberta afin de faire découvrir cet artiste remarquable à ses visiteurs. »

L’exposition des « grandes figures » de la SGRC de Cran ouvrira ses portes à l’étage supérieur du 50, promenade Sussex cet été. Les tableaux et œuvres sur papier représentent des personnages comme le fondateur Charles Camsell, le géologue et paléontologue Joseph Burr Tyrrell (ci-dessous), l’explorateur de l’Arctique Joseph-Elzéar Bernier, la géologue Alice E. Wilson et l’historien oral inuit Louie Kamookak. Après la fermeture de l’exposition plus tard dans l’année, les œuvres feront partie de la collection permanente de la Société.

À la recherche d’artefacts de la SGRC

Photo : SGRC

La SGRC invite ses fellows à faire don d’artefacts qui pourraient être exposés dans la nouvelle salle de lecture Sir Christopher Ondaatje du 50, promenade Drive. Cet effort pour enrichir les collections de la Société, qui seront logées en permanence au Centre pour la géographie et l’exploration, a besoin de votre aide pour trouver quelques artefacts très spéciaux reliés aux fellows de la SGRC, à l’exploration ou à l’histoire autochtone. Veuillez noter que la salle n’est pas très grande et qu’il n’y aura donc place que pour un petit nombre de portraits, de livres rares et d’artefacts choisis. Pour plus de renseignements sur cet effort visant à célébrer les fellows remarquables du passé et aider à consolider les collections de la Société, veuillez envoyer un courriel à smith@rcgs.org.


Appel de candidatures : la médaille Bergmann

Photo : SGRC

La date limite pour les mises en candidature pour la médaille Martin Bergmann est le 30 juin 2018. La médaille, créée en 2012, récompense des réalisations liées à « l’excellence en leadership et sciences dans l’Arctique ». Les lauréats précédents comprennent Martin Fortier, directeur général du programme Swntinelle Nord de l’Université Laval, et John Smol, professeur de biologie, pionnier de la limnologie dans l’Arctique et titulaire de la chaire de recherche du Canada sur les changements environnementaux à l’Université Queen. Si vous connaissez une personne dont les réalisations distinguées dans ce domaine méritent d’être soulignées, nous vous invitons à présenter leur candidature ici


NÉCROLOGIE

En mémoire de l’historien de la tradition orale inuit Louie Kamookak

Un ouvrage sur l’expédition Franklin dans les mains, Louie Kamookak se tient sur la toundra près de son domicile de Gjoa Haven, au Nunavut.

Louie Kamookak, historien de la tradition orale inuit respecté et vice-président honoraire de la Société géographique royale du Canada, est décédé le 23 mars dernier à l’hôpital de Yellowknife. Alanna Mitchell, coauteure de Franklin’s Lost Ship: The Historic Discovery of HMS Erebus, rappelle la vie de cet historien renommé

Alors qu’il avait environ sept ans, le père de Louie Kamookak l’a amené voir ses premiers ossements humains, à demi cachés dans un cercueil de fortune sur les mousses sauvages de l’île King William, au Nunavut, en bordure du Passage du Nord-Ouest. C’étaient les restes de l’un des premiers trappeurs, un homme appelé Russian Mike.

Selon ce qu’on racontait, Mike avait fabriqué beaucoup d’alcool clandestin, s’était beaucoup battu, avait eu de terribles ennuis et avait finalement abattu ses chiens avant de retourner son arme contre lui-même.

Mais le gamin de sept ans, même s’il était terrifié, avait bien regardé l’orifice d’entrée de la balle dans le crâne blanchi par les éléments et fini par conclure que la balle était entrée par le haut et non par le bas. C’était donc bien davantage un meurtre qu’un suicide.

C’était le coup d’envoi d’une carrière de cinq décennies en archéologie médico-légale autodidacte, un domaine largement évité par les Inuits, dont la plupart n’aiment pas se retrouver près du corps d’une personne décédée, comme me l’a appris Kamookak il y a quelques années. À ce moment, il me montrait, ainsi qu’à un groupe d’adolescents, ce qui restait de la dépouille de Russian Mike, désormais sortie du lit de bois qui lui servait de cercueil, les os dispersés par les renards.

Kamookak, l’un des premiers historiens de la tradition orale inuit, vivait au bon endroit pour quelqu’un qui adorait résoudre les mystères médico-légaux. L’île King William est l’endroit où les marins de l’expédition perdue de Sir John Franklin, après avoir abandonné leurs navires, le HMS Erebus et le HMS Terror, ont marché vers la mort, malades, affamés et se tournant finalement vers le cannibalisme.

Pendant des décennies, Kamookak a fouillé son île natale et les régions environnantes, recueillant avec soins les preuves des déplacements des marins de Franklin. Il a catalogué l’emplacement d’artefacts comme de la porcelaine et des cuillers, puis des tombes et même des squelettes. J’ai toujours pensé qu’il avait fait jaillir les secrets de Franklin de la toundra elle-même.

Il les a trouvés aussi chez les membres de sa famille, sur l’île King William. Patiemment, au fil des années, il a écouté les récits des anciens sur les horreurs vécues par Franklin, transmis de génération en génération. C’était le témoignage de gens qui avaient vu les hommes de Franklin vivants, puis morts et massacrés.

Kamookak était convaincu qu’il fallait tenir compte de ces récits si on voulait un jour retrouver les navires de Franklin, et si leur histoire devait un jour être écrite. Il a patiemment apparié les anciens noms géographiques inuits de sa région avec les noms par lesquels les non inuits les avaient remplacés, afin de mieux comprendre ce que racontaient les récits anciens. Il a aidé Parcs Canada à choisir où il fallait chercher les navires de Franklin en 2014, et ses conseils ont joué un rôle de premier plan dans la découverte de l’Erebus cette année-là.

Je me souviens d’avoir marché avec lui le long du littoral sur de l’île durant cette expédition de plusieurs jours avec un groupe d’adolescents inuits, marchant, comme il le disait, dans les traces des morts de l’expédition Franklin. C’était comme s’il pouvait sentir leur esprit, agité sur ces terres et peut-être maléfique.

Nous dormions sur des peaux de bœuf musqué, sous des tentes de toile écrue. La plus grande partie de ce que nous mangions était d’origine locale – poisson séché au vent, poisson fraîchement pêché, caribou. Mais la fierté de Kamookak était un énorme pot de Cheez Whiz, dont il badigeonnait largement la bannique frite, tendant le pot avec soin pour que les autres puissent aussi partager ce délice peu fréquent.

Il était férocement, mais humblement fier du fait que les étudiants étaient suffisamment intéressés pour passer du temps avec lui sur la terre. Il racontait sur un ton presque incantatoire, sans jamais changer un mot du récit, offrant sa sagesse à la génération suivante, sans jamais l’imposer. C’était un enseignant né.

C’est de cette gentillesse que je me souviendrai toujours. Et de son esprit. Peu de temps après notre expédition, je l’ai rencontré lors d’une activité de la Société géographique royale du Canada à Ottawa. Je devais le présenter et je lui ai demandé, avec nervosité, s’il avait préparé quelques notes. Il m’a regardée pendant un instant, resplendissant dans sa veste de loup marin, avant de me dire, un sourire en coin : « Alanna, je suis un historien de la tradition orale », pendant qu’un immense sourire s’étalait sur son visage.
FELLOWS CÉLÈBRES

Wilfrid Reid “Wop” May (1896-1952)

Wilfrid “Wop” May, futur Fellow de la SGRC, en uniforme à Edmonton, 1919. (Photo : Collection « Wop » May)

Oui, Wilfrid « Wop » May d’Edmonton s’est retrouvé en 1917 dans le collimateur du Baron rouge, le plus grand as du ciel de l’Allemagne, et a survécu pour raconter son histoire (grâce aux canons antiaériens australiens et à son compatriote, l’as canadien Roy Brown, qui ont abattu le Baron juste à temps). À la fin de la Première Guerre mondiale, May avait lui-même 13 avions ennemis à son tableau de chasse, ce qui lui a valu la Croix du service distingué dans l’Aviation. Ce ne sont toutefois pas ses exploits en temps de guerre qui représentent son plus grand héritage.
 
Ce ne sont pas non plus ses prouesses et ses aventures aériennes durant les années qui ont suivi le conflit, alors qu’il épatait les foules venues assister aux rodéos en Alberta par des prestations d’acrobatie aérienne époustouflantes et dangereuses, qu’il a démontré à Imperial Oil Limited que les avions pouvaient fonctionner à des températures sous zéro dans le subarctique canadien (alors que la société développait le champ pétrolifère de Norman Wells) et qu’il a participé à la formation de l’Edmonton Flying Club, dont il était également le chef instructeur de vol.
 
La période d’activité aérienne la plus mémorable de May — celle qui a contribué à façonner la nation — a commencé pendant une violente tempête hivernale au début de 1929, alors que May et son copilote Vic Horner ont volé, dans un avion à habitacle ouvert sur 530 kilomètres entre Edmonton et Fort Vermilion, en Alberta, pour apporter du sérum contre la diphtérie afin de mettre fin à un début d’épidémie dans cette collectivité isolée. Lorsque la chaufferette au charbon de bois qui permettait d’empêcher que le sérum ne gèle a causé un incendie en plein vol, les deux hommes ont dû atterrir et placer le médicament sous leurs vêtements pour le garder au chaud pendant le reste du trajet. Largement célébré sous le nom de « Course contre la mort », leur voyage épique est devenu le tout premier vol d’urgence médicale. L’attention médiatique internationale et les offres qui ont suivi ont permis à May de fonder son entreprise, Commercial Airways, qui a peu de temps après obtenu le tout premier contrat du gouvernement pour la livraison du courrier dans les collectivités nordiques isolées.
 
Le 10 décembre 1029, May a effectué l’un des premiers vols postaux dans les Territoires du Nord-Ouest (le pilote Punch Dickens avait fait une première livraison d’essai en janvier de la même année). Avec ses 2 600 kilomètres, la route postale aérienne de Commercial Airways, qui desservait toutes les villes et tous les villages le long du fleuve Mackenzie jusqu’à Aklavik, était alors la plus longue au monde.

L’accueil à Aklavik, T.-N.O., le 27 décembre 1929, alors que May (qu’on voit par la porte du poste de pilotage) vient tout juste d’effectuer la première livraison de poste aérienne à la collectivité. (Photo : Collection « Wop » May)

Le statut légendaire de May à titre de pilote de brousse et de pionnier des techniques de recherche et de sauvetage aériens a continué à grandir. En 1932, il a travaillé avec la GRC pour traquer Albert Johnson, le « Trappeur fou » de Rat River, qui avait échappé à la capture après avoir tué et blessé plusieurs agents de la Police montée. En 1939, May a contribué à la mise sur pied du Programme d'entraînement aérien du Commonwealth pour les pilotes des forces alliées durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, tout en dirigeant la 2e École d’observation aérienne à Edmonton, où il a embauché Margaret Littlewood, seule femme ayant servi comme instructeur au sol au Canada durant la guerre.
 
Wop May a été intronisé au Temple de la renommée de l’aviation canadienne en 1974, 22 ans après qu’il soit décédé des suites d’un AVC pendant une randonnée pédestre dans l’Utah. Sa citation célèbre « L’expression constante de ses immenses qualités d’aviateur dans les conditions géographiques les plus éprouvantes et son dévouement total à la cause de l’unification des peuples par le transport aérien ». Le travail de pionnier de May dans l’utilisation de l’avion a contribué à l’amélioration de l’accessibilité et du développement du Nord canadien.


Fellows dans l'actualité

NOTE : Les contributions des fellows sont publiées dans la langue où elles sont soumises.

ADAMS, Peter

In its 50th year, the department of geography at Trent is looking back on decades of research and teaching in the North. This image shows a field party at the McGill Subarctic Research Station, in Schefferville, Que., from which winter projects were conducted for many years. (Photo: Peter Adams)

The department of geography at Trent University is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Created not long after the university itself was founded, the department first offered undergraduate degrees and gradually developed graduate programs. One of the most notable of these was the watershed ecosystems program, which helped establish the department as a pioneer in interdisciplinary programs and earn it a reputation for outdoor teaching and field research, particularly related to Ontario’s Kawartha Lakes region, the High Arctic and Subarctic. In these northern regions the department cooperated with the McGill Arctic Research Station (on Axel Heiberg Island) and the McGill Subarctic Research Station (in Quebec-Labrador), facilitating regular field trips for undergraduates and graduates to both sites. On Axel Heiberg, Trent geography’s main contribution has been maintaining the mass balance record of the White Glacier, which now has the longest record in the polar region, throughout decades of increasing interest in climate change.

There will be a reunion of geography alumni during the Head of the Trent Weekend, on September 29. For more information, call the department at 705-748 2011, ext. 7199, or email m.ogrady@trentu.ca.

ANGELO, Mark

Photo: Riverblue

The acclaimed Canadian feature documentary, RiverBlue, was honoured at the World Water Forum, the world’s largest water-related gathering, in Brasilia, Brazil, from March 18 to World Water Day, on the 22. During the event, at the forum’s concurrent Green Film Festival, the makers of RiverBlue were presented with both the AFD Best Film Award and a special edition of the prestigious Green Drop Award, which honours the film from the past year that best promotes sustainability. This special edition of the Green Drop award — a statuette crafted by master Venetian glassmakers and typically presented as part of the Venice Film Festival — signifies the need to better care for the planet’s environment and its water resources.

RiverBlue chronicles an unprecedented three-year around-the-world adventure by renowned Canadian river conservationist and paddler, Mark Angelo, during which he uncovered and documented the extensive pollution impacts of the fashion industry, ranging from denim to leather to fast fashion. The fashion industry, in its totality, is the second most polluting industry on Earth, and has taken a major toll on hundreds of the world’s great waterways. The film is narrated by long time water supporter, Jason Priestley.

APPS, Deborah and Valerie Pringle

Several RCGS Fellows joined The Great Trail’s Deborah Apps (front, in black) and Valerie Pringle (front, in light blue) at the cross-Canada connection event in Toronto in March, including Ontario’s Lt-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell (front, in blue) and RCGS CEO John Geiger (back row, left). (Photo: Trans Canada Trail)

Lt-Gov. of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell and several other RCGS Fellows joined Deborah Apps, Trans Canada Trail president and CEO, and Valerie Pringle, TCT Foundation Board co-chair, at a March 21 event at Toronto’s Globe and Mail Centre to celebrate the cross-Canada connection of The Great Trail and the Chapter 150 fundraising campaign that made it possible. Honorary RCGS Fellow Laureen Harper was presented with a framed commemorative coin for her work during the campaign, and the evening included terrific performances from Indigenous rapper and activist Cody Coyote and Blue Rodeo frontman and TCT Champion, Jim Cuddy.

Thousands of individual and corporate donors, foundations and all levels of government helped raise a total of $83 million to shape and enhance the world’s longest recreational multi-use trail and make it possible to continue expanding and improving its accessibility for generations to come.

BARDEESY, Karim

Al Gore surrounded by young people at the Ryerson University climate crisis event in March. (Photo: Karim Bardeesy)

U.S. Vice-President Al Gore and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke at a free public discussion on leadership and the climate crisis on the Ryerson University campus on March 8. More than 800 young people and others interested in learning about how to inspire action to help solve the climate crisis attended the event, which was hosted by the Ryerson Leadership Lab, an institute co-founded by RCGS Fellow Karim Bardeesy that has the mandate of helping organizations deal with today’s most pressing challenges and build a more trustworthy, inclusive society. Event attendees were given copies of Gore’s book An Inconvenient Sequel.

BIRD, David M.

Photo: DK Canada

In August 2017, the Society of Canadian Ornithologists presented its most prestigious honour, the Doris Huestis Speirs Award, to David Bird, emeritus professor of wildlife biology at McGill University. The award is given annually to an individual who has made outstanding lifetime contributions in Canadian ornithology. During his 35-year career at McGill, Bird’s research spanned both captive and wild studies of birds of prey, including decades spent managing a captive colony of American kestrels (he authored or co-authored more than 120 of his nearly 200 peer-reviewed publications on this one species alone). With his students, he pioneered studies of captive breeding techniques and reintroductions of falcons into cities as a means of their conservation.

Recently, Bird has been championing the use of drones, not only in monitoring nesting raptors and seabirds, but encouraging their application in all areas of ornithological research. This includes organizing multiple workshops and panel discussions, giving keynote talks all over the world on this technology, and founding the Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems, a peer-reviewed quarterly publication.

BOUDREAULT, Richard

Photo: Les Palmes académiques

Polar Knowledge Canada’s Richard Boudreault received the 2018 George E. Pake Prize from the American Physical Society for his outstanding research accomplishments in electronics, photonics and advanced materials during his distinguished career of more than 40 years. The George E. Pake Prize recognizes the outstanding work of physicists combining original research with leadership in the management of research and development in industry. This honour comes not long after Boudreault was named a Chevalier of France’s national Ordre des Palmes academiques, which goes to distinguished academics and figures in the world of culture and education.

BRITNELL, Jett

Photo: Alert Diver

Jett Britnell has the “Parting shot” feature in the current issue of Alert Diver, the quarterly magazine of Divers Alert Network, which is read by more than 250,000 active divers, 1,100 dive businesses and 14,000 dive professionals.

BROSHA, Dave

Photo: Dave Broshaw

Prince Edward Island-based photographer and writer Dave Brosha was recently honoured with the cover image and a feature eight-page article in Photo Life magazine, in which he speaks about creative and professional obstacles and how to effectively overcome them.

BURN, Chris

Burn in his John Knox cap (second from right) alongside fellow geographers (left to right) Tim Burt, former Master of Hatfield College, and Stuart Corbridge, now Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, and anthropologist Ann MacLarnon, current Master of Hatfield College. (Photo: Chris Burn)

On Jan. 11, 2018, Chris Burn, chancellor’s professor of geography at Carleton University and former vice-president of the RCGS, was awarded a D.Sc. by Durham University for his research on permafrost conditions and climate change effects on permafrost landscapes in Yukon and the western Arctic. This is the first D.Sc. awarded in geography by Durham, which has been ranked in the top 10 of departments worldwide for several years.

CLARKE, Allen

The Newfoundland Fellows at the March 2 launch of the Newfoundland and Labrador Giant Floor Map. (Photo: Allen Clarke)

The RCGS’s Newfoundland-based Fellows raised more than $25,000 for the creation of the new Newfoundland and Labrador Giant Floor Map, which was launched on March 2 at the Manuels River Centre just south of St John’s. Six Fellows (Latonia Hartery, Dennis Minty, Gordon Slade, Paul Brett, Glen Blackwood and Allen Clarke) attended the event, along with a Grade 4 class and others, and children and adults alike spent several hours exploring in their sock feet. The map is nothing short of spectacular, and includes not merely Newfoundland and Labrador, but also points of interest and features such as the Titanic, Hibernia oilfield and rigs, all of the Grand Banks and many forgotten place names.

The Fellows have raised enough funds to cover the shipping costs of the giant map for several years, and several booking requests have already been received. The map will travel on Adventure Canada’s Newfoundland Circumnavigation voyage this summer, visiting many small ports that would otherwise be hard to reach.

George Elliott Clarke (second from left) and other members of The Afro-Métis Nation in studio the weekend of the recording of The Afro-Métis Constitution. (Photo: Chris White)

CLARKE, George Elliott

Former Canadian poet laureate George Elliott Clarke and the other members of The Afro-Métis Nation — a group of Halifax musicians and poets of Black and Indigenous ancestry — gathered in a recording studio from February 15-18 to record The Afro-Métis Constitution. The new album of 18 songs, Clarke told the CBC, is literally “a statement through music about our existence as a people with a particular heritage, which is part Indigenous as well, of course, as African” — two historically marginalized groups in Nova Scotia. Clarke’s ancestry includes the Black refugees who arrived in Nova Scotia after the War of 1812 and Mi’kmaq heritage. Among the other members of the group are Shari Clarke, Sugar Plum Croxen, Shelley Hamilton, Russ Kelley and Chris White, the nephew renowned opera singer Portia White.

DONLON, Denise

Photo: CARAS

Denise Donlon received the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award at the 2018 JUNO Awards, held in Vancouver in March. Donlon’s citation noted that she has been integral to Canada’s music scene for nearly four decades, having transformed the cultural landscape in her work at Much Music, where she worked as everything from host to vice president, going on to become the first female president of Sony Music Canada and then executive director and general manager of CBC/Radio-Canada English Radio.

DOWDESWELL, Julian

Photo: Julian Dowdeswell/Geological Society of London

Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute and professor of physical geography, was awarded the 2018 Lyell Medal of the Geological Society of London for significant contributions to the science through a substantial body of work. The Lyell Medal, awarded since 1876, is the Society’s highest award for “soft rock” geology. It was established with a gift from the distinguished 19th-century scientist Charles Lyell, who wrote the Principles of Geology.

EATON, Susan R.

Susan Eaton, founder and leader of the Sedna Epic Expedition, will be following the expedition route above this August. (Photo: Susan Eaton; map: Adventure Canada)

On Jan. 23, 2018, the Sedna Epic Expedition entered into a strategic partnership with Adventure Canada to mount its third dive and snorkel expedition to the Arctic aboard the Ocean Endeavour. The expedition departs Qausuittuq (Resolute), Nunavut, on August 6, sailing through the Northwest Passage to Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet) and across the Davis Strait to western Greenland.

Sedna’s experiential ocean outreach program for Inuit youth and Elders will take place in Qausuittuq and Mittimatalik, where Sedna’s sea women will showcase sea critters in mobile aquariums and lead underwater robot-building workshops and snorkel safaris, bringing the ocean to eye level for Inuit communities and Adventure Canada travellers. Advance planning will engage community members in Sedna’s ocean outreach and mentorship programs designed to empower Inuit girls and young women. Adventure Canada will sponsor the participation of Alexia Galloway-Alainga and Kristen Ungungai-Kownak, two mentees and Inuit throat singers who participated in Sedna’s 2016 expedition to Iqaluit. Dive and snorkel operations will be managed by Newfoundland-based Ocean Quest Adventures, which is operated by RCGS Fellow Rick Stanley and has been a Sedna expedition partner since 2014.
Photo: Robin Esrock

ESROCK, Robin

Following the success of his smash bestseller The Great Canadian Bucket List, Vancouver-based Robin Esrock is travelling across Australia for six months to compile The Great Australian Bucket List  a personal journey to discover the most unique activities and destinations in the country. Robin was approached by a major Melbourne-based publisher to write an Australian edition after another of his books, The Great Global Bucket List, outsold the top Lonely Planet titles in Australia and New Zealand last Christmas. “There’s just too much information about how to travel, and not enough why we should in the first place,” says Esrock. With his wife and young kids in tow, he is also writing a book for the same publisher about family travel, an adventure that he says is “far more terrifying than cage diving with crocodiles.” Robin looks forward to inspiring both Australians and Canadians with adventures that span nature, history, culture and food. “If it took a South African immigrant to write the biggest selling travel book about Canada, maybe it will take a Canadian to write the biggest selling book about travel in Australia.” You can follow his adventures at esrockingkids.com or on Instagram @robinesrock.

FOURNIER, Jean

Photo : Jean Fournier

Le 8 avril dernier, son Honneur l’honorable J. Michel Doyon, Lieutenant-gouverneur du Québec, a décerné à Jean Fournier, ancien gouverneur de la SGRC et président du Conseil de liaison des Forces canadiennes, sa plus haute récompense, soit la Médaille d’or pour sa contribution exceptionnelle à la société. Seul le Lieutenant-gouverneur peut choisir à qui il remettra sa prestigieuse récompense.

LAMB, Andy

Video still: Hakai Institute

The first ever Hakai Institute-MarineGEO bioblitz occurred over three weeks in the summer of 2017. This formal study of the rich biodiversity of the Calvert Island, B.C., region — which is in a Pacific Ocean transition zone between cold Alaskan waters and warmer, more southerly seas off the central British Columbia coast — brought together local communities and 47 scientists from four countries, such as Emmett Duffy, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s MarineGEO network, Hakai Institute marine ecologist Margot Hessin-Lewis and marine naturalist and educator Andy Lamb.

“What we try to do at Hakai,” says Eric Peterson, founder and executive director of the Hakai Institute, “is take the time and the patience to study a particular part of the world in great detail, study it long-term and really come to an understanding of what’s happening here. I think that’s necessary to really understand our environment.” By early 2018, the project had documented nearly 1,000 different species. Watch the video for highlights from the bioblitz.

LAWLESS, David

David Lawless (seated far left) with Action Canada Fellows at a pinning ceremony in Ottawa. (Photo: Public Policy Forum)

David Lawless, environmental scientist and federal public servant, recently released a comprehensive report to the Government of Canada with key recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Over the past year, David travelled across the country with the Public Policy Forum to research policies for Canada’s low-carbon future. He and his team engaged diverse communities from coast-to-coast and organized public consultations with stakeholders. On March 9, David and his team presented their recommendations to government officials, after which they were inducted into the Action Canada fellowship.

LASSELIN, Nathalie

Photo: Nathalie Lasselin/Urban Water Odyssey

On Aug. 14, 2018, underwater filmmaker Nathalie Lasselin will begin an extreme expedition that starts just 20 minutes from downtown Montreal. The Urban Water Odyssey is a technological, physical and psychological challenge — a single, continuous six-hour dive that will cover 21.1 kilometres (the length of a half marathon) in the low-visibility waters of the St. Lawrence River between Cap sur Mer and the east side of Île à l’aigle. Besides testing human endurance, the purpose of the dive is to promote freshwater conservation while raising awareness of the St. Lawrence’s importance as habitat, as a source of drinking water and its role in transportation and recreation.

LOPOUKHINE, Nikita

On March 27, the ministry-appointed national advisory panel Pathway to Canada Target 1 (created to advise the Canadian government on achieving its goal of protecting 17 per cent of its land and fresh water by 2020) presented its report to Catherine McKenna, Environment and Climate Change Minister, and Shannon Phillips, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks.

Fellows Nikita Lopoukhine and Harvey Locke served on the panel. Recommendations reflected a broad spectrum of perspectives based on the best available western science and traditional knowledge, and covered the long-term requirements for designing, establishing, and managing a nationwide network of protected and conserved areas that would serve as the foundation for biodiversity conservation for generations to come. For more information about the panel and its objectives, visit conservation2020canada.ca.

MACLEAN, Dave

Screenshot: 1World1Orbit

In late October 2017, NASA Astronaut Randy Bresnik made a request from the International Space Station that people across the globe participate in an “Around the World In 90 Minutes” event. During one orbit of the ISS, he and other astronauts took a series of images of the world for future use, while hundreds of people shared images from their own locations via twitter, Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #1world1orbit. RCGS Fellow Dave MacLean, of the Centre of Geographic Sciences in Lawrencetown, N.S., orchestrated a number of his GIS students to help map those images (using technology that they learn in class). The results are on this online interactive map. To help spread word about the mapping effort, the astronauts gave the project a shout-out from space.

MARDON, Austin

Austin Mardon being interviewed after the investment ceremony on Dec. 21, 2017. (Photo: Grandin Media)

Acting on behalf of Pope Francis, Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton invested Austin and Catherine Mardon into the Pontifical Order of Pope Saint Sylvester in recognition of their work as advocates for people with disabilities and mental illness. The Mardons are the only members of this order (one of five Orders of Knighthood awarded directly by the pope) in the Edmonton archdiocese.

“Pope Francis is really insistent that we be people of service towards those who are otherwise forgotten, not noticed, or left on the peripheries, and sometimes that characterizes those who suffer from mental illness,” said Archbishop Smith. “It’s particularly appropriate that [the Mardons] receive an honour on behalf of the Church, particularly in the pontificate of Pope Francis, who is so dedicated to communicating our need as a Gospel people to be people of service, to be people of mercy, who manifests that himself and calls us to that particular way of living the Gospel.”

MATTHEWS, Dewy

Photo: Anchor D Guiding and Outfitting

In February, Dewy Matthews, owner of Anchor D Guiding and Outfitting, was interviewed by CTV journalist Bill Macfarlane for an article focused on clear-cutting concerns near the Highwood Junction. Having guided horseback trips in this area for 34 years, Dewy is concerned about the impact that logging will have in this area, not only on his own business but also on local wildlife and recreational users. Local businesses, municipalities, and environmental groups have expressed their concerns regarding the proposed plan. Dewy noted that he is not against logging, but simply feels that there is a time and place for clear-cutting. As the gateway into the Kananaskis, many feel that the Highwood Junction is an inappropriate location for a clear-cut; when people drive along Highway 40, this would become one of their first impressions of the region. Dewy will continue to lead trips in this area but worries how much impact logging will have on the natural beauty that guests have come to expect.

MCLAUCHLAN, Murray

Photo: murraymclauchlan.com

Singer-songwriter Murray McLauchlan, a multiple Juno Award-winner and former host of the popular CBC Radio show Swinging on a Star, won the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award for Popular Music in the 2018 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. Throughout his long career, McLauchlan — who has recorded 18 albums, including the 2017-released Love Can’t Tell Time — has been a major proponent of supporting the art of songwriting in Canada and a champion of creators’ rights. He tours both as a solo artist and with the band Lunch at Allen’s.

MINTY, Dennis

From “The Way of an Iceberg.” (Photo: Dennis Minty)

Newfoundland-based Dennis Minty, a wildlife and nature photographer, best-selling author, naturalist and guide, has published two new photo essays showcasing his recent work. “The way of an iceberg” follows the lifecycle of these huge chunks of glacial ice from calving to collapse, while “Tilting: The little town that helps you remember” profiles the small Fogo Island community and National Historic Site of Canada, which has a long and rich history rooted in the early cod fishing industry.

OSBORNE, Neil Ever

Photo: Neil Ever Osborne

HOME:, the new photo exhibit by photographer Neil Ever Osborne, opened at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum on May 10, and runs until May 31. Osborne’s work celebrates wilderness and the underappreciated benefits it provides to all of us, and attempts to replace the very idea of “the environment” with a concept more accessible and relatable to each of us: a healthy home. The images — a caged orangutan, a road slashed through a forest, a venerable grizzly bear in its sanctuary — depict this concept of a shared yet threatened home with honesty and optimism. “Positioning Nature conservation as a priority has never been more important, and never been more difficult,” says Dave Ireland, managing director of ROM Biodiversity. “Osborne has an uncanny ability, with his photographs and his stories of human connection to nature, to shine the spotlight on something most of us take for granted. Our home.”

PATTERSON, Carol

The Inn at Laurel Point. (Photo: Carol Patterson)

Read Carol Patterson’s story about the Inn at Laurel Point, in Victoria, published in February by roadstories.ca. The late owner, Artie Arsens, was so concerned about sustainability that she set up a trust before she died and left instructions on how the hotel was to be run. The result, says Patterson, is a social enterprise that focuses on employee welfare (all profits are reinvested into the hotel and staff programs with a priority on work-life balance, while the organization also raises money for Habitat for Humanity and turns worn sheets into first-aid bandages for use in developing nations) and a hotel that, says Patterson, “won’t fall to a developer’s wrecking ball anytime soon.” Fittingly, the Inn at Laurel Point’s general manager is an Anglican priest.

PICKFORD, Andrew

Cover image: Macdonald-Laurier Institute

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a national public policy think tank based in Ottawa, recently published the paper Reconsidering Canada’s Strategic Geography: Lessons from history and the Australian experience for Canada’s strategic outlook by Canadian-Australian strategist and economic policy specialist Andrew Pickford. The paper examines (in light of Australia’s experience) the future security challenges facing Canada, tackling issues such as the local impacts of climate change, the fact that polar regions are not immune from geopolitics and the challenges created by decolonization.

PILON, Jean-Luc

Among the wreck sites being investigated by Jean-Luc Pilon (right) is this section from the hull of a wooden sailing ship lying a kilometre from the shores of Hudson Bay in Ontario’s tundra. (Photos: Jean-Luc Pilon)

When Jean-Luc Pilon, curator of central archaeology at the Canadian Museum of History, was carrying out his doctoral research in the Fort Severn, Ont., area in the early 1980s, he was told about some shipwreck sites west of Fort Severn. At the time, his interests were on documenting the region’s ancient history, but this past August, he returned to the area with University of New Brunswick Master’s student Katherine Davidson and then-Fort Severn deputy-chief Chris Koostachin to view these remains along the shores of Hudson Bay near the Niskibi River, about 60 kilometres east of the Manitoba border. The trio logged 192 kilometres and documented six marine-related sites. 

Viewing Ontario’s coastal tundra and the endless expanse of the Hudson Bay shoreline with its myriad flocks of shore birds was, says Pilon, simply amazing. This incredible experience was punctuated by polar bear sightings — not one or two, but 37, including at least two mother and cub groups. On this return to Severn the team followed ancient raised beach ridges and had the season’s biggest and brightest full moon as its guiding beacon. Work continues on the identification of the beached wrecks.

PROSPER, Lisa

(Photo: Willowbank)

In late March, it was announced that Lisa Prosper of Inuvik, N.W.T. — an associate of the Willowbank Centre and Faculty in Queenston, Ont., and expert on cultural landscape theory and practice — would join the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada as a representative of the Northwest Territories. During her term, she will be aiding in the designation of places, people and events in Canada’s political, economic and social history.

REID, David and Andrew Bresnahan

Photo: James Grieve/Arctic Return Expedition

In 2019, the Arctic Return Expedition will leave Naujaat (Repulse Bay), Nunavut, and embark on a 650-kilometre trek across Boothia Peninsula to Rae Strait. The route will be the same taken by Scottish explorer John Rae in 1854 with William Ouligbuck and Thomas Mistegan, his Indigenous companions. Travelling on skis and snowshoes, the Arctic Return Expedition will pay tribute to and celebrate Rae, one of the greatest explorers who ever lived. Much like explorer Roald Amundsen, Rae’s success was due in large part to his willingness to learn from the Indigenous people and culture of the region he explored. Rae travelled with patience, humility, respect and honesty. It was during his 1854 expedition that he and his companions discovered the final link to the first navigable Northwest Passage and the most salient facts pertaining to the fate of the failed Franklin expedition. The Arctic Return expedition will bear witness to a land steeped in Canadian history. Through the expedition and accompanying book and film, the goal is to raise awareness and appreciation of Rae, his accomplishments, and help raise funds for the restoration and conversion of his family home in Orkney into an interpretive Arctic history centre.

SIMON, Mary

Mary Simon discussing the education system in the North on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight in 2012. (Screenshot: George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight)

Canadian Inuit leader Mary Simon is the 2018 recipient of the High North Hero award. The honour, which has been given annually since 2016 for significant contributions to the development of the High North and the Arctic, is presented by the High North Center for Business and Governance at the Nord University Business School in Bodo, Norway. “Mary Simon has been outstanding over decades in her engagement for improving the situation, living conditions and welfare of Indigenous people of the Arctic,” said Frode Mellemvik, director of the High North Center. “Her contributions have raised international awareness of the Arctic, both of opportunities for value creation and of challenges to succeed in the work to realize these opportunities.”

ST-ONGE, Denis

Denis St-Onge (right) with George Kourounis, who chaired the EC meetings and presented the Stefansson Medal and certificate. (Photo: Cathy Hickson)

At a meeting of the Ontario-Nunavut section of the Canadian Explorers Club chapter on March 2, Dr. Denis A. St-Onge was awarded the Stefansson Medal and certificate. The Stefansson Medal honours outstanding contributions to the cause of exploration and/or field sciences in Canada or internationally by exceptionally meritorious Canadian members of the Explorers Club. Denis was accompanied by his daughter-in-law Dr. Janet King and grandson Robert, who has been on numerous Arctic cruises with Denis. In his remarks, Denis said that this medal was the synthesis of numerous summers walking across the High Arctic or the Tundra to try and understand the evolution of spectacular landscapes and the heritage of glaciation.

SUEDFELD, Peter

Photo: Peter Suedfeld

The Université de Nîmes (a university in the Academy of Montpellier) has conferred an honorary doctorate on Peter Suedfeld, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of British Columbia. The honour — the first granted by the university — is based primarily on Suedfeld’s research on polar psychology, which includes such work as his studies of the high-stress conditions at the Antarctic Concordia Research Station. There, his research objectives were to identify the roots of stress and suggest positive changes to Antarctic winter station procedures, environments and crew interactions — a means of reducing stress and making life more pleasant and comfortable for the crew that staffs the isolated outpost.

“I’m honoured to have been the inaugural recipient of the honorary doctorate from Nîmes,” says Suedfeld. “Nîmes is a relatively new university and encourages interdisciplinary research that explores issues outside the traditional mainstream. It also values basic research that has potential for applications.”

TRÉPANIER, Cory

Photo: Cory Trépanier

Artist, filmmaker and explorer Cory Trépanier’s highly anticipated Into The Arctic 3: The Last Chapter documentary film will be presented for the first time on April 11 in the spectacular Oceanographic Museum of Monaco. This film marks the completion of his decade-long Into the Arctic project, in which he travelled the Canadian Arctic to create an unprecedented collection of paintings and films, which is now touring to museums far and wide. The screening is taking place by the invitation of the Prince Albert II Foundation as part of Monaco Ocean Week, and Trépanier will be in attendance to introduce the film and present a Q&A.

WALKER, Christopher

Expedition (HMS Erebus and Terror). (Image courtesy Christopher Walker)

The painting Expedition, of Sir John Franklin’s HMS Erebus and Terror, was unveiled at One Ocean Expeditions’ headquarters in Squamish, B.C., on March 9. The original 36" X 50" work by artist Christopher Walker was created with the assistance of Franklin ship expert Matthew Betts, who provided technical assistance and historical references. Walker chose to depict the Franklin expedition ships arriving at Beechey Island (prior to when they were beset by ice) and in such a way that depicts the determination, gallantry and hope of the expedition, as opposed to the adversity, peril and struggle more typical of portrayals of the undertaking. The painting, says Walker, is dedicated to the 129 men of the expedition who sacrificed their lives to bring a better understanding of the Arctic to the western world.

Proceeds from the sale of the painting, which will be available in full-size, 36" X 50" canvas prints as well as 23" X 30" archival watercolour prints, will be donated to the RCGS.

WINDH, Jacqueline

Documenting bark-stripping scars in the forests of the western Magellen Strait region. (Photo: Jacqueline Windh)

Jacqueline Windh has returned from a month-long journey to southernmost Patagonia. The main focus of her trip was working as photographer on an expedition to remote and uninhabited regions of western Magellan Strait, accompanying an international and interdisciplinary team that included forest ecologists, biologists, an archeologist and an anthropologist. Their aim was to search for evidence of past forest use by the Indigenous Kawéskar people. The expedition was a success: the team discovered and documented numerous bark-stripping scars in their prime target area, and took core samples in order to develop a local dendrochronology that will be used to date the human occupation. Other highlights of her trip included abundant penguins and albatross in the strait, recording the individual photo-ID of humpback whales to accompany DNA sampling, and drinking pisco sours chilled with smashed-up pieces of iceberg.



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