Canadian Geographic Adventures feature a notable Canadian Geographic Ambassador, selected from within RCGS and Canadian Geographic programs, such as Explorers-in-Residence, Photographers-in-Residence, Filmmakers-in-Residence, the RCGS Board of Governors and the RCGS College of Fellows. The Ambassador is an additional resource alongside exceptional local guides who deliver the program through our travel partners. The guest experience is further enhanced by a pre-voyage virtual meet-and-greet, customized digital libraries from the Canadian Geographic vault, a Canadian Geographic welcome package and a warm welcome into the Canadian Geographic family.
Can Geo Assistant Editor
Abi Hayward is an award-winning journalist and an assistant editor at Canadian Geographic magazine. Her writing has appeared in Canadian Geographic, The Walrus, The Tyee and The Guardian.
Abi writes about science, society, the sea, and everything in between. She grew from the limestone of Yorkshire, England, up towards rain-swollen clouds, cultivating a healthy appreciation of the sun — and an eye for stories untold. Abi followed a fascination with science first to Sheffield, England, to pursue a BSc in Zoology. But after studying the behaviour of creatures from pufferfish to hermit crabs, she realized that she was less a scientist than a writer.
She pursued this calling across the Atlantic Ocean, to the western side of Canada, where rainclouds cast a familiar grey glow over a rugged panorama of sea and sky. In Vancouver, B.C., she graduated with a master’s degree in journalism. Abi’s journalism has taken her from the coastline of B.C. to the shores of Senegal and The Gambia. She has covered stories from beachcombing and sea sponges to a global investigation into the trade of fishmeal — the latter in collaboration with NBC News and the Global Reporting Program. The project received several awards, as well as nominations from the Digital Publishing Awards, Emerge Media, One World Media, the Online Journalism Awards, and the Canadian Association of Journalists.
Abi now lives in Ottawa and enjoys collaborating with colleagues, editors, writers, cartographers, illustrators and knowledge keepers as part of her role at Canadian Geographic. She loves the land we call Canada — and helping to tell its stories to Canadians and the world.Travel with Abi
Can Geo Editor-in-Chief
Alexandra Pope is the editor-in-chief of Canadian Geographic. She holds a Bachelor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Leadership Studies from the University of New Brunswick (Fredericton) and a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University. Her reporting career has spanned two countries, three provinces and a wide range of subjects and beats, from human rights issues in the Dominican Republic and Haiti to county council briefs in rural Alberta to the stories of refugees building new lives in New Brunswick. In 2011, a lifelong interest in meteorology led her to The Weather Network, where she produced content for television broadcasts and online and served as social media lead. She has been with Canadian Geographic since 2015.
Alexandra is an enthusiastic promoter of travel within Canada and will happily tell you what those clouds mean. She currently lives in Ottawa with her husband and toddler son.
Aliya Jasmine is an award-winning television host, producer, and environmental journalist (M.A.) You can currently watch her on various platforms for NBC News in Los Angeles. She is also the co-founder of the environmentally focused media production and climate research lab, LILI Media & Design Lab.
She was previously anchor of MTV News in Canada, for over a decade, where she interviewed celebs including Tom Cruise, Kanye West, and Adele — and has worked for or had stories appear on NBC, MTV and the Discovery Channel. Among the many shows she helped develop at MTV Canada, MTV IMPACT was a show for millennials about social and environmental issues that sent her on assignment around the world, and set the path for her career: from South Sudan after a civil war, to the heart of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest to see first-hand the potential impacts of a proposed oil pipeline. She returned to the rainforest multiple times for various productions, and became one of the World Wildlife Fund’s “Canadians for the Great Bear.”Travel with Aliya
RCGS Director, Digital & Video
Andrew Lovesey is an emerging film and television producer for Canadian Geographic. He has written for some of Canada’s leading publications including the Globe and Mail, National Post, Canadian Geographic, FLARE and ELLE Canada. Andrew is a Student Member of the Explorers Club, a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a Fellow of the International Strategic Studies Association, Chevalier of The Star of Honour of Ethiopia and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient. He currently serves as director of digital and video at Canadian Geographic and The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and co-leads their production arm: Canadian Geographic Films.
Brian & Dee Keating
Brian and Dee have been leading wilderness adventures with small groups for nearly four decades, traveling to all seven continents. For the past decade, they have been on the road for up to half of the year. Both have had a lifelong keen interest in the biological world, and their expeditions have all focused on nature.
In fact, they initially met working as naturalists in Southern British Columbia. Brian was keen on birds, Dee on botany, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Dee pursued a career in medicine, working as a Family Doctor for 25 years. She balanced her time between looking after patients and leading trips with Brian. She retired ten years ago to work full time with him on pursuing their nature guiding lifestyle.
Brian’s 30-year career at the Calgary Zoo was split between being the Director of Education and Director of Conservation. For over 20 years, he was a part-time Adjunct Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the U of C. Presently, he’s the owner of goingwild.org and co-producer of greatBIGnature.com
Brian is a weekly guest naturalist on Calgary’s CBC Radio, and for many years, was a regular guest on the Discovery and Canadian National Geographic channels, using much of his own wilderness adventures and wildlife films to tell stories about the value and importance of nature. He’s in high demand as an international speaker, presenting at some 40 events a year.
Brian and Dee look forward to sharing their natural history expertise with you!Travel with Brian & Dee
A native Albertan, Brian Hodgson of Edmonton was an Intelligence Officer with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) fox six years serving in the Service’s Counter Espionage, Counter Terrorism and Security Screening Branches. He left CSIS 1992 to become the Sergeant-at-Arms and Director of Visitor, Ceremonial and Security Services Legislative Assembly of Alberta.
Lieutenant-Colonel Hodgson commanded his regiment, which is split amongst Edmonton, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge from 1996 to 2000. In 2004 he volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan.
In 2008 he was elected as Fellow Royal Canadian Geographical Society and in 2009 was elected as a Governor (board member) with the RCGS. In 2020, he was awarded the RCGS Joseph Bernier Medal. He now sits on the RCGS Nominating Committee. Brian also has received the Canada 125 Medal, Queen Elizabeth’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals and the Alberta Centennial Medal.
His interests are varied and include polo, cycling, travel, skiing (he competed in the oldest and longest amateur downhill ski race in the world, the Inferno, at Murren, Switzerland), fly-fishing, bagpipes, reading and anything to do with horses and the family ranch. He holds a skeleton sled competitors’ licence and has raced at the Calgary Olympic Park, at the Cresta Run, St Mortiz in Switzerland, and has represented his regiment in international show jumping competitions in the UK on numerous occasions. Brian is also a free-lance writer. His numerous articles and book reviews have been published in the National Post, the Edmonton Journal, and the Calgary Herald.
Carol Patterson is a travel writer and photographer whose works have appeared in National Geographic, CanGeoTravel, The Daily Beast, USA Today, Calgary Herald among others. A former tourism product development consultant, Carol has spoken at conferences and workshops in North America, Bhutan, Borneo, Botswana, China, Iceland, Norway, Scotland and the Faroe Islands, and written nine books including The Business of Ecotourism.
Carol is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and attends the annual gala, AGM and Calgary area events and talks to people she meets through her work about the RCGS and their mandate.
Carol was an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary in the geography department, teaching classes in adventure travel and sustainability. She was named a Global Calgary Woman of Vision in 2008. She has also won several awards for her writing and photography from the Travel Media Association of Canada.
Carol has long ties with the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo. She used her private pilot’s license in 1985 to create the Calgary Zoo’s Flying Zoo program, her first step in leaving behind a job as a professional accountant to become an everyday explorer. She is a past Chairman of the Board of Trustees and was also a board member for Watchable Wildlife Inc., a U.S. non-profit established in the 1990s to promote wildlife viewing tourism in North America.
RCGS Director of Reconciliation
Charlene Bearhead is a mother, grandmother, educator, Indigenous education advocate and author with over 30 years of regional, national and international experience. Charlene is the Director of Reconciliation at Canadian Geographic, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Previously Charlene served as education days coordinator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, education coordinator for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, education advisor for the Canadian Geographic Indigenous People’s Atlas of Canada and member of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights Indigenous Education working group, the first education lead for both the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC. Charlene is the co-author of the children’s book series, Siha Tooskin Knows.
Can Geo Photographer-in-Residence
Daisy Gilardini is a conservation photographer who specializes in the Polar Regions, with a particular emphasis on Antarctic wildlife and North American bears.
She is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) the SeaLegacy Collective, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a fellow of the Explorers Club, Greenpeace Antarctic Ambassador and Canadian Geographic photographer in residence.
Daisy’s images have been published internationally in leading magazines such as National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Canadian Geographic, Nature’s Best and Outdoor Photography, among many others.Travel with Daisy
Dave Brosha lives on beautiful Prince Edward Island and is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and has been called by Nikon “one of the most celebrated creative photographers in the world”. He has had exhibitions of his work in the Northwest Territories and elsewhere in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Spain and Germany. His images have appeared in Photo Life, Practical Photography, Canadian Geographic, Maclean’s, The Independent (UK), The Globe and Mail, The Sunday Telegraph, China News, The Guardian, Tehran Times, Montreal Gazette, Outdoor Photographer and many more.
Dave has published two books of photography: Northern Light: The Arctic and Subarctic Photography of Dave Brosha and Southern Light: Photography of Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands.
Canadian artist David McEown has used the medium of watercolour for the past 30 years to explore and reflect many of this Earth’s wilderness areas. His paintings from Antarctica to the North Pole are represented in collections worldwide.
David is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, and is an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour. The Society awarded him its prestigious A. J. Casson Medal in 2005, and again in 2018.
David is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society as well, and is a member of the Explorers Club, a world renowned multidisciplinary professional society based in New York.
A sought-after teacher, David has hosted multimedia presentations conducted workshops for various art societies and museums around the world, with a mind to share his reverence for nature and passion for the creative art of painting.
With three decades of experience as a journalist, CBC Radio host David Gray has filed stories from around the world, focusing on Europe and North America. Based in Calgary, David is an avid adventurer, diver, skier, and cyclist.
David, a Fellow of the RCGS has travelled by sea with the RCGS in the Eastern Arctic and Atlantic Canada (including a particularly memorable excursion to Sable Island). He also hosted a conversation with a prestigious panel of Indigenous leaders at the 2018 Fellows Dinner at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and a more informal gathering of Western-based Fellows at McDougall Centre in Calgary.
Whether it’s skiing from the heights of the Chic-Choc Mountains down to the shores of Gaspe, kayaking Johnstone Strait with the orcas of Robson Bight, or hiking the ridges of the Bugaboos above the glaciers of the Purcells, David has a deep passion for Canada’s wild spaces. He is an amateur ornithologist and former park naturalist, with a growing passion for photography.
His documentary work has won several national and international awards and he is a frequent guest host on well known CBC radio programs such as As it Happens, Sunday Edition and Cross Country Checkup, and his daily morning program The Calgary Eyeopener is currently among the top-rated local radio shows in the country.
In his spare time, he performs with Calgary band Sweet Potato. David and his wife, Kim, have two children.
David McGuffin is a veteran broadcast journalist, podcast producer, and host of Canadian Geographic’s Explore Podcast. An RCGS Fellow since 2018, David is a former foreign correspondent with CBC, CTV and NPR. He has reported from over 50 countries, covering conflicts, Presidential elections, G7 Summits, soccer World Cups and more. In 2018 he led the RCGS “Return to the Peel” Arctic expedition, a canoe journey tracing his great-grandfather, Charles Camsell’s, 1905 mapping expedition of the pristine Peel Watershed in the Yukon and Northwest-Territories. In 2018 he moved back to Canada from Washington, DC with his wife, acupuncturist René McGuffin, and two children, and now happily lives in the Gatineau Hills of West Quebec.
Dr. Emily Choy is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University and Environment and Climate Change Canada. Her research is supported by an NSERC and an L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Research Excellence Fellowships. Dr Choy is studying the physiological response of thick-billed murres to climate change on Coats Island, Nunavut. She completed her PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba on beluga whales as sentinels of environmental change in the Beaufort Sea ecosystem in partnership with Inuvialuit communities. Dr. Choy was a scientist on the Victoria Strait expedition and a recipient of the Erebus Medal. She is an Explorer-in-Residence for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a Scientific Advisor for The Weston Family Foundation, and a council member for the Association of Field Ornithologists.
Gavin Fitch is lawyer in Calgary who practices in the areas of environmental and energy regulatory law. He has represented clients in some of the highest profile environmental hearings in Alberta history, including most recently the proposed Grassy Mountain coal mine project which was turned down by a joint review panel of the federal government and the Alberta Energy Regulator in June 2021. He also has expertise in the field of Indigenous law and has been a Chief Negotiator for Canada at a number of modern treaty negotiation tables in B.C. and Yukon for over 10 years. Fitch has been widely recognized for his achievements within his field by organizations such as Lexpert, Chambers Canada, Who’s Who Legal – Canada and Best Lawyers in Canada. In 2015 Fitch was awarded his Q.C. (Queen’s Counsel).
When not practising law, Fitch is an avid backpacker and outdoorsman. He has backpacked thousands of kilometres in the Canadian Rockies, including extended trips in the remote Front Ranges of Banff National Park. In 2009 he was nominated a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He joined the Society’s Board of Governors in 2011 and became President in 2016. He is presently completing his second term in that position.
When not practising law, Fitch is an avid backpacker and outdoorsman. He has backpacked thousands of kilometres in the Canadian Rockies, including extended trips in the remote Front Ranges of Banff National Park. In 2009 he was nominated a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He joined the Society’s Board of Governors in 2011 and became President in 2016. He is presently completing his second term in that position.
George Kourounis has a passion for the world’s extremes. As an explorer, storm chaser, TV presenter, and Explorer-In-Residence for the RCGS, he’s travelled to over 75 countries on all 7 continents to document extreme forces of nature so that others can appreciate the power of Mother Nature’s temper tantrums. For 25 years he has chased tornadoes on the Great Plains, driven into the eye of hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, rappelled deep in the crater of active volcanoes in the Congo & South Pacific, climbed mountains in North Korea, and earned a Guinness World Record for become the first person to set foot at the bottom of the Darvaza flaming gas crater in Turkmenistan while leading an expedition for National Geographic.
Best known for hosting 50 episodes of his own globe-trotting TV series “Angry Planet”, Kourounis is also a regular on The Science Channel, The Weather Network and countless other networks & video platforms.
“I think that sustainable travel is an integral tool in promoting conservation. We are only interested in preserving things that we are care about… And we only care about things that we are exposed to. By visiting a rain forest, a coral reef, or a mountain glacier, we personally connect with the landscapes and wildlife we encounter there and that can create an emotional bond that we keep with us our entire lives.”Travel with George
Gordon 'Oz' Osinski
Dr. Gordon “Oz” Osinski is a Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Western Ontario (Western), Canada. He holds a PhD from the University of New Brunswick (2004) and a BSc (Hons) from the University of St. Andrews (1999), Scotland, both in Geology. Dr. Osinski’s research interests are diverse and interdisciplinary in nature, motivated by understanding the evolution of the surface of the Earth and other planetary bodies as well as the origin and evolution of life. He has conducted fieldwork on 5 continents, including Antarctica, Australasia, and Africa, but the Canadian Arctic is where much of his work takes place. In addition to teaching at Western, Dr. Osinski is also involved in providing geology training to Canadian and US astronauts and is passionate and science communication and public outreach. In his spare time, Dr. Osinski enjoys rock climbing, mountaineering, mountain biking, and skiing – skills that also frequently come in handy for his remote Arctic expeditions.Travel with Gordon
RCGS and Can Geo Creative Director
Javier Frutos is the creative and brand director of the RCGS and Canadian Geographic. In that capacity, he regularly works with both professional and amateur photographers (the latter, members of the Can Geo Photo Club) to evaluate their images and help them improve their trade. He is also an award-winning photographer whose assignments have seen him travel extensively in Canada, Europe, the U.S., Mexico and numerous other locations around the world.
Javier has been an RCGS travel ambassador since 2017 and he regularly travels on editorial assignments for Canadian Geographic and Canadian Geographic Travel.
“My favourite photographic subjects are unique and remote places. To have the opportunity to go to places that not a lot of other people have the chance to visit is very special. I cherish sharing those places with others through the camera lens. When you travel to a new place, you have to do some research and learn more about that location. Once you know more about the wildlife, habitat or culture it makes the photographic process so much more interesting.”Travel with Javier
Jenny Wong is a visual storyteller who specializes in wild places and wild creatures, with a BSc in Chemistry. She strives to understand the world through science and communicate it through the visual and emotional art of storytelling. Conservation is without a doubt the underlying theme in her work, and is currently exploring the intersection of climate change in the Canadian High Arctic.
Having backpacked around the world, and travelled on all continents except Australia, she is well versed and adaptable in various cultural etiquettes.
Photography was never chosen, but rather something that happened organically. Starting out as a paperweight in her travel bag, to becoming the trusted companion that she shared all her experiences and stories with. Camera in hand she specializes adventure, travel, wildlife, and commercial photography. Currently, her personal passion lies in using her craft to spread awareness about the frontlines and last lines of climate change, the Arctic.
Jenny is an honoured Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.Travel with Jenny
Jill Heinerth is an underwater explorer, writer, photographer, speaker, and filmmaker. A pioneer of technical rebreather diving, she has led expeditions into icebergs in Antarctica, volcanic lava tubes, and submerged caves worldwide. Jill is the first Explorer-in-Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Her memoir, INTO THE PLANET, has been lauded by the Wall Street Journal, Oprah Magazine, and the New York Times. Her children’s book THE AQUANAUT is a Blue Ribbon Selection for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Jill is a Fellow of the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame, Underwater Academy of Arts and Sciences, Women Divers Hall of Fame and the Explorers Club, which awarded her with the William Beebe Award for ocean exploration.
CEO of the RCGS
John Geiger was appointed Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and Canadian Geographic Enterprises in 2013.
Prior to that, he served on the Society’s Board of Governors for 8 years, culminating with his election as its 13th President in 2010.
As CEO, John leads the organization, overseeing all operations and, in conjunction with the Board, provides strategic direction. He is the internationally bestselling author of seven books, including Frozen In Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition, The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible, and Chapel of Extreme Experience: A Short History of Stroboscopic Light and the Dream Machine. William S. Burroughs called him “a fellow writer of exploration literature.” His work has been translated into fourteen languages.
John has lectured widely, including at the Bristol Festival of Ideas, Edinburgh Book Festival, IdeaCity, Canada Club, London, Sonic Acts, Amsterdam, Mystic Seaport Museum, Explorers Club, N.Y. and Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine, University College, London. In 2014, he presented the Roald Amundsen Memorial Lecture, Fram Museum, Oslo. He has appeared on many television and radio programs, and has been featured in major documentary films including ‘Arctic Ghost Ship’ on PBS Nova, ‘The Angel Effect’ on National Geographic Channel’s Explorer, and ‘Flicker’ on Bravo. . He is the former chair of the Editorial Board of The Globe and Mail. In 2015 John received the Polar Medal.
John Olivero is a professional adventurer who leads cultural history, diving, and ecotourism trips that introduce visitors to outdoor adventures in Newfoundland. He is a diving instructor and cave diver, boat captain, expedition safety specialist, outdoor guide and cultural historian. John leads visitors on ocean based eco-tours while describing and even singing about Newfoundland’s unique culture. John Olivero has served as a safety specialist, diver and camera operator supporting numerous television specials and scientific expeditions in Newfoundland including the 2016 Royal Canadian Geographic expedition of the year, MineQuest, exploring the Bell Island Mines.
John is Chief Happiness Officer at Ocean Quest Adventures and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Why does he do all this? Yes it is fun, of course. Also, John does all this to fulfill his number one goal in life:
“Help people enjoy their lives MORE!”Travel with John
John P. Smol, OC, PhD, FRCGS, FRSC, FRS is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Biology at Queen’s University, where he also held the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change for the maximum three 7-year terms. ). Smol founded and co-directs the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab, dedicated to the study of long-term global environmental change, and especially as it relates to lake ecosystems. John has authored >650 journal publications and chapters since 1980, as well as completed 22 books (with 3 more in preparation), and has lectured and conducted research on all seven continents. He was also the founding Editor of the Journal of Paleolimnology and current editor of Environmental Reviews.
From the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, John was named a RCGS Fellow in 2010 and was awarded the Bergmann Medal for Excellence in Arctic Leadership and Science, as well as the society’s senior medal, the Vincent Massey Medal, to “recognize outstanding career achievement in the exploration, development or description of the geography of Canada”. Canadian Geographic named Smol the 2008 Environmental Scientist of the Year (shared with Jules Blais), chose him as one of Canada’s Top 100 Explorers, and selected him as one of nine Change Makers – “Canadians changing our world”. In 2013, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for his environmental work and in 2018 a Fellow of the Royal Society (London). He was elected President of the Academy of Science, Royal Society of Canada (2019-2022).
Joseph Frey, CD, FRCGS is the Chair of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s College of Fellows and a past Secretary, Executive Committee, and former Governor of the Society. He is a former Director and Vice-President of The Explorers Club, New York City. Joseph was a RCGS member of the Parks Canada-led expedition which discovered Sir John Franklin’s flagship HMS Erebus in the North West Passage.
Some of the other expeditions Joseph has actively participated in include the US National Parks Service’s search for the Spanish slave ship Guerrero off Key Largo, Florida and NOAA’s Battle of the Atlantic marine archaeology survey of the German submarine U-576 off North Carolina’s Outer Banks. He co-led an Explorers Club coral reef biodiversity mapping expedition in the Bahamas’ Peterson Cay National Park and engaged in another with the University of Havana in Cuba’s Punta Francis National Park.
With a passion for archaeology, an important focus of Joseph’s is on 17th Century Huron-Wendat sites. He has also worked on palaeontology excavations with internationally-renowned palaeontologist Dr. Phil Currie.
Fascinated by polar sciences Joseph has taken part in expeditions to the Antarctic, Greenland and across the Canadian High Arctic with various organizations including the National Science Foundation, Antarctica New Zealand and the Meteorological Service of Canada. He was one of only seven international journalists chosen to report from the Antarctic on field sciences during the 2001-2002 research season.
Joseph has travelled to over 80 countries and all seven continents. An accomplished science writer, he has been published in TIME, The Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, Geographical, Canadian Geographic, Medical Post and DIVER to name a few.Travel with Joseph
When not locked down by a pandemic, Ken McGoogan is a globe-trotting, history-hunting storyteller who survived shipwreck off Dar es Salaam, chased the ghost of Jane Lady Franklin from Russell Square to Van Diemen’s Land, and placed a John Rae memorial plaque in the High Arctic. Ken has published fifteen books – mostly nonfiction narratives, but also novels and memoirs. His best-selling titles include Dead Reckoning, Celtic Lightning, Fatal Passage, 50 Canadians Who Changed the World, Lady Franklin’s Revenge, and Flight of the Highlanders.
In 1998, Ken landed a fellowship that took him to the University of Cambridge (Wolfson College) for three months. There he conceived his biography of John Rae, Fatal Passage, which gave rise to a string of books and a series of prizes, among them the Pierre Berton Award for Popular History, the University of British Columbia Medal for Canadian Biography, the Canadian Authors’ Association History Award, the Writers’ Trust Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize, and an American Christopher Award for “a work of artistic excellence that affirms the highest values of the human spirit.”
Ken has been active with the RCGS since 2008, when he began a four-year stint on the expedition committee. Over the years, he has published numerous pieces in Canadian Geographic magazine, among them a commentary on the discovery of the long-lost Franklin-ship Erebus and an excerpt from his book Flight of the Highlanders. He was a “featured fellow” in October 2015. In September 2017, when leading RCGS fellow Joseph Frey had to withdraw from a Northwest Passage assignment, Ken happily jumped into the breach, did the voyage, and wrote a long feature for Britain’s Geographical magazine. In May 2018, with the support of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Ken did a whirlwind four-city tour on behalf of the RCGS. He flew to Glasgow, rented a car, and gave presentations in Dumfries, Galashiels, Ayr, and Helensburgh. In December 2019, he was thrilled to give a talk at RCGS headquarters in Ottawa, where 200 people turned up and he signed a whack of books.
After graduating with a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University, Kim Gray spent two decades working as a traditional journalist in newspapers, television and radio throughout Canada. On July 1, 2011, she turned to travel publishing — co-founding the nationally celebrated travel blog Toque & Canoe, a quality digital magazine that explores travel culture in Canada and beyond.
For the past ten years, Kim has been championing transformative travel experiences from coast to coast to coast on her CBC radio travel column and in front of an always growing audience at Toque & Canoe, which currently has 35K followers on all of its channels combined.
Her efforts “to make Canada better known to Canadians and the world” led to her RCGS Fellow nomination in 2016. She often amplifies RCGS and Canadian Geographic content on her social media channels.
Trips that continue to inspire her? Observing, with Indigenous wildlife guides, a rare spirit bear fishing for salmon on B.C.’s remote west coast. Kayaking with beluga whales in the mouth of Manitoba’s Churchill River (and maybe swimming with them, too!) Travelling on a small expedition cruise ship with the RCGS to Nunavut, where she would volunteer on board as a Fellow and fall in love with the Arctic Archipelago’s jewel-like icebergs.
“I’ve been encouraging Canadians to travel in their own backyards for more than a decade now. I plan to continue on this path. Why? Because what is out there is extraordinary and if you experience it, it will deepen your sense of country like nothing else. What’s more, the people you’ll meet on this industry’s frontlines — from cultural ambassadors to wildlife guides to aurora borealis hunters — are the kind of people you want to hang out with. Many of these folks have become my friends. Now, more than ever, Canada’s travel industry needs you. So I ask, do you really need to travel one more time to Las Vegas?”
In 2017, Kim is proud to have helped develop the inaugural guidebook to Indigenous tourism in Canada with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. She’s been covering the growth of this travel sector closely and she encourages all Canadians, as an act of reconciliation, to learn more about this effort and the incredible experiences to be had.
Kim is married to David Gray and they have two wonderful children, Emma and Jackson.
Marina Jimenez is a communications consultant, travel writer, and former journalist who has filed stories from around the world, including from Pakistan, Jordan, the Middle East, the Philippines, as well as throughout Latin America. She has worked for six newsrooms in three provinces including stints as an editorial writer at The Globe and Mail, foreign writer for the Toronto Star, and on-air reporter for CBC Alberta News. She is the recipient of two Gold National Magazine Awards, and a National Newspaper Award for her work on the immigration beat. In 2009/10, was a Southam Journalism Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto.
Following her career in journalism, Marina worked for five years for the University of Toronto; in May, 2022, she accepted a new role as Communications Director at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, UHN and Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.
A Fellow of the RCGS, she has travelled by sea with the RCGS in the Eastern Arctic and Atlantic Canada, including Sable Island, as well as to Panama and Costa Rica. She recently wrote several articles on Florida for Canadian Geographic magazine.
With a lifelong love of travel, Marina believes everyone benefits the change in perspective, alternate sense of place and creativity that flow from travelling and experiencing other cultures and destinations.
She has visited all of Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories and counts among her most delightful memories: Fogo Island, Newfoundland, for its rugged beauty and unique culture, Devon Island, for its stunning solitude and vistas, and the spectacular hikes and trails in Lake Louise, Alberta. Global highlights include: hiking through Peru’s Sacred Valley; the amazing creatures including blue-footed boobies found on the Galapagos Islands; and the timeless countryside in Tuscany, Italy.
Mario Rigby was born in Turks & Caicos Islands and spent his childhood in Germany, before moving to Toronto, Canada at the age of 16. He has always had a tremendous drive to push the limits in athletics, exploration and anything else he puts his mind to. Starting with a love for track and field in his early days, competing for his national team. While Mario’s entrepreneurial spirit and athleticism led him to open a business in the fitness industry upon his arrival to Toronto, he desired a grander challenge that led him to transition out of his career to pursue an explorative adventure that would allow him to better connect with the world around him. Thus, the Crossing Africa expedition was born.
In 2018, Mario completed his crossing Africa journey, a two-year trek walking and kayaking from Cape Town, South Africa to Cairo, Egypt. This expedition allowed him to connect with communities and share their message and stories with the world with a mission of bridging the gap between humanity. His goal was to inspire people locally and globally to get out, be brave, and see the world.
Marlis Butcher is an environmental conservationist, author, and photographer. She is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and of The Explorers Club. Based in Ontario, Marlis volunteers on the board of directors of the Royal Botanical Gardens, and served on the board of the Bruce Trail Conservancy protecting the Niagara Escarpment, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. She’s a canoeist, kayaker, hiker, cyclist, Nordic skier, world traveller, and a “park bagger”.
Marlis is obsessed with getting to (aka “bagging”) all the national parks of Canada, and learning about her country. In 2019 she became the first visitor to all 47 Canadian parks. To inspire others to get to know the country, Marlis “shares the park experience” in her book “Park Bagger – Adventures in the Canadian National Parks”, published in 2021.Travel with Marlis
Myrna Pearman was raised on a farm northeast of Rimbey, Alberta. She became interested in photography while in high school and her love of nature was inspired by a local self-taught naturalist, Fred Schutz.
Myrna graduated with a BSc Honours in Geography from the University of Alberta in 1979, then returned home to care for her ailing parents. After their passing, she worked as a house painter and wedding photographer before becoming the Assistant Waskasoo Park Naturalist, Red Deer AB, in 1986. In 1987, she started a dream career as Biologist and Site Services Manager at Ellis Bird Farm (EBF). Under her leadership, EBF became an internationally recognized conservation, education and research centre. She retired in 2020. She is now the Resident Naturalist for Chin Ridge Seeds, Taber, AB and Coordinator of the Nature Central program for the Red Deer River Naturalists (RDRN). She also volunteers as the RDRN newsletter editor and sits on several committees.
Myrna has received recognition for her conservation and education work from the Red Deer River Naturalists, Nature Alberta, the North American Bluebird Society, the Alberta Chapter of the Wildlife Society and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2019. As a Geography graduate, she is keenly interested in the work of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) and has been a long-time subscriber to Canadian Geographic. Her extensive writing and public speaking experience, management expertise, and her long-term efforts to showcase and promote the Indigenous, cultural and natural history of Central Alberta emulates the RCGS’s core goal of “making Canada better known to Canadians.” She published her first article on backyard bird feeing in Canadian Geographic Online in February 2021. She recently submitted a Fellow’s article about her love of Mountain Bluebirds and her most recent bluebird book.
Myrna writes a monthly photo essay in the Red Deer Advocate and is a columnist for Nature Alberta and The Gardener magazine. She contributes to several wildlife and photography Facebook groups and has a growing social media following. She has authored/co-authored several scientific publications and has written several books.
Myrna has traveled extensively (always with her cameras) and is especially interested in photographing—and sharing her love for—Alberta wildlife and wild places. She is in demand as a speaker and enjoys mountain biking, kayaking snowshoeing and spending time at her cabin.Travel with Myrna
Nancy Webb is an Ottawa native — passionate about the heritage and natural beauty and many activities this capital city has to offer. She studied Fine arts at the University of Toronto and graduated from Ontario College of Art and Design.
Nancy began her career in the Gallery world — working with artists, setting up shows and opening events. Located in Ottawa’s Byward Market, she loved the opportunity it gave her to work with national (and numerous Indigenous) artists and meet all sorts of interesting individuals — both famous and ordinary.
Most of Nancy’s career has been spent as President and Director of Client Services of Banfield (a strategic marketing and communications design agency), where she has led strategic and creative teams on many national and international brands for over 25 years. Nancy has learned much over the years: from philatelic marketing, to arts and healthcare organizations; satellite communications and network infrastructure and so much more. On top of that, it gave her an opportunity to travel and explore the country and the world with an array of national and international clients.
Among those brands was the RCGS, which she was introduced to in 1996 by Louise Maffet (past Chairman). Nancy has since spent many years getting to know Canadian Geographic, working alongside Gilles Gagnier on numerous initiatives including: brand strategy, Online Atlas of Canada, advocacy campaigns, educational resources, AGM support, and many others. Nancy was very honoured to be nominated as a Fellow of the Society in 2010.
Since handing over the reins to Banfield, Nancy has launched into travel for personal interest – squeezing in a two-month exploration of Australia and New Zealand just before the pandemic. She has continued to enjoy trips closer to home since the pandemic and continued her passion for nature and the outdoors — kayaking, hiking and cycling adventures embarking from her beloved cabin in the woods near Charleston Lake, Ont.
From the peaks of the Canadian Rockies to iceberg-laden seas off the coast of Greenland, Paul’s journey to capture the “under-documented” is a testament to his passion for exploration, his creative vision and fierce sense of determination. These qualities, combined with his pursuit of fresh perspectives and a deep love for the landscape, have resulted in an ever-growing portfolio of cutting-edge images.
Whether it’s wading waist-deep into a glacier-fed lake or chasing auroras from dusk til dawn, Paul is known for an adventurous spirit that draws him to the extraordinary. Highlighting his collection are his signature self-portraits, epic mountaineering moments, dreamy astrophotography images, as well as a window into some of the most remote corners of the planet.
Paul’s images have been featured on countless book covers and in a variety of highly regarded publications, including National Geographic, Maclean’s, Alpinist, the Huffington Post, The Guardian, Canadian Geographic, Islands, PhotoLife, and explore magazine. His client list includes leading national and global brands such as Canon, Apple, Dell, Arc’Teryx, Panasonic and MEC. His book on aurora photography in the Canadian Rockies is due for publication Spring 2022 and is honoured Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
Rick, through his passion for adventure, has spent the last twenty-five years delivering great experiences while protecting and preserving the culture, history, heritage and nature that Newfoundland and Labrador has to offer. Rick is an expedition leader, cave diver and instructor for PADI and has guided many guests and professional photographers and cinematographers to explore the coastal communities and cold water off Newfoundland. This includes diving the many shipwrecks, taking expeditions around icebergs and viewing marine fish and wildlife such as the humpback whale. Rick has stepped foot on or been along the entire coast of Newfoundland and Labrador while leading these world class expeditions. Rick, along with his wife Debbie and Ocean Quest family, has won multiple awards, the most cherished are the Sustainable Tourism Awards for Canada in 2005 and again in 2021. Rick is and has been a member of numerous tourism industry boards and is a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and The Explorers Club.Travel with Rick
Rob is an accomplished outdoors person carrying exceptional expertise in the world of photography. With a background in tourism, Rob has achieved international publication, award-winning photographs and a penchant for wilderness. Early in his career Rob started out as a photographer’s assistance in Basel, Switzerland, which laid the foundation for his success today. He has photographed for Ontario Tourism, Parks Canada, Ontario Parks and many organizations actively supporting tourism.
Over the last decade Rob explored many remote and wilderness areas including Antarctica, the Arctic, Northern Quebec and Labrador as well as Greenland, all in the role of expedition photographer and photographer in residence. In October 2012 Rob was nominated and elected into the Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s, College of Fellows and in 2016 The Globe and Mail and Lexus profiled him along with 9 other artists. He co-authored ‘An Artists and Photographers Guide to Wild Ontario’ and has also been a contributor for a number of published books. Rob’s work is proudly displayed in the Canadian Canoe Museum, Ontario Parks French River Visitor Centre & Arrowhead Visitor Centre and many of his images are prominently displayed in private homes.
An avid teacher, Rob instructs photography part time at Fleming College, writes for northern tourism organizations and maintains his photographic gallery.
Robin Esrock is a bestselling author, journalist, TV host and public speaker. Having travelled to over 110 countries on 7 continents, his stories and photography have appeared in major publications on five continents, including National Geographic Traveler, The Guardian, The Chicago Tribune, South China Morning Post and Sydney Morning Herald. A former travel columnist for The Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, Outpost and MSN, Robin has been profiled as a travel expert by 60 Minutes, CBC, MSNBC, ABC, CTV, Global, Travel and Leisure, The Wall Street Journal many others.
Sharing the stage with Buzz Aldrin and Ken Burns, Robin was honoured as Master of Ceremonies at the Explorer’s Club Annual Dinner in New York. He is the creator and co-host of the 40-part television series Word Travels, and his passion for travel has been seen by millions of viewers in nearly two-dozen languages on National Geographic and Travel Channel International, and on OLN, Prime Video and CityTV in Canada. These adventures were also captured for his international bestselling book, The Great Global Bucket List.
Robin spent years scouring every province and territory for Canada’s most unique experiences, recording his journey in the smash bestseller The Great Canadian Bucket List. He has also written two bestselling travel books about Australia. A Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society, Robin currently writes the national column Bucket Listed for Can Geo Travel. Born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, he lives in Vancouver with his wife and two children.Travel with Robin
Can Geo Photographer-in-Residence
Scott Forsyth is a professional photographer specializing in the Canadian landscape. Devoted to exploring Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Arctic Ocean coastlines, Scott has embarked on a lifelong photographic journey to depict the vastness and beauty of the Canadian landscape. On the basis of this photographic quest, he is a Fellow of both the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and The Explorer’s Club. In 2019 Canadian Geographic designated Scott to be their third Photographer-in-Residence. A certified Marine Guide for ship-based expedition touring companies Scott leads photographic excursions to remote coastal locations across Canada on an annual basis.Travel with Scott
Travis Steffens is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Guelph and Executive Director of the charity Planet Madagascar. His research and conservation efforts focus on a OneHealth approaches to conserving lemurs that live in connection to people. Travis is Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society and Explorers Club and is also a member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Primate Specialist Group.
Travis loves the outdoors and photography and has spent over 15 years leading/hosting groups and expeditions in Canada, Belize, Costa Rica, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Madagascar, and Russia. Travis has an intimate knowledge of wildlife, cultures and landscapes, and he leverages his experience in Anthropology and OneHealth to help guests understand the connections between people, wildlife and their shared landscapes.
RCGS Honorary Vice-President
Wade Davis is a writer, photographer and filmmaker whose work has taken him from the Amazon to Tibet, Africa to Australia, Polynesia to the Arctic. Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society from 2000 to 2013, he is currently Professor of Anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. Author of 23 books, including One River, The Wayfinders and Into the Silence, winner of the 2012 Samuel Johnson prize, the top nonfiction prize in the English language, he holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series written and produced for the NGS. Davis, one of 20 Honorary Members of the Explorers Club, is the recipient of 12 honorary degrees, as well as the 2009 Gold Medal from the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the 2011 Explorers Medal, the 2012 David Fairchild Medal for botanical exploration, the 2015 Centennial Medal of Harvard University, the 2017 Roy Chapman Andrews Society’s Distinguished Explorer Award, the 2017 Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration, and the 2018 Mungo Park Medal from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. In 2016, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2018 he became an Honorary Citizen of Colombia. His latest book is Magdalena: River of Dreams, Knopf, 2020.
RCGS Honorary Fellow
Wilson Bearhead is Nakota, a member of the Wabamun Lake First Nation in Treaty 6 territory and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He is the co-author of the children’s book series, Siha Tooskin Knows and the recent recipient of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation Indigenous Elder Award. Wilson has served as Chief in his own community, Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty 6 as well as the Assembly of First Nations Alberta Regional Chief. Wilson was the first Elder in Residence for Edmonton Public Libraries before moving to serve as the Elder for Elk Island Public Schools for 4 years. Mr. Bearhead has served his people for many years in ceremony, is a singer and still loves to dance pow wow in the men’s traditional category. Wilson’s grandmother Annie was a powerful, positive influence in his young life, teaching him all of the lessons that gave him the strength, knowledge, and skills to overcome difficult times and embrace the gifts of life.