2015 Wilderness Canoe Symposium Program

30th annual Canoeing & Wilderness Symposium on

Northern Travels & Northern Perspectives XIV

20-21 February, 2015 at Monarch Park Collegiate Auditorium, One Hanson St, Toronto.

All sessions in the auditorium.


Friday evening, February 20, 2015 – 35 min per presentation

6:30 - 7:20 p.m. - Foyer: Registration, programme and name tags.

7:20 - 7:35 p.m. - Introductory Remarks - George Luste

7:35 - 9:30 p.m. - Session I - General Overview - Chair – Dave Young

- Louise Abbott – QC “Nunaaluk: A Forgotten Story””

- Saqamaw Mi’sel Joe – NL “An Aboriginal Chief’s Journey”

- James Raffan – ON “Circling the Midnight Sun”

9:30 - 10:30 p.m. - Reception in cafeteria.


Saturday, February 21, 2015 - 25 min per presentation

8:30 a.m. - Doors opened for attendees & book table opens.

9:00 - 10:30 a.m. - Session II – Chair: Jennifer Kingsley

- Nancy Scott – ON “Lake Nipigon: Where the Great Lakes Begin”

- Brian Johnston – MB “Messages from the Subarctic: publishing notes from Tyrrell’s Cairn”

- Lester Kovac & Lynette Chubb – ON “Ungava Crossing 2014”


10:30 - 11:10 a.m. - Refreshment break in cafeteria + book tables


11:10 - 12:40 p.m. - Session III – Chair: Kate Weekes

- Jeremy Ward – ON “Freighter Canoes: an illustrated exploration of the iconic northern workboat”

- Jack Goering – ON “Retracing Franklin’s Route from Yellowknife to Coppermine”

- Paul Watson – BC “Finding Erebus: The true Story Behind the Discovery of Sir John Franklin’s Flagship”


12:40 - 2:20 p.m. - Lunch break [Due to limited seating, cafeteria use is available to meal-ticket holders only.] + book tables


1:20 - 2:10 p.m. – Dave Hadfield - ON Wilderness Music Concert [Ferguson Hall, entrance from the Lobby]


2:20 - 3:50 p.m. - Session IV – Chair: Katie Tanz

- Rick Stronks – ON “Camping in Black Bear Country”

- Devon Ide & Anna McClean – MA “Our Summer in the Woods: Growing Up with Canoe Tripping”

- Jason White: “Finding Canoe Partners in Hard Times”


3:50 - 4:30 p.m. - Refreshment break in cafeteria + book tables


4:30 - 6:00 p.m. - Session V – Chair: Erika Bailey

- Kevin Redmond – NL “Newfoundland and Labrador: Abandonment & Place-based Journeys”

- Emma Brandy – ON “Filling the Gap: A journey through autoetnography”

- Conor Mihell  & Virginia Marshall – ON “L’Eau Vive: Canoeing the Great Whale River in Northern Quebec”


6:00 - 7:30 p.m. - Supper break [Due to limited seating, cafeteria use is available to meal-ticket holders only.] + book tables


7:15 p.m. - Northern Books Table closes


7:30 - 9:00 p.m. - Session VI – Chair: Bill King - Concluding Overviews and Future -

- Chris Lepard – ON “South Nahanni River, NWT – River of Dreams”

- Barbara Burton – ON “Orchids, pits and pictographs-exploring Northwestern Ontario’s Lake Superior and Quetico

  paddling routes”

- Kate Weekes - ON “Banks of the Snake: Northern Songs”



Background Music Selections by Sandy Richardson.

Thank you for coming.

Web information available via http://www.wcsymposium.com


Participants at the 30th Annual Wilderness and Canoeing Symposium

February 20-21, 2015, Toronto



ABBOTT, Louise– Louise Abbott and Niels Jensen run a multi-media production business called Rural Route Communications (www.ruralroutecommunications.com) in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. They specialize in photo essays, books, and films. Nunaaluk: A Forgotten Story has been screened at five film festivals to date; won the Best Film by an Established Filmmaker Award at the Jasper Short Film Festival; and received nominations for the Best Documentary Short award at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco and for the Prix Excellence given by Aventure Écotourisme Québec.

BAILEY, Erika– Erika Bailey is an international transition advisor at the University of Toronto. In her spare time, she is a writer, personal coach, editor, and quite a bit of a tea-drinker; all bi-products of being a story-listener. She recently published her masters thesis, Paddling as Place: Experiential Learning of Place and Ecological Identity – an arts-based narrative inquiry into experiential learning on canoe trips. Erika has canoed all her life, a gift taught to her immigrant parents by her Poppa – Omond Solandt.

BRANDY, Emma– is a young outdoor educator from Toronto, Ontario. Emma has spent much of her life working with children and youth through various workplaces like summer camp, Trails Youth Initiatives, the Wildlands League and Outward Bound. Emma currently works for the Outdoor Council of Canada, helping to develop and provide accessible and engaging outdoor leadership training to young people and adults across the nation.

BURTON, Barbara-is leading an active retired live near Huntsville ON after a career of high school teaching and coaching. Together with her late husband George Drought she taught moving water canoe skills and guided arctic canoe trips for many years through their company Wilderness Bound. Barbara has paddled numerous rivers north and south of the Arctic Circle.

CHUBB, Lynette–is a self-employed artist ( http://acrylart.ca/) and canoe instructor who has managed to meld her love of the woods & waterways with her city existence & artistic calling. Laco used Chubb Crater (aka Pingualuit) to lure Lynette out of the woods & into the barrens to explore and map many Nunavik Rivers. Their detailed trip reports are all online at http://sites.google.com/site/LandLtrips/

GOERING, Jack– born 1925 in Barcelona, Spain, of British parents.  Jack arrived to Canada in 1941 from England, and that summer, with schoolmate Archie Jones, canoed from Georgian Bay to Algonquin Park and back. Graduated in 1948 as Mechanical Engineer and later worked as a teacher at Trinity College School from 1961 -1985. He paddled the Rat in 1965, first of several arctic canoe trips with Eric and Pamela Morse and others. Now? Continuing efforts to save the world!

GUSEV, Aleksandar– past Chair of WCA and current Editor of Nastawgan, Aleks is supporting George in organizing WCS. In his spare time, Aleks organizes group ski trips, teaches white-water canoeing and is a Director of Paddler Co-op, a non-for-profit paddling school in Palmer Rapids. He splits his time between home in Toronto and his cabin in Bell's Rapids.

HADFIELD, Dave– canoe and snowshoe tripper of many years, Dave’s music originates in his explorations of the Shield-Forest in NE Manitoba and NW Ontario. His songs are deeply rooted in the land, telling stories of people who’ve lived there past and present – some are comical, some are deeply-felt celebrations of wilderness, but they always touch the spirit of those who like to wander north. Dave will play a concert in the Library after lunch, and his music will transport you away to another time and place. Website at http://www.hadfield.ca/

IDE, Devon– Devon and Anna, two juniors in high school, spend their summers canoe tripping at Camp Keewaydin, Temagami. At the oldest canoe tripping camp in the world, they learned to canoe trip traditionally in wood canvas canoes using tumplines and wannigans to portage.  The experiences they shared together have shaped them into the people they are today and they are looking forward to sharing these experiences with you too.

JOHNSTON, Brian– Brian Johnston is a Far North canoe tripper, wilderness whitewater paddler, canoe instructor, Paddle Canada Director, professional educator, and periodic contributor to canoeing media including Nastawgan. He has recently published On Top of a Boulder: Notes from Tyrrell's Cairn. For more information see www.JohnstonPursuits.ca

KING, Bill– is a 'mostly-retired' surgeon who, for many years, has maintained his sanity (at least in his opinion) with regular doses of wilderness. His long involvement with the Wilderness Canoe Association has been an invaluable source of friends and traveling partners.

KINGSLEY, Jennifer  is writer, naturalist and audio producer. She is the author of Paddlenorth: Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic Wild(Greystone Boooks, 2014) and her radio documentaries have aired around the world. Jennifer has paddled several Arctic rivers as well as a few more closer to her Ottawa home. She is currently the first Global Field Correspondent for Lindblad Expeditions in partnership with National Geographic, she guides aboard the National Geographic Explorer, and she just got home from Cambodia. www.jenniferkingsley.ca

KOVAC, Lester– Laco (pronounced “Latzo”) is a software engineer, emigrated from Czechoslovakia in 1992, where he had been hiking the mountains and exploring and mapping the caves of Slovakia. In Canada he’s discovered the passion of canoeing and mapping remote routes together with Lynette. L&L’s trip reports can be found at http://sites.google.com/site/LandLtrips/and Laco's canoe maps are listed at http://www.cartespleinair.org/.

LEPARD, Chris– along with her husband John, Chris discovered her passion for wilderness canoeing and exploration on their first trip down the South Nahanni River over 20 years ago.  Since that life changing adventure (in a single canoe!), Chris and John have paddled the South Nahanni 5 times as well as canoeing over 15,000 kilometers on many northern lakes and rivers. Chris loves capturing the beauty of the wilderness in her photographic images and also in her fibre art work.

LUSTE, George– came to Canada (Wawa) at age 8 in 1948 and started his canoeing on a solo trip in 1962 to James Bay. In the US for ten years, Linda and I met and married in 1965. We had our honeymoon canoeing in Algonquin Park and our twins in 1969. A canoe trip across Labrador in 1968 and many trips ever since, with whole family, with Linda, with other friends and some long sole canoe trips – in areas of wilderness Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories and British Columbia. Now, together with Linda, we are trying to deal with the eight thousand northern books at home.

MARSHALL, Virginia - is a paddle sports magazine editor and outdoor guide. Last summer, she joined Conor Mihell and two others on a 30-day canoe journey across northern Quebec. She shares her perspective as a first-time visitor to the North, and reflects on the incredible learning found along the way.

MIHELL, Conor– is an award-winning journalist, outdoor guide and -educator based in Sault Ste. Marie. In 2014, Mihell and his wife, Kim, paddled with two friends across the wilds of northern Quebec, beyond the manipulated landscape of Hydro-Quebec. In this presentation, he explores the meaning of free-flowing rivers and long-distance wilderness journeys in the 21st century.


MCCLEAN, Anna– Devon and Anna, two juniors in high school, spend their summers canoe tripping at Camp Keewaydin Temagami. At the oldest canoe tripping camp in the world, they learned to canoe trip traditionally in wood canvas canoes using tumplines and wannigans to portage. The experiences they shared together have shaped them into the people they are today and they are looking forward to sharing these experiences with you too.

MI’SEL, Joe- Chief Misel Joe comes from a long line of saqamaws or chiefs in the Mi’kmaq territory. Chief Joe was educated in Mi’kmaq traditions and, after having left the reserve as a young man, he returned in 1973 and became involved in band government politics, first as a councilor and after the death of his uncle, Chief William Joe, he became traditional saqamaw and the Newfoundland district chief for the Mi’kmaq Grand Council. Chief Joe is also the spiritual leader of his people and has presented lectures on native medicines and traditional healing practices at several international alternative medicine conferences.

RAFFAN, James- is a writer, recovering academic and part-time ED of the Canadian Canoe Museum.  A Fellow of the Explorers Club and inveterate traveler, most recently a multi-legged journey around the world at 66.6ºN (that included the Coppermine Atanigi Expedition) for an upcoming book called Circling the Midnight Sun, he has produced a variety of other films, music, articles and bestselling books.  James is Past Chair of the Arctic Institute of North America as well as Past Governor of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, service for which he earned the Queen’s Golden (2002) and Diamond (2012) Jubilee Medals. www.jamesraffan.ca

REDMOND, Kevin– is currently completing his PhD exploring the realm of displaced communities: misplaced educational opportunities. Kevin is a master canoe instructor with Paddle Canada and former chair of CRCA program development and technical committees. As a photographer and writer Kevin is widely published with seven books, and ~ 75 covers, 75 articles and over 1,000 images to his credit. For more detail visit: http://www.kevinredmond.ca or contact him at: kevinredmond8@gmail.com

SCOTT, Nancy– has worked as a park planner with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources throughout Northern Ontario.   For over 25 years, her role involved field reconnaissance and preparation of management plans for such as Woodland Caribou, Wabakimi, Mississagi, and Killarney Provincial Parks. An avid canoeist and kayaker, Nancy is committed to the conservation of the natural world, with a particular passion for wilderness preservation.

STRONKS, Rick–is the Chief Park Naturalist in Algonquin Provincial Park where he coordinates the educational programs for the park. Prior to this, he has worked as a science teacher, fisheries biologist and environmental consultant. He has had a lifelong passion for the outdoors including bird watching, fishing, paddling, hiking and cycling.  

TANZ, Katie- Lauren and Katie have been connected to Keewaydin Camp since it first introduced girls into its hundred year old canoe tripping program in 1999. Since then, they have led teenage girls on 7 week, all-female trips through northern areas of Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. This past summer they traveled from Windigo Lake (north of Pickle Lake) to York Factory on the Hudson Bay.

WARD, Jeremy– having worked with The Canadian Canoe Museum for over sixteen years as the museum curator, Jeremy draws upon its internationally renowned collection of watercraft and archival materials to explore the rich legacy of cargo canoes used across the North. By integrating an expertise in canoe-making traditions into the historical research, combined with a passion for storytelling, Jeremy leads an unusual, illustrated exploration the Museum’s astonishing collection and illustrates the significance of the last of the working boats within the canoe family.

WATSON, Paul– is an award-winning photojournalist and best-selling author of two books, the memoir “Where Was Lives,” and “Magnum Revolution: 65 Years of Fighting for Freedom,” which he co-authored with The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson.

Watson is currently the Arctic correspondent for the Toronto Star, based in Vancouver, but spent most of his more than 25 years in journalism as a foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times and The Star, with a focus on reporting on war and other catastrophes.

He has received the Pulitzer Prize, the Robert Capa Gold Medaland the Hal Boyle Awardfor foreign reporting, both from the Overseas Press Club of America, the George Polk Awardfor foreign reporting, the Freedom of the Press Awardfrom the National Press Club (USA), four Canadian National Newspaper Awards and numerous other honors for his reporting and photography.You can follow him on Twitter: @wherewarlives

WEEKES, Katehas spent the past 7 years living in a little orange cabin on Squatter's Row outside of Whitehorse YT.  She is a musician and singer-songwriter who has toured throughout Canada as well as China and Japan.  Kate has four albums to her credit.  Her newest release, "Frost on Black Fur" (2014), features original songs about her life as a paddler and dog musher in Canada's north.

WHITE, Jason– is a guy who quits his job to go canoeing every summer. When he’s not canoeing or quitting his job he can be found trying to convince his friends to go paddling with him next summer. Annoyingly however, his friends have jobs and responsibilities.

YOUNG, David– WCA member for 20+ years, retired Math teacher, lots of rivers paddled including Hayes, Clearwater, Moisie, Harricanaw, Pigeon (Manitoba) etc. Served 4 years on the WCA board, and last 3 years as Chair.



2022 WCS Registration
2022 Program & Speakers

Contact Us