News from The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
The vibe was electric as more than 500 people gathered at the newly renovated National Arts Centre in Ottawa on Nov. 1 to celebrate what will be remembered as a milestone year for The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. 2018 saw the Society move into a historic new headquarters in the political and ceremonial heart of Ottawa on Sussex Drive, complete work on a groundbreaking educational resource in partnership with First Nations, Métis and Inuit organizations, and take part in the recommissioning of the RCGS Resolute, the first vessel to be flagged as a “Royal Canadian Geographical Ship.” With all that and more going on, it’s no wonder attendance at this year’s College of Fellows Dinner was the highest ever. Prominent guests included David Johnston, the former governor general of Canada, and his wife Sharon; Her Excellency Anne Kari Hansen Ovind, ambassador of Norway to Canada; actor Jared Harris of Mad Men, The Crown and The Terror fame; Johnny Issaluk, the Inuit Games great and The Terror actor; Philip Hatfield, head of the British Library’s Eccles Centre for American Studies; visual artist Chris Cran; and mountaineer Charles “Chic” Scott. Not only did the Society add a new Honorary Vice-president (underwater exploration legend Joe Macinnis), a new annual award (the Louie Kamookak Medal, in memory of the oral historian, who died in March) and a new Explorer-in-Residence (ultramarathon runner and adventurer Ray Zahab), the 2018 addition of 85 Fellows brings the total number to more than 1,000 for the first time in the Society’s history. Read on for more of the evening’s highlights.