When people discover I’m a travel writer they often ask for my favorite travel destination. I cringe knowing what’s coming next.
I say “Canada” and they look disappointed, like someone with a mass of frequent flyer points should long for a Caribbean island or a distant Himalayan kingdom. But the more I travel, the more I love this country. So it was a special day last month when I was made a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), an honor bestowed for my contributions to geography and making Canada better known to Canadians and the world.
The RCGS has been around since 1929. Banting – the inventor of insulin – was one of the first fellows, former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed was a fellow, and Alex Trebek of Jeopardy fame is a fellow (and honorary president). Pat Morrow, the second Canadian to climb Everest and his wife Baiba were honored at this year’s event with the Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration.
Laval St. Germain, who has climbed the highest peak of every continent except Antarctica and rowed solo across the Atlantic, and Debra Garside, renowned for her Sable Island photography, were other Calgary area residents made fellows this year. It was a heck of a party with no shortage of interesting conversation.
“History is about the past, geography is about the future,” extolled Trebek as the RCGS gala got underway next to towering totem poles in the Canadian Museum of History’s grand hall. With six-story high windows offering a view of Parliament Hill I think it is one of the country’s most impressive indoor places and a perfect backdrop for Trebek’s reminder that geography shapes every aspect of our lives.
Canada’s vast distances, northern climate, and abundant wildlife make it a wonderful place to live and travel. As we approach the end of 2017 my New Year’s resolution is keep telling as many people as possible about Canada’s wonders and explore as many places in this country as I can fit in my calendar.
Do you want to see more of Canada? Here are some of my favorite Canadian places:
Get your free insider’s guide to Canada from World Nomads here. I wrote the section on Haida Gwaii, a place where you feel spiritual connections between people and landscape.
Speaking of Haida Gwaii, this story on ghost stories and cinnamon buns highlights the unusual experiences tourists may find with Haida watchmen.
Large wildlife roaming safely through an urban area? Perhaps only in Canada. Read why you should visit Columbia Valley’s Village of Radium Hot Springs for a chance to watch bighorns from your hotel.
Enjoy the best of the holiday season!
Celebrating Geography – Click to Tweet.
Also published on Medium.