George Luste Lecture – 2019

“The Making of a Paddling Community” with Claudia Van Wijk

November 17th, 2019 from 2:30-4:30pm

Join us for an engaging Sunday afternoon talk by Claudia Van Wijk, who will be speaking on the making of a paddling community, based on her and her families’ contributions to the canoe and kayaking communities.

2:30-3:30pm   Luste Lecture and Q&A with Claudia Van Wijk and Stefani Van Wijk from Madawaska Kanu Centre. Light refreshments will be served from 2pm. 

3:30-4:30pm  Museum Tour with Curator Jeremy Ward, who will be expanding on the new museum exhibit design process!

The event is free/by donation for WCA and Canoe Museum members and volunteers, or with museum admission for non-members. Reservations are required for the 3:30pm tour with our Curator – contact Karen Taylor, 705 748 9153 x219 to reserve your spot. 

About Claudia Van Wijk

Kayaking is deeply a part of Claudia and her family’s history; her parents Christa & Hermann Kerckhoff, founded the Madawaska Kanu Centre in Barry’s Bay, Ontario – the first whitewater school in the world. Claudia would go on to become the co-owner and director of the Centre. Today the Madawaska Kanu Centre is run by the family’s third generation, her daughter, Stefi.
Claudia also followed in her athletic parent’s footsteps (they won the Canadian Whitewater Kayak Champion title in 1968), and made her mark on the international level as a 10 time Canadian Slalom Champion, 6 time Canadian Wildwater Champion, and winner of a bronze medal at the 1976 World Championships. 
For this work, and more, Claudia Van Wijk was the first female paddler to receive a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Paddle Awards for her contribution to paddle sports!

About the Luste Lecture

The Luste Lecture was conceived as a way to bring the Wilderness Canoe Association and the regular participants of its sister initiative the Wilderness Canoe Symposium closer to the Canadian Canoe Museum in celebration of the remarkable lifetime contribution Dr. George Luste made to all three organizations.  As a paddler, publisher, bibliophile and founder of the Wilderness Canoe Symposium, George Luste was a leader in the wilderness canoeing realm for over fifty years.

It is in recognition of George’s huge contribution to canoeing that members of the WCA came together with donations in his honour to create the Luste Lecture in partnership with the Canadian Canoe Museum.

Past Lecturers

2018 – Rob Stimpson

We went on a visual journey with photographer Rob Stimpson as he took us down rivers, paddles across lakes, sweating over portages with tales and musings of the great outdoors.  Rob has photographed for Ontario Tourism, Ontario Parks, and Parks Canada for many years, with his stunning images of the beloved land- and water-scapes of this province, country and beyond appearing on the covers of Ontario Parks guides, Canadian Geographic, Explore Magazine, among many others.

2017 – Wendy Grater

Wendy Grater and Black Feather discussed the Northern Yukon’s 3 sisters; the Bonnet Plumer, Snake and Wind Rivers. Part of the Peel Watershed, these rivers encompass over 68,000 square kilometres of rugged northern wilderness, which is one of the largest unroaded natural areas in the world.  To read more about this event click here.  

2016 – Gwyneth Hoyle

Gwyneth Hoyle talked about her own travails in search of historic heroines, framing these in the context of the Luste Rare Book Donation (an incredible donation to the museum of rare and historic books about canoes, north and adventure) and why this is a significant milestone for the Canadian Canoe Museum’s library and archival collection.To read more about this event click here.  

2015 – Dave Olesen

Author, bush pilot, and wilderness guide Dave Olesen is no stranger to tough terrain. After 15 years of competition as a dog sled racer, he dedicated four consecutive winters to long trips away from his remote Northwest Territories home, following the points of the compass.

2014 – Fred ‘Skip’ Pessl

This year’s Luste Lecture welcomed Fred ‘Skip’ Pessl who gave us his account of a wilderness journey in his new book, Barren GroundsTo read more on this event click here.  

2013 – John Lentz

Author John Lentz presented his wilderness paddling stories in a presentation entitled “Five Decades of Wilderness Paddling: People and Places”. Lentz has logged 21 major Canadian paddling expeditions, plus 2 in Siberia where canoes and catamarans were employed.  To read more on this event click here.