Geographer, author and long-time staff member at The Canadian Canoe Museum James Raffan has been named one of “Canada’s Greatest Explorers” in the January/February issue of Canadian Geographic.
In celebration of its 90th anniversary, the magazine is featuring what it has titled the “90 most influential explorers in the nation’s recorded history.” A panel of The Royal Canadian Geographic Society’s Explorers-in-Residence and Honourary Vice-Presidents came up with the list that spans from the 16th century to today.
“All have performed great feats and forged new relationships with the natural world. All have taken bold steps, whether in the service of pure discovery, science and education, the environment, king and country or personal glory,” states the introduction to the article, written by Nick Walker.
Dr. Raffan, who is also an RCGS fellow, is featured among the likes of Susanna Moodie, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Mina Hubbard, Robert Bartlett, Myléne Paquette, Fred Roots, Matty McNair and Elon Musk in the magazine this month. He is described as: “World backcountry explorer, author and authority on the North and canoeing. He put a human face on climate change by traversing more than 17,000 km along the Arctic Circle, uncovering circumpolar stories of changing societies and landscapes.”
Meanwhile at the museum, Dr. Raffan worked to develop the museum’s first education program in 1999, became curator in 2007 and then executive director from 2008 to 2014. More recently, as director of external relations, he has been instrumental in bringing together the museum’s National Council, a group of distinguished Canadians who are passionate about the work of the organization – past, present and future.
Dr. Raffan is the author of 16 books, including Circling the Midnight Sun: Culture and Change in the invisible Arctic. His most recent expedition led him to remote atolls of the Central Pacific, between Hawaii and Australia in a 15-metre Polynesian sailing canoe. He was part of team, led by Canadian geographer Danko Taboroši, gathering data for the first comprehensive atlas of the Marshall Islands.
“It’s so exciting to see the work of my long-time colleague and mentor James featured this way,” says Carolyn Hyslop, Executive Director, The Canadian Canoe Museum. “He is so incredibly accomplished, and the board, staff and volunteers at the museum are thrilled to see him receive this recognition. It’s among a long list of accolades he has received over the years and it’s certainly a reflection of the passion he brings to everything he does. For more than two decades now, this has included an unwavering commitment to the ever-expanding role of The Canadian Canoe Museum.”