Explore: A Canadian Geographic podcast

Canadian Geographic

Host David McGuffin talks to Canada’s greatest explorers about their adventures and what inspires their spirit of discovery.

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Viola Desmond was arrested 75 years ago this month for refusing to leave her seat in the “whites only” section of a movie theatre in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. This brave stand by a Black Nova Scotian against the segregation rules of the day in Nova Scotia would inspire future generations to break down the racist structures that had been suppressing Black people in Canada for centuries. George Elliott Clarke, Canada’s former Poet Laureate, is intimately familiar with that world. His family roots stretch back centuries to the earliest days of Black Nova Scotia, which is the subject of his latest book, Where Beauty Survived: An Africadian Memoir. “One of the great things about being Africadian,” Clarke says, “is no matter the oppression, and the racism and the apartheid, what made our communities special is that we had communities, we had land, we had homes, we had neighbours who had the same struggles you had, who could share their resources with you, who shared your faith, and all of a sudden you've got this distinct lifestyle that is linked to where you actually live.” Through the prism of his remarkable family, Clarke takes us on a fascinating journey through Africadia, his name for the tightly knit, Black Nova Scotian communities that are now fading away into the broader culture. As well as being an award winning poet and former Poet Laureate of Canada, George Elliott Clarke is a professor at the University of Toronto and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Nov 16

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The UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow is being described as a critical moment in human history, as our ability to reverse global warming reaches a point of no return. Harvey Locke is in Glasgow, leading the charge against biodiversity loss, and linking it firmly to climate change. As a leader of the "Nature Needs Half" movement, Locke and a growing number of experts believe that the way to reverse both climate change and biodiversity loss is to set aside half of the world's natural places, and let nature be nature. Locke explains why this is both possible and necessary, and discusses his own grassroots experiences as the co-founder of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. Based in Banff, Alta., Locke has dedicated his life to conserving the world’s wild spaces. He is also the Chair of the Beyond Aichi Targets Task Force and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

Nov 2

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It's bird migration season. Geese are flying south, loons making their last mournful cries on northern lakes and bird feeders are getting set up in backyards and on balconies. To celebrate our avian friends, we’re thrilled to have Patrick Nadeau joining us. He is the new President of Birds Canada, which is the largest organization for citizen science in Canada. This episode is about birds and you, and how by simply observing and noting those birds in your backyard, on your balcony feeder, or in the wild, you can do a lot to advance the understanding of not just birds, but also the state of our planet. You can join in at https://www.birdscanada.org/ Patrick Nadeau is a New Brunswick native, with a long career in preserving our wild and natural places. He is the former executive director of CPAWS Quebec, where he played a leading role working with the Inuit in Nunavik to create Tursujuq National Park, the largest protected area in eastern North America. And as we discuss in the podcast, he was also executive director of Ottawa Riverkeeper, where he helped attain heritage designation for the Ottawa River — one of the world’s great exploration routes — by the Canadian, Ontario, and Québec governments.

Oct 19

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October ... The nights grow longer and darker. It's time for Hallowe'en, time to gather around fires and tell ghost stories. And that is exactly what RCGS Explorer-in-Residence Adam Shoalts has in store for us in this episode. He joins us to talk about his new book, The Whisper on the Night Wind. It's a wilderness tale of the supernatural, an investigation into a century-old legend of a strange, demon-like creature that haunted the remote fur trading posts of Labrador. This creature, known as the Traverspine Beast or Traverspine Gorilla, was described in detail by multiple eye-witnesses over several years. Armed with those accounts, and a travel companion trained in mixed martial arts, Adam set off in his canoe, up roaring Labrador rivers and into the ancient, mist-shrouded Mealy Mountains, in search of this legend. The resulting story is a fantastic, fun and chilling tale, a look, as he puts it, into “the strange and scary things that lurk in the darkness, beyond the flicker of the firelight.” Our spooky music for this episode comes to us courtesy of Liam Seagrave (@pianogeist).

Oct 5

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September 30, 2021 marks the first ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. It's a federal statutory holiday, a time to reflect about the brutal impact of the Indian Residential School System. Hundreds of thousands of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children were forced to attend those institutions from the 1830s to the 1990s, and the impact of that has resonated through families, communities and generations. This holiday was the direct result of the 94 Calls to Action from the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. Our guest today, Marie Wilson, was one of the three Commissioners of that Commission, which worked from 2009 to 2015. In that role, Wilson criss-crossed the country hearing heartbreaking testimony from residential school survivors. Stories of the mental, physical and sexual abuse children suffered as part of a system, run by the churches and government, aimed at forcing Indigenous children to assimilate into white society — or as one official bluntly put it, “to kill the Indian in the child.” In this episode, Wilson reflects on how she will mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the recent tragic discoveries of unmarked graves at several former residential school sites, and what still remains to be done to address the TRC Calls to Action. The subject matter discussed in this episode may be upsetting or triggering for some listeners. If you are a residential school survivor in distress or have been affected by the residential school system and need help, contact the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools crisis line toll-free at 1-866-925-4419.

Sep 21

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Commander Chris Hadfield is arguably Canada’s most famous astronaut. There was even a time, during his 2013 mission aboard the International Space Station, when he was quite possibly our most famous Canadian, appearing as a guest on talk shows and capturing the imaginations of millions with his viral dispatches from life in orbit. A veteran of multiple missions to space with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA and the Russian Space Program, he was the first Canadian to do a space walk, was commander of the ISS, and spent five years as the NASA representative to the Russian Space Program based in Moscow, becoming a fluent Russian speaker in the process. It’s fair to say that Hadfield knows a thing or two about space, so when it came time for him to write his first ever novel, he turned for inspiration to the cosmos and the heyday of the Space Race, particularly the Apollo Missions to the moon in the 1960s and ’70s. Out next month, The Apollo Murders is a classic Cold War-era spy thriller. In this fascinating conversation, we discuss the moments in his own career that inspired a novel that now has leading Hollywood figures like James Cameron and Ryan Reynolds exploring turning it into a film. “I thought trying to write a fiction book that would really give people a feel for what space flight is like, not only would that be an interesting personal challenge, but also once people have read this book they'll have almost an intuitive feel for what those various things are,” says Hadfield. “It gave [me] another avenue to share those extremely rare experiences that I've been lucky enough to have.”

Sep 7

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“Colombia is a place where magic seems to happen …

Sep 2020

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In this final episode of Explore’s journey into t…

Jun 2020

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On this episode of Explore, we take another fasci…

Jun 2020

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"CHARLES THE SECOND, by the Grace of God, King of…

Jun 2020

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What was it like to live in a remote Hudson’s Bay…

Jun 2020

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“I would say the Métis all track back to the fur …

May 2020

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Sir George Simpson spent much of his early days a…

May 2020

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Hudson's Bay Company employees didn't venture muc…

May 2020

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The Hudson’s Bay Company turns 350 years old on M…

Apr 2020

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Astronaut David Saint-Jacques knows a thing or tw…

Apr 2020

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Take a listen to some of the most surprising, thr…

Aug 2019

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For many Canadians, Charlotte Gray hardly needs a…

Jun 2019

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Science writer Alanna Mitchell has arguably done …

Jun 2019

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James Raffan has a long and impressive resume, bu…

May 2019

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When stormchaser and extreme adventurer George Ko…

May 2019

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At 45 years of age, there seems to be very little…

May 2019

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Adam Shoalts is a young man in his 30s, but in ma…

May 2019

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Dr. Roberta Bondar remembers the moment she becam…

Apr 2019

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One Ocean Expeditions presents Explore: A Canadia…

Apr 2019

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One Ocean Expeditions presents Explore: A Canadia…

Mar 2019

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