Books

Arctic Moments

The slow dance of words and images that became Arctic Moments began when André and I shared an Arctic sea voyage hosted by Adventure Canada. Under the rubric of the “other duties as assigned” on the journey, besides giving lectures and workshops on our passions for...

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Ice Walker

I’m so proud to be sharing news of a new book with you: Ice Walker: A Polar Bear’s Journey Through the Fragile Arctic. It’s definitely a departure from the style and tone of earlier books. Ice Walker is still set in the north but heads in a whole new direction. If it...

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Circling the Midnight Sun

Circling the Midnight Sun was released in September, 2014. In Circling the Midnight Sun, James Raffan presents a warm-hearted, engaging portrait of the circumpolar world, but also a deeply affecting story of societies and landscapes in the throes of enormous change....

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Up Here – 20 Perfect Paddles

Back around 2002, then editor of Up Here magazine, Cooper Langford, was looking to create an editorial thread that would weave stories about the unpeopled part of the north with regular snapshots of what is going on in the communities and in places where wilderness...

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Canoeroots

The only real force in the production of newsstand and digital communications for paddlers these days is Scott MacGregor, publisher and CEO of Rapid Media, based on the banks of the Madawaska River in Palmer Rapids, Ontario.  Of what is now a family of canoeing...

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Wilderness Crisis Management

Several years as an outdoor educator and expedition guide in the 1970s and 80s led me to a hunger for something more than what St. John's Ambulance or Red Cross had to say about first aid.  Working with Dr. Bernie Lalonde from the Carleton University Sports Medicine...

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Entry Points

Back in the early 80s, students in the Outdoor & Experiential Education Program at Queen's University were required to keep a learning journal throughout their studies at university as well—especially—during their internships at experiential learning programs...

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Canoesongs

James writes: It was always a dream of mine to produce a compilation of some of the great Canadian folk music about canoes. That dream came true when I met record producer and music man, Paul Mills, who joined with me to create a partnership called Portage Productions...

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Frontier, Homeland and Sacred Space

Frontier, Homeland and Sacred Space:  A collaborative investigation into cross-cultural perceptions of place in the Thelon Game Sanctuary, Northwest Territories.  James writes:  Big doctoral thesis ... even longer title.  Funny how things work out.  My dissertation...

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Experiential Education in High School

In the mid-1980s, James' colleague in the Outdoor & Experiential Education Unit at Queen's University Faculty 0f Education went on sabbatical to explore innovative and alternative experiential education programs in various locations across the United States.  He...

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Rendezvous with the Wild: The Boreal Forest

Rendezvous with the Wild: The Boreal Forest

James writes:  When the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society was gearing up to convene ten river trips across the country to raise awareness about the beauty and fragility of the Boreal Forest, I was keen to do what I could to help.  Along with a stellar cast of...

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Emperor of the North

The adventure-filled story of the legendary Hudson’s Bay Company is inextricably linked to the formation of a Canadian nation stretching from sea to sea to sea. In an absorbing and lively new book on The Bay, James Raffan explores the forces that moulded a man, a...

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Deep Waters

On the morning of June 12, 1978, 27 boys and 4 leaders from St. John’s School in Ontario, set out on a canoeing expedition from the wharf at Timiskaming, Quebec, headed for James Bay along an old voyageurs’ route. By evening the same day, all four canoes were...

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Tumblehome

  Of the many spinoffs and reactions to James' writing, Canadian guitarist/composer David Reed read Tumblehome and Summer North of Sixty and decided that what he really needed to do was write a suite of music that would pickup and explore the themes he had found...

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Canexus: The Canoe in Canadian Culture

A group of paddlers who also taught at Queen's University Faculty of Education were sitting around chatting about their various recent summer trips when the idea was hatched to have a conference which would explore aspects of the canoe in Canadian culture. And so was...

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Bark, Skin and Cedar

Bark, Skin and Cedar is an intelligent and grand exploration of that great Canadian icon-the canoe. From the graceful birch bark vessels of the Micmac Indians to the wide and sturdy Haida dugouts, from the canvas-covered Chestnut Prospector to the sleek dragon racing...

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Fire in the Bones

When Bill Mason set off alone into the wilderness in his red canoe, many people went with him, if only in their imaginations. Now, James Raffan leads us into the heart of the vast landscape that was Bill Masons own brilliant imagination, on a biographical journey that...

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Summer North of Sixty

James writes:  Following the success of Wildwaters, Phyllis Bruce was keen to publish a followup book that would continue with the theme of paddling wilderness rivers.  "Is there one trip you've done that had more impact than any other?" she asked.  The answer was...

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Wildwaters

James Writes: Back in the early 1980s, I attended a risk management workshop at Sedburgh College, near Papineauville, Quebec. At lunch on the first day, Bill Mason (who I'd met through a wilderness medicine course I taught at Algonquin College in Ottawa) sat down...

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