James Raffan, explorer



Although James loves books and the heady smell of libraries and archives, he is quick to tell people that there is another learning venue that has been as influential as any formal schooling on his point of view.


From his early days on the mighty Speed River to his most recent trips to the Antarctic or to Algonquin Park on snowshoes, or circling the midnight sun, James lives to pack up his kit and get out on the road less travelled.  Work as a biologist, geographer, writer, teacher, guide and expedition leader have taken him to the back country across Canada and around the world but he often travels solo for no other reason than to reconnect with the people and places in the Great Beyond to find there, as the Stan Rogers’ song goes, “the road back home again.”

Gallery of Explorer Images James’ Event and Project List

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Explore: A Canadian Geographic podcast.

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

“… James Raffan, author, filmmaker, teacher, explorer and former executive director of the Canadian Canoe Museum.” David McGuffin interviews James Raffan about the far north and its peoples.

Listen to James Raffan on Episode 7 (Spotify) »

What others have said…

I was especially impressed with Dr Raffan’s story telling abilities. A style which provided his audience with an intimate look into the lives of actual people he has met; their lifestyle, the issues they face and the impact of global climate change on their way of life. The slide presentation ensured that we were taken on a journey to lands many of us know nothing about and may never see in our lifetimes.

Wood Gundy Investment Client at event hosted by The Burkom, Kingston, LeBlanc & Wilcox Investment Group

James Raffan is a skilled storyteller, whose passion for the northern landscape and its people, wilderness travel and Canadian culture is clearly evident when he speaks. Both informative and inspiring, James is able to convey his knowledge to others in a manner that is accessible and refreshing. When presenting the closing keynote at our recent conference, his careful preparation was apparent, as he seamlessly interwove current and past issues within our field with boarder national topics and his own experiences, whilst also artfully paying special homage to our conference dedicatee.

Kyle Clarke

Horwood Conference Convenor

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