The Journal of Canadian

Wilderness Canoeing

  SPRING 2004











In this issue

Front Page



Spring Packet


From the Editor


Back Page




Canoeing legend, Kirk Wipper was recently awarded the Order of Ontario. His winning citation read as follows:

Internationally renowned as an environmentalist, heritage conservationist and fitness advocate, Professor Wipper is best known as “Canada’s Canoe King,” creator of the Kanawa International Museum of Canoes, Kayaks and Related Artifacts.

Over half a lifetime, Professor Wipper collected historic watercraft in Canada, the United States and other areas of the world, creating the world’s largest and most significant collection of canoes and kayaks, thus preserving an important part of Canadian heritage. The collection is displayed at the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough.

Professor Wipper has also had a major influence in the area of programs for youth in the province. A founding member and executive of many national outdoor and camping organizations, he was also a 45-year volunteer with the Royal Life Saving Society, eventually serving as national president. A retired professor of physical education and health at the University of Toronto, he has received numerous honours for his contributions to the university and to the community at large.

Thousands of Canadian men and women in all walks of life, but especially in camping and outdoor recreation, credit Kirk Wipper with being their inspiration.

Well done Kirk, and the heartiest of congratulations from Che-Mun and the Hide-Away Canoe Club.


Kirk Wipper and his OO.

Bill Layman and Lynda Holland are off to the tundra again. This time heading to Baker Lake following routes of the Athapaskan Dene and the Barren Land Inuit as soon as the ice gets out of their way.

This couple’s canoe trip will begin on approximately July 1 with them flying from La Ronge to Stony Rapids then chartering a Beaver airplane to the south end of Selwyn Lake. From here they will paddle the Dubawnt River to Carey Lake - where J. B. Tyrell erected his cairn on July 29, 1893 - and portage due east to Big Rocky Lake, Kamilukuak Lake, and Nowleye Lake finally entering Angikuni Lake on the Kazan River.  From Angikuni they will follow the Kazan to the community of Baker Lake (their fourth trip to the tiny Inuit village!) arriving in about 40 days after some 650 miles.

Interestingly, Eric and Pamela Morse did a portion of this route in 1968 with Bill Mathers, Pat Baird, Peter Blaikie, Ernie Howard, Tom Lawson and Angus Mackay as recounted in Morse’s memoir Freshwater Saga.

As he has over the last four years Bill will be sending daily e-mails and images back to his web site at from the trip. Log on if you can’t get out on the water yourself this summer! It’s a fun read with lots of historical content.

Lynda Holland


A British Columbia man has his archeology permits and is ready to resume his hunt for Sir John Franklin's ships in Nunavut this spring.

David Woodman says according to Inuit, Franklin's two ships, HMS Terror and Erebus sank south of Gjoa Haven. People have been searching for the ships for more than 150 years.

Woodman waited more than three months to get the permits required to do the search from the government of Nunavut. Woodman says he and his crew have spent 12 years looking for the ships.

"Every time I come back I have lots of good memories and we laugh a lot and I keep telling my team is that all I promise is a camping trip from hell and a lot of good memories that they will take away with them," he says. "But as far as the result of actually finding it, that's a long shot."

In May, Woodman's team will visit eight magnetic targets south of Gjoa Haven. He says they will cut a hole in the ice and let an unmanned vehicle explore the ocean floor with sonar and cameras.

Woodman says they will only send divers if they find something. He says a television crew will film the work. However Woodman says the ships are a protected heritage site, meaning they can't be touched or retrieved.

Woodman is scheduled to begin his search for Franklin's ships in mid-May 10.

Bill Layman


The rocky, wind-swept Hans Island is an interesting place for geologists, but you probably wouldn't want to spend much time on it.

The island has been in the news recently, with Canada and Denmark each defending territorial claims to Hans Island, located in the Nares Strait, between northern Ellesmere Island and Greenland.

Three years ago, Keith Dewing and Chris Harrison, geologists with the Geological Survey of Canada who were mapping northern Ellesmere Island, flew by helicopter to Hans Island.

"It's out in the middle of the ocean. It really is halfway from Canada to Greenland. It's roughly circular, straight-sided up from the water, sloping off to the Greenland side. It's pretty much flat on top, and there's some boulders scattered around," Dewing said in an interview from Calgary. "It's been scraped pretty much clean."

Hans Island is interesting to geologists because it's part of a mountain chain that starts in the Svalbard Islands off Norway, runs through Greenland, and pokes out again in Ellesmere Island.

Dewing says it's unlikely that the island will prove to be a treasure trove of minerals or underwater oil reserves for either nation. To resolve the dispute over who has claim to the island, Dewing suggests Canada and Denmark share Hans Island, which would then be half Nunavut, half Greenland - and a tourist attraction in its own right.


Spurred by the tragic boating deaths of a well-known family on Ungava Bay last year, Nunavik's regional government has joined forces with the Makivik Corporation to buy $3 million of search and rescue equipment.

Government officials expect 14 fully-equipped search-and-rescue boats will wend their way to Nunavik this year, providing each community along the Hudson Bay and Ungava Bay with the means to retrieve victims or survivors who get lost on the water.

The purchase marks a political coup for regional councillors who campaigned in last year's election to pressure the government to deliver a search boat to each community. Politicians and residents have long complained that Nunavik deserves its own fleet, considering the region contains 1,500 miles of coastline. The debate was intensified most recently last August when the Kauki family went missing while canoeing on Ungava Bay.


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