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Arctic Reflections: Travel and Filmmaking on the Horton River

Title: Arctic Reflections: Travel and Filmmaking on the Horton River.

Event: 23rd Annual Wilderness Canoeing Symposium (Toronto, Ontario).

Year: 2008.

Pages: 18.

Document Type: Presentation (PDF), 2.1 MB.

Description: This is a copy of my 2008 presentation to the 23rd Annual Wilderness Canoe Symposium in Toronto, Ontario. Each year, a large gathering of paddlers and outdoor enthusiasts assemble for a mid-winter ritual of sharing food, wilderness reflection, visits with friends and family, book discussions, formal presentations, and various other conference activities. "Northern Travels and Northern Perspectives" has been the general theme for the last several years, and presentations typically cover a broad a range of topics from academic anthropology, travel narratives, circumpolar history, wilderness paddling, environmental concerns, graphic arts, and much more. The symposium is organized by verteran paddler and symposium host George Luste (who is also Professor of Physics and President of the Univeristy of Toronto Faculty Association), and usually draws from 700-800 people from across Canada and the U.S.

In his 1993 Address (PDF), George Luste describes the conference this way: "the act of canoeing has never been an end in itself for me, but rather a means, a means by which to experience a landscape rich in natural beauty and a means to a richer appreciation of its history. The ensemble of nineteen speakers in the program attempts to replicate this, to create some sense of the rich tapestry that is our northern heritage as well as to share the personal narratives and perspectives of those who have experienced them firsthand."

My presentation was in two parts: a video montage of sights and scenes from my travels on the Horton River (one kind of narrative), and a simultaneous written narrative (which I read at the podium) of my thoughts and impressions during the trip, historical contexts, and reflections on filming and traveling with a camera on a solo canoe trip to the arctic. I invite you to download my written narrative (with still images included), and join me on my excursion to the North.