A Letter to Our Adventurous Friends

To Our Adventurous Friends,

Over the last several months, coronavirus has impacted all our lives in unimaginable ways. Given the realities of travel restrictions during this time, all of our 2020 expeditions have been cancelled. Though it is heartbreaking to not be exploring northern rivers this summer, the pandemic has given us time to pause, reflect and re-imagine what future adventures might be like.

Canoe North Adventures has always taken great pride in our attention to detail around preparedness for launching canoe expeditions into the wild. There are some inherent risks associated with wilderness travel or paddling remote northern rivers, and successfully mitigating these risks is an integral part of our company’s ethos. That has not changed in the face of the pandemic. Covid-19 is another risk that we will need to manage moving forward, though we believe that by next summer the situation will hopefully be under control in Canada.

We are currently in the early stages of developing our strategy on how our next season will unfold. We are consulting with other industry peers and professional organizations to build new precautionary health and safety policies that will be comprehensive, thorough and world class. In these rapidly changing times, our promise to you is that we will be prepared for any outcome. We will continue to monitor the situation monthly and plan to implement the most up-to-date protocols necessary to keep our guests, staff, and northern communities as safe as possible in 2021.

Our love for the rivers of the north, our guests and the communities in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut remains steadfast. We believe the world needs to experience wilderness travel now more than ever. The magic of the north is alive, but the land is still and quiet, patiently waiting for our return. There is so much passion and joy to be shared in the north and we hope, despite any trepidation that you may have, that you will consider joining us on an expedition in the future.

We have just released the dates and rates of our 2021 trips on our website. You may notice a few changes this year. We are proud and excited to announce that we have been recently awarded one of three licences for operating expeditions in Nahanni National Park and Nááts’įhch’oh National Park. We cannot wait to explore the beautiful and legendary Nahanni River and its sister river the Broken Skull with you!

We are also excited to be running our first ever rafting expeditions down the Nahanni River next year. Rafts are a relaxed and wonderful way to experience the wilderness and allow for pretty much anyone over the age of 12 to join in the adventure – no matter if this is their first-time camping or if they have 35 years of tripping under their belt.

To book a trip or to learn more about our approach to addressing issues regarding the pandemic, please contact us by phone or email or click this link for more information.

Stay Well & Happy Trails,

Lin Ward, Al Pace, Taylor Pace, and the Team at Canoe North Adventures

Covid-19 Update

We have been monitoring the situation caused by the pandemic over the last few months gathering information from Federal, Territorial and Municipal governments. In this unprecedented time, taking care of our paddlers, staff and northern communities has been of primary concern. Our company’s values have been based on holding all of these people in our hearts respecting their feelings, needs and ideas.

In the past, when we faced challenges, we were quick to decide and act to resolve any issues. If anything, the pandemic has taught us a great deal about patience. Thank you to everyone for being understanding. We have been touched by the support we have received from our alumni, our 2020 paddlers and our friends. It is indeed an honour for us to experience the level of graciousness of spirit that we have been offered by everyone.

It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the cancellation of our 2020 expedition season in the Northwest Territories and Yukon. In an effort to protect the remote, Indigenous communities where we operate, the Government of the Northwest Territories recently announced that health restrictions will remain in place for June, July and August of 2020. These restrictions include a requirement for any travellers to isolate in Yellowknife for 14 days before entering any community including Norman Wells; allowable group size of 10 people; and, social distancing constraints. Under these conditions, we can no longer think about taking our paddlers to the territory. The situation is similar in Yukon Territory.

It is hard for us to imagine a summer of not visiting our pristine northern rivers with our intrepid paddle-mates and sharing tall tales, laughter, tears and deep emotion under the warm glow of the midnight sun.

We have always believed it is an extreme privilege to explore our free-flowing rivers in northern Canada. The authentic experience of a shared river journey in the face of pristine beauty reaches deep into your soul and changes you – forever. We sure you feel as we do – that when we come through the other side of the pandemic, time spent experiencing the natural world will remain a top priority. We are looking ahead to the 2021 expedition season with optimism.

Video Tribute to Dr. Orkin

During recent weeks we have all become acutely aware of the incredible sacrifices made by our frontline workers. At Canoe North Adventures, we are fortunate to have Dr. Aaron Orkin serve as our Medical Director. Dr. Orkin has been working tirelessly in the emergency department at Mount Sinai Hospital during the outbreak. One of our guides, Keiran Rankin, compiled an inspirational video recognizing Dr. Orkin’s dedication and personal sacrifice during these troubling times. Please take a moment to experience this touching tribute as Aaron is also a keen canoe-tripper and is looking forward to his next northern adventure.

Dr. Orkin Video Tribute


Fundraising Update!

A big Shout Out to our Canoe North Adventures guests and alumni who reached into their pockets to support the Arctic Youth Voices trip to Madrid Spain. Canoe North Adventures matched donated funds and together we raised $3000 which was enough to support travel costs for one youth. The group will be presenting their documentary Climate Change film, Happening to Us and they will also be participating in workshops and seminars.

A group of students from Tuktoyuktuk, NWT made this film about how climate change is affecting their lives. They have been invited by the Inuit Circumpolar Council to present Happening to Us, a 20-minute documentary film, at a side-event at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Madrid, Spain from December 2nd to the 9th, 2019. During that time, they will also participate at two panels, meet policy-makers, as well as being invited to present at the press conference for the Youth Climate Report, a UN initiative.

The team includes the youth who played a major role in the film, Nathan Kuptana, Eriel Lugt and Carmen Kuptana as well as chaperones closely involved with this project and who facilitated the film workshop with the youth last June: Maeva Gauthier (PhD student, University of Victoria) and Jaro Malanowski (Avatar Media).

They are currently booking travel and accommodations but still need a bit more money in the bank to make it happen.

How to Donate:

Thank you in advance for supporting this initiative!

Post-trip CBC news article


Yukon Gold – A Testimonial

Yukon Gold – In Every Sense!

by Liz Maxted

Our trip was Yukon Gold.

As I have been describing to family and friends what a truly incredible experience we had I began to realize that there was nothing about the trip that I would change – it could not have been bettered.  Each friend seems to draw out a different aspect of the trip and enables me to reflect further.

Our adventurous friends want to hear about the river and the scenery – the Yukon slogan here sums it up “ Larger than Life”. The landscape was beautiful but can only really be described in context here to our UK friends in that the country we live in would fit easily into the Yukon which has a population of just 40,000 ( UK is 67.5 million and our relatively small town of Maidenhead has a population of 67,500).

Our other ‘expeditioning’ friends want to know more about the organizational side – the kit, the boats, distances, the logistics etc. This again ranks gold! So much experience and planning from the Canoe North Adventures team make this seem effortless and easy but we know only too well how much has gone in behind the scenes to achieve this. Much appreciated by us.

Foodie friends – well they are speechless when they hear how well we ate! Fresh fruit and vegetables throughout they can hardly believe. I describe the steaks on the campfire and the wonderful curries and it begins to sound like a gastronomic tour! I must admit I have a particular passion for the breakfasts – thank you so much Maddy and Will for your early starts to achieve this.

For our drinking friends ( probably everyone we know!) we see their faces astonished at the concept of happy hour and whisky sours and other cocktails before we even mention the worldwide appetizers that were served.

With those who I know will be particularly interested I share the philosophical aspects of the expedition – the sharing of stories and life experiences around the campfire and the welcoming inspirational First Nation people we met. The heartfelt joy of life at Stepping Stone with Jim and Carole and singing together regardless of creed or belief.

Photo by Daryn Rabb

All of our friends want to hear about the Northern Lights – it has been my dream for decades to see these but how much better it was to not only see them but share them with all our new Canadian friends on that clear night on Driftwood Island.

Tales of the latrine and bear footprints I save for those who think it might all have been just too easy !

It was for us the trip of a lifetime – all a wilderness trip could possibly be and more. Thank you to all at Canoe North Adventures for your hard work and years of experience that made this possible – and especially to Beth for answering so many questions by email as new queries arose.

Maddy and Will were strong positive leaders – both with wonderful smiles and enthusiasm – always doing things behind the scenes to ensure all went well.  And Lin, you are an inspirational leader – knowledgeable, practical, passionate with a wonderful sense of humour.  Under the leadership of such great guides we have returned to the “ normal /mad” world enriched and with wonderful new friendships.