Club Events

RACCC 2024 Seminar Series

Once again, the RA Canoe Camping Club (RACCC) will be hosting its popular winter seminar series. The seminars will cover a wide range of topics related to paddling and the outdoors.

All of our seminars are open to club members as well as non-club members.

Most seminars will be online using Zoom and will be held on Wednesdays at 7:00pm.

The current list of seminars is below. The club anticipates adding more seminars in the coming months. The list of seminars is available on the RACCC website at www.raccc.ca.

 

RACCC Club members can get the joining instructions from the calendar on the club website. For security reasons and to help ensure that we do not exceed the capacity of our Zoom account, we ask club members not to share the zoom details with non-club members.

Non-club members can get the joining instructions by contacting Mark at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The details will be sent starting about 2 weeks before the seminar up until the day before the seminar.

The RACCC is preparing documents and information sessions about the club. If non-club members would like to receive more information about the club, they can send a message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will add them to our email list. They can be removed from the email list whenever they like.

Basic level guidelines on Zoom are on the club website here.  A 1-to-2-minute review of the guidelines will be held at the beginning of the seminar.

 

February 07, 2024
Winter Seminar - Maps and Paddling

Maps play a pivotal role in the paddling experience. We use them to plan our trips, to navigate, and even to reminisce about the places we’ve been and the experiences we’ve had. Join Jeff, an avid paddler and mapmaker, as he explores the special relationship between maps and paddling, and the impact they have on our trips.

Jeff is a paddler turned mapmaker. He got his start tripping through Algonquin at the age of 8 when his father took him on a weeklong trip. Once he was 15, he planned his first trip with a friend from school, which, as it turned out, was quite the ‘adventure’. That inadvertently lead to the start of his mapmaking career, as it inspired Jeff to create the most accurate and detailed map of the park ever created.

 

February 14, 2024
Winter Seminar – Canoeing Ontario's Rivers

Author, Kevin Callan (a.k.a. The Happy Camper) will present on a number of possible canoe trips down Ontario's rivers. The routes range from rivers in southern Ontario like the Thames and Mississippi, central routes like Algonquin's Nippissing and the French and Magnetewan, to more northern routes such as Temagami's Lady Evelyn and the Kopka River north of Lake Superior.

 

February 21, 2024
Winter Seminar - The Canadian Canoe Museum

The Canadian Canoe Museum was founded in 1997 in Peterborough, Ontario. It is a unique national heritage centre that explores the canoe’s enduring significance to the peoples of Canada, through an exceptional collection of canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft. We’re an engaging, family-friendly museum with more than 100 canoes and kayaks on display.

The museum’s artifacts range from the great dugouts of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest to the singular bark canoes of the Beothuk of Newfoundland; from the skin-on-frame kayaks of northern peoples from Baffin Island in the east to the Mackenzie River Delta in the northwest to the all-wood and canvas-covered craft manufactured by companies with names like Herald, Peterborough, Chestnut, Lakefield and Canadian. Over the years paddled watercraft from as far away as Paraguay and the Amazon have helped the Museum expand its reach and scope to include international examples.

Peter Vooys is the Programs Manager for the Canadian Canoe Museum. He will give a presentation on the museum's history, its collections and the reopening of its brand-new building on May 11, 2024.

 

February 28, 2024
Winter Seminar - Working on a Cruise Ship in Antarctica as a Geological Lecturer

NOTE: This seminar is being held in person in the Courtside A room at the RA Centre 2451 Riverside Drive, Ottawa

EXPEDITION GUIDE DESTINATION ANTARCTICA: Emily decided that the ultimate retirement job - that involved paddling - would be to be a sea kayak guide in Antarctica so she got the appropriate qualifications and then applied to all possible companies. Silversea, although they didn't take her on as a kayak guide, did choose to hire her as a geology lecturer, living on one of their expedition ships and doing loops down to that magnificent seventh continent. This presentation is a glimpse into the life as seen through her eyes; the nuts and bolts of the job, the joys and challenges of life at sea, and why she keeps going back despite the fact that she doesn't get to paddle while there.

Emily was fortunate enough to grow up directly on the shores of the Ottawa river. She has had a deep and enduring love of both paddling and wild places for longer than she can remember. After endlessly begging her parents for a canoe they eventually gave in and she was given a used Grumman on her seventh birthday; it was the start of a lifelong love affair with being on the water. Knowing she wanted to spend as much time outside as possible Emily started her professional career as an exploration geologist looking for gold in the Canadian Shield but she switched to teaching high school during her child-rearing years with a few breaks along the way to do stints as a drill-rig supervisor. Since retiring in 2021 she has spent as much time as possible with oars or paddles in her hands, going on trips with friends but also working as a whitewater raft guide, a canoe instructor, and as a guide on canoe trips in the high arctic.

 

March 06, 2024
Winter Seminar - Paddling the Madre de Dios River in Peru

Paddling Into Another World
Two orange orbs glowed in the flashlight's powerful beam. A caiman. Judging by the distance between the two spots of orange light, not a big one. Nothing to worry about. Farther along the beach, the flashlight beam intercepts a family of capybaras, two adults and three juveniles, scampering where the jungle wall meets the sand. Threatening growls can be heard from deeper in the jungle. A jaguar? More likely a Pootoo, a nocturnal bird similar to a nighthawk. Overhead, in a black sky peppered with unfamiliar stars, the Big Dipper constellation so comforting to us back home in Canada, is upside down, pointing to a ‘north” star hidden below the horizon. We are camping on the shores of Peru’s Madre de Dios River, midway through a two-week journey down this little- travelled section of the upper river. So far, so good.


If you are looking for the adrenalin rush of Class V rapids, or challenging gravity by launching yourself in a polyethylene tube over 30-metre waterfalls, you won’t find it here. But for two paddlers used to travelling wilderness rivers in the boreal forest and barrenlands of Canada, this expedition down the Madre de Dios, one of two major tributaries of the Amazon, in traditional dugout canoes, with local guides, into the world’s most bio-diverse region, paddling deep into virgin rainforest, meeting indigenous peoples who still live a traditional life along the river, was an authentic, unforgettable, life-changing experience.

Max has spent his career as a biologist, interpretive planner and park planner with Canada’s National Parks and the Canadian Wildlife Service. He became professionally involved with rivers through his position with the Canadian Heritage Rivers System, , an inter-governmental cooperative program for preserving and enhancing Canada’s river heritage, which he worked at until he retired.
Both within and outside of his professional career, Max uses the canoe, the iconic symbol of Canada, to connect people to the land, to nature, to water, to history, to each other, and to a sustainable future. To quote Max:


“Rivers are much more than flowing water. They are our life and they are our heritage. They are the threads that bind the fabric of nature and people that make this country our home.”


Max integrates the canoe into all aspects of his life. He regularly commuted to work by canoe on the Ottawa River. He has paddled the Ottawa River, his ‘home’ river, from source to mouth. He has followed fur trade routes to the Pacific and Arctic coasts, re-traced the routes of Canada’s early geologists and explorers, and re-traced traditional First Nations travel routes in the Arctic. His more recent exploits have taken him across the international boundary, from Ottawa to Washington to promote the twinning of the Ottawa and Potomac Rivers, and down the Mississippi from its source. In all, He has travelled more 30,000 km- by canoe throughout North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Australia. He has published two books on his paddling adventures, received the prestigious Bill Mason Award (National) for lifetime achievement in Canadian River Conservation in 2009, was named in 2015 by the Royal Canadian Geographic Society as one of Canada’s Top 100 living explorers, and in 2017 received the Nature Inspiration Award from the Canadian Museum of nature for his work in bringing Canada to Canadians.


“Paddling and rivers are the two themes that run through my life”, says Max. From sprint racing to marathon racing, to expedition paddling in the north or Africa , to following local rivers to and from their source, to just messing around in canoes....

 

March 13, 2024
Winter Seminar - Tatshenshini/Alsek rivers

Andrea, Bill and Peter will describe their experiences on three different trips in the Yukon and Alaska on the Tatshensheni and Alsek Rivers. These rivers start in the Yukon, flow through Alaska and exit in the Gulf of Alaska running past the largest non-polar glacier in the world. Andrea, Bill and Peter will outline their experiences as members of self-supported (Andrea and Bill) or guided trips (Peter) including participation in planning, river experience and costs as well as sharing the challenges and benefits of rafting these rivers.