Justin Trudeau’s love of canoeing is well-documented, but it’s tough for a world leader to go off-grid. So how does the Prime Minister get his wilderness fix? By living vicariously through the adventures of explorers like Adam Shoalts, it would seem.
Shoalts, who last year completed a 4,000-kilometre solo trek across the Canadian Arctic and was recently named an Explorer-in-Residence of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, was invited to meet with Trudeau March 28. During the 15-minute visit, which took place in the Prime Minister’s office at Centre Block on Parliament Hill, Trudeau and Shoalts connected over their mutual love of paddling. Trudeau shared photos and stories of childhood canoe trips with his father, and said he's a big fan of Shoalts’s bestselling first book, Alone Against the North, which details Shoalts’s 2013 expedition on Quebec’s remote Again River, and which Trudeau received as a Christmas gift a couple of years ago.
“He said he couldn’t put it down and that as he was reading it, he’d have Google Maps up on his laptop, tracing my route,” says Shoalts. “It’s pretty flattering; he obviously knows a lot about Canada’s geography and history and has a fair amount of experience canoeing wilderness rivers himself, so to have him like my book was special.”
Shoalts says he is excited to undertake more expeditions in his new role to help fulfill the Society’s mission of making Canada better known to Canadians and the world. Sudbury MP Paul LeFebvre, who was also present for the meeting between Shoalts and Trudeau, adds that exploration continues to be relevant today.
“Adam Shoalts’ expeditions, his books and the work of the RCGS are vital in helping Canadians understand where we are, where we come from and where we are going as a country,” he says.