Canada’s 90 Greatest Explorers: Geographic feats

Part of our roundup of Canada’s greatest explorers, these nine explorers made significant crossings of land and water, often in daring or ingenious fashion

  • Jan 24, 2020
  • 729 words
  • 3 minutes
Henry Larsen Expand Image

1906-96 | Winnipeg

Aloha Wanderwell Expand Image

A filmmaker, author, pilot and adventurer who was the first woman to circumnavigate Earth’s land portions by car. She travelled through 80 countries and shot documentary reels, including the earliest film of Brazil’s Bororo people. 

1951- | Iqaluit

Renowned Arctic guide and polar adventurer. Led the first all-female expedition to the North Pole, skied to the South Pole and crossed Greenland’s ice cap and Ellesmere Island. A founding member of the International Polar Guides Association. 

1953- | Montreal

Bernard Voyer Expand Image

Polar explorer and mountaineer who was the first to ski across Ellesmere Island, the first Canadian to ski east to west across Greenland and to complete the “Explorers Grand Slam” (unassisted trips to both poles and all Seven Summits). 

1955- | Montreal

Veteran Arctic guide, explorer and mountaineer. Part of the first team that reached Antarctica’s Pole of Inaccessibility without motorized craft. Earned Canada’s Medal of Bravery for saving hikers trapped in a river in Auyuittuq National Park. 

1957- | Canmore, Alta.

Mountaineer and guide who in 1986 became the first North American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest — and the first woman ever to do so by a new route along the west ridge, and without the assistance of a Sherpa. 

1974- / 1971- | Victoria 

Julie & Colin Angus Expand Image

Prolific world adventurers: Julie was the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean and the first Canadian woman to cross any ocean this way; Colin was the first person to complete a self-propelled global circumnavigation. Their company Open Ocean Robotics develops autonomous boats used for research. 

1977- | Sudbury, Ont. 

Meagan McGrath Expand Image

An aerospace engineer with the Canadian military who’s the only Canadian woman to climb two versions of the Seven Summits, and the first Canadian to ski solo to the South Pole, which she completed in 40 days.

1984- / 1986- | Iqaluit

Brother and sister polar guides and explorers. Sarah was the youngest person to travel to both geographic poles, while Eric set a world record for longest distance kite-skied in 24 hours. Together, they have kite-skied across the Northwest Passage and crossed Ellesmere Island by dogsled. 

Previous: Charting the unknown • Next: Human limits (Jan. 27)


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