Can Geo Talks

Can Geo Talks is a dynamic speaker series featuring some of the most fascinating individuals working in the fields of geography, exploration, environmental science, journalism, history and more. Past presenters include world-renowned cave diver and Royal Canadian Geographical Society Explorer-in-Residence Jill Heinerth, actor and comedian Sir Michael Palin, award-winning photographer Michelle Valberg, and bestselling author and RCGS Westaway Explorer-in-Residence Adam Shoalts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Can Geo Talks went virtual, with livestreamed presentations from expert ornithologist Dr. David Bird, author and journalist J.B. MacKinnon, biologist Suzanne Simard, historian Margaret MacMillan and more. 

We are excited to welcome audiences back to Canada’s Centre for Geography and Exploration for in-person talks. Upcoming events will be posted here. Unless otherwise specified, all events will take place at 50 Sussex Drive in Ottawa.

Upcoming talks

June 12, 2024 — Pat Morrow

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Join Canadian Geographic and the Austrian-Canadian Council as we pay tribute to a legendary mountaineer.

In 1909 the talented young alpinist Conrad Kain left his home in the Austrian Alps on invitation to work as the Alpine Club of Canada’s first mountain guide. Kain and the most talented of his clients left an indelible mark in the Canadian Rockies and British Columbia’s Purcell Range, with over 60 first guided ascents including Mount Robson (1913), Mount Louis (1916), and Bugaboo Spire (1916).

In this presentation by Pat Morrow based on the Kain biography, Where the Clouds Can Go, we’ll follow in Kain’s footsteps up some of his iconic peaks, while introducing present day local teens to the challenging granite spires of the Bugaboos and to the Canadian Rockies’ highest peak, Mount Robson. We’ll also get to know some of Kain’s friends and clients, such as Albert MacCarthy, who Kain taught how to climb, and who went on in 1925 to lead the first ascent of Mount Logan, Canada’s highest. Video and audio clips will complement historic and contemporary stills along with Morrow’s commentary.

About Pat Morrow

Pat Morrow is an adventure photographer based in Invermere, B.C. and has worked on magazine, book and corporate assignments, as well as shooting video documentaries worldwide with his wife Baiba for the past 35 years. In 1986 Pat was the first to complete the mountaineer’s version of the Seven Summits, climbing the highest peak on all seven continents (as documented in his book Beyond Everest), and received the Order of Canada for his photographic and exploratory work. He and his wife, Baiba, have won nine national magazine awards, and they now concentrate their volunteer efforts on a local environmental organization called Wildsight.

June 27, 2024 — Yvonne Drebert and Zach Melnick

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Join Canadian Geographic for a tale of adventure, discovery and the surprising impact that a small species can have on its environment.

For the last three years, documentary filmmakers Yvonne Drebert and Zach Melnick have been exploring the underwater world of the Great Lakes using a cutting-edge underwater drone, or ROV. Being able to dive to the greatest depths and film for hours at a time has allowed the husband-and-wife team to capture never-before-seen footage of the lakes’ most elusive species. But it’s not just fish on their radar: in June of 2023, Drebert and Melnick discovered the wreck of the steamer Africa, lost in 1895. Canadian Geographic broke the story, which went on to receive international media attention.

Join these freshwater explorers and their ROV, “Kiyi,” for the story behind Africa’s discovery, and a “sneak peak” at their upcoming documentary All Too Clear. See how quadrillions of tiny invasive mussels have re-engineered the Great Lakes at a scale not seen since the glaciers. Organisms of all kinds — from the tiniest plankton to the largest fish — are vanishing, creating vast biological deserts. From dazzling shallow water worlds that look more like the Caribbean than the Great Lakes, to the wreck of Africa completely entombed in mussels, All Too Clear explores the freshwater world as you’ve never seen it before.

About Yvonne and Zach

Producer Yvonne Drebert and director/cinematographer Zach Melnick are the founders of Inspired Planet Productions. From their home on the beautiful Saugeen (Bruce) Peninsula in Ontario, they’ve created more than 40 hours of nature and history documentary spanning two decades, including the 2021 Canadian Screen Award-nominated series, Striking Balance. Driven by a profound concern for the global decline of freshwater ecosystems, Drebert and Melnick have embarked on a dedicated mission into the underwater world. Using state-of-the-art ROVs, they immerse themselves in rarely seen aquatic environments, capturing extraordinary wildlife behaviours, and even discovering the occasional shipwreck. Their mission is threefold: to inspire the public, deepen scientific understanding, and enlighten decision-makers about the freshwater ecosystems we all depend on.

Browse photos from past events