• The 2015 RCGS award recipients. Left to right: Milbry Polk, Zach Vanthournout, Kathryn McCain, Michael Bouk (GreenBug Energy), Jean Lemire, Graeme Gibson, Margaret Atwood, Dr. Jacob Verhoef, Dr. Paul Ruest (RCGS President), Janet Ruest, Bruce Amos, Louise Maffett, Dr. Louis Fortier, Dr. Brian Osborne, Dr. John Smol. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/Canadian Geographic)

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society held its annual awards ceremony and Fellows Dinner at the Canadian Museum of History on Wednesday, November 18. Here were some of the highlights of an evening filled with laughter, music and, of course, geography.

1. We honoured the best and brightest in the field of geography

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, presided over the medal ceremony, which saw 15 awards presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of geography or to the mission of the Society.

  • Polar Knowledge Canada Northern Science Award
    Dr. Louis Fortier
  • Innovation in Geography Teaching award
    Janet Ruest
  • Geographic Literacy Award
    Zach Vanthournout
  • 3M Environmental Innovation Award
    GreenBug Energy
  • Martin Bergmann Medal
    Dr. John Smol
  • Ondaatje Medal
    Jean Lemire
  • Camsell Medal
    Louise Maffett
    Bruce Amos
  • Burpee Medal
    Louie Kamookak
  • Bernier Medal
    Milbry Polk
    Kathryn McCain
  • Gold Medal
    Dr. Jacob Verhoef
    Graeme Gibson
    Margaret Atwood
  • Massey Medal
    Dr. Brian Osborne

2. We elected 65 new Fellows


The 65 newly-elected Fellows of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/Canadian Geographic)

3. The Hon. Kirsty Duncan brought science back

Duncan, Canada’s newly-minted Minister of Science and herself a geographer, received a huge cheer from the crowd for her opening remarks, which included this line:

4. We celebrated GIS Day

Could we have picked a more perfect day for an event honouring geographers?

5. We inked a new partnership with the Trans-Canada Trail

6. James Keelaghan performed — twice

No geography event would be complete without a rendition of Stan Rogers’ classic “Northwest Passage,” and Keelaghan delivered. The Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter also surprised Margaret Atwood with a special performance in honour of her birthday:

7. Margaret Atwood sang an Arrogant Worms song — in both official languages

We’ve hit Peak Canada.