Gavin Fitch, 53, is a Calgary-based lawyer and one of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s two vice-presidents. He talks about being a longtime fan of Canadian Geographic, taking an epic family road trip and raising the Society’s profile in Western Canada.
On his relationship with Canadian Geographic and the RCGS
I’ve been a subscriber since my 20s. I was drawn to it because I’m one of those map geeks. On my office wall, I’ve got a great 1875 map that shows part of what was then called the North West Territory, which included everything west of Ontario except for Manitoba, which at the time was a little box on the 49th parallel. So when I became a Fellow in 2009, I was honoured. I then joined the board of governors in 2010, and became a vice-president in 2011. It’s all been great, and I enjoy working with the Society very much.
On the stories that appeal to him most
Exploration and adventure is something I’ve always loved, so I’m interested in tales of explorers and adventurers. I think they appeal to the enduring kid in me.
On who spurred his interest in exploration and adventure
My parents. In the late 1970s, they trekked into Everest base camp and climbed Mount Kenya, Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere. When I was 11, we went on one of those epic driving holidays no one seems to do any more. We drove from Edmonton to Prince Rupert, B.C., got on the ferry and went up the Inside Passage to Skagway, Alaska, hiked the Chilkoot Trail for four days, then picked up the car, which my dad had put on the train, drove to Whitehorse, Kluane National Park, Dawson and, finally, finished by rafting down the Nahanni River for 10 days.
On what he’s doing for the RCGS
I’m very supportive of the vision to make the Society truly national, and I want to help raise its profile in Western Canada. I don’t want people to see it as a once-a-year deal, where you come to the annual meeting and dinner, as great as those events are. The West is a natural growth area for the Society, and I want us to have more functions and events out here, so people can see the Society as part of their day-to-day lives when they look at their calendar.