• Mark Kristmanson, Alex Trebek, Andrew Leslie and John Geiger at the 50 Sussex announcement

    Left to right: Mark Kristmanson, CEO of the National Capital Commission; Jeopardy! host and honourary RCGS president Alex Trebek; L. Gen (Ret'd) Andrew Leslie, MP for Orléans and Chief Government Whip; and John Geiger, CEO of the RCGS celebrate the announcement that 50 Sussex Drive in Ottawa will become Canada's Centre for Geography and Exploration. (Photo: Colin Rowe/Canadian Geographic)

October marked the start of an exciting new chapter for The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. Read on to find out why and what else we've been up to this autumn. 

A landmark new home for the RCGS

Artist's rendering of 50 Sussex Drive

Artist's rendering of the facade of 50 Sussex Drive, soon to become Canada's Centre for Geography and Exploration. (Illustration: Andy Mora)

On October 24, the RCGS and the National Capital Commission announced a partnership to transform the former Canada and the World Pavilion at 50 Sussex Drive in Ottawa into Canada's Centre for Geography and Exploration. Honourary RCGS President Alex Trebek and Chief Government Whip L. Gen (Ret'd) Andrew Leslie, MP for Orléans, were on hand for the historic announcement, which was also attended by numerous Fellows of the Society. The facility will open in two phases, first as an official Confederation Pavilion with public exhibitions planned for summer 2017, then fully in 2018 as the new permanent headquarters of the RCGS, Canadian Geographic magazine and Canadian Geographic Education. 

Explorer's circumpolar traverse

Young explorer Adam Shoalts is close to becoming a household name thanks to his solo 2014 expedition through the Hudson Bay lowlands and subsequent bestselling book, Alone Against the North, and next summer, he will attempt a new feat: a traverse, on foot, of the Canadian Arctic. Shoalts announced his expedition and accepted the flag of the honourary RCGS president at the 50 Sussex reception. A story about the expedition will appear in the December issue of Canadian Geographic, out November 16. 

A cartographer on cartography

On October 3, Canadian Geographic cartographer Chris Brackley spoke before a full house at the Toronto Reference Library on the relevance of cartography in modern times. A video of Brackley's talk can be viewed here (note: the audio quality is poor). 

Canada From Space giant floor map heads north 

Canadian Geographic Education's 'Canada From Space' giant floor map, produced in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency, kicked off a three-year-tour of northern communities with an event at Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit October 17. Astronaut David Saint-Jacques was present to launch the program, which features lesson plans in Inuktitut and will encourage northern students to learn about space technology and hone their understanding of the many uses of Earth Observation satellites, such as ice monitoring, resource management and navigation. 

Classroom Energy Diet Challenge registration

The award-winning energy literacy program by Canadian Geographic Education and Shell is back for a sixth year, and with new curriculum-linked activities and great prizes, the 2017 challenge promises to be bigger and better than ever. Register your class now! 

New Charting Change blog

The October instalment of Charting Change, a partnership between the International Development Research Centre and Canadian Geographic highlighting innovative projects in the developing world, focuses on efforts to reduce border violence as a result of illicit economic activity in Latin America. The series celebrates its first anniversary in November; watch for a new post soon. 

Simon Winchester awarded 2016 Burpee Medal

British-born author and journalist Simon Winchester has been announced as the recipient of the 2016 Lawrence J. Burpee Medal for outstanding contributions to the advancement of geography. Winchester is the author of 26 books with a focus on geography and nature, including the New York Times bestseller The Map That Changed the World, about William Smith, the father of modern geology. "To be honoured by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society is something that makes me enormously proud," he says. Winchester will be presented with his award at the annual College of Fellows Dinner on November 16, where he will also deliver a keynote address. 

Annual Photo Competition judged

Thousands of Canadians submitted pictures to this year's Annual Photo Competition. Three judges–Javier Frutos, Canadian Geographic's art director, and photographers Michelle Valberg and Roland Bastarache–joined forces to sift through the beautiful entries and select the top photos. Stay tuned for the soon-to-be-announced winners, which span themes from wildlife to national parks to urban spaces. 

A Nation Soars on CPAC

A Nation Soars, the first in a three-part documentary series by the RCGS and Sound Venture Productions honouring Canada's Great War aviation achievements, premiered on CPAC on October 30. Part two, Wings of Courage, airs Sunday, November 6 at 9 p.m. ET and is accompanied by a host of free educational resources to help Canadians understand the legacy of the First World War. 

Lindblad and the RCGS tour the Galápagos

Lindblad Expeditions, in partnership with The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and National Geographic, hosted an incredible 16-day adventure through the Galápagos Islands and Peru in October. Sailing aboard the National Geographic Endeavour expedition ship, travellers got up close to remarkable Galápagos wildlife on land and under the sea, then journeyed to the ancient Incan citadel of Machu Picchu set high in the Andes Mountains. RCGS Fellow and adventurer George Kourounis was along for the experience and shared incredible photos via social media: