Ken Powell, “Civilizations Collide in the Search For a Northwest Passage”, March 28, 2023

RSVP by Mar 22nd to attend in person.
[N.B., this will not be a Whiff@Home meeting.]

Ken is a long time active member of the Toronto Whiff who now lives in Peterborough. Born and raised in North Toronto, his post-secondary education saw him attend Ridley College and then the University of Toronto, majoring in psychology. He then began a 30-year executive career with Imperial Oil Limited, Exxon Corporation and Esso Inter-America which meant moving 18 times to support his roles in marketing, strategic planning and human resources. In his 50s, he joined accounting giant Coopers and Lybrand as a management consultant and, on behalf of the Canadian Executive Services Organization, served as a company consultant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia until his dream job was offered to him – running Outward Bound Canada.

As a lifelong canoeist who has now paddled most, if not all, of the rivers in Canada, his time at OBC was a lot of fun and personally very gratifying to take people into the wilderness and seeing the effect, how that  experience changed their lives. A widower, he met Penny Rush at OBC and they married in 2000. Moving to Penny’s home town of Peterborough, he joined the board of the Peterborough Regional Health Centre, eventually serving as chair of that body.  An avid travel photographer, Ken was asked to contribute some of his canoeing photos to The Canadian Canoe Museum. Subsequently, he joined the Board and delved in to help the organization discover and nurture new revenue streams. As the Board Chair, he spearheaded the partnership with Parks Canada to see the museum move to a brand new facility – which was presented to the Whiff in October 2014 by fellow board member and explorer, James Raffan.  Ken has volunteered with a number of other organizations including Junior Achievement of Canada, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Corporate-Higher Education Forum, the Toronto and Atlantic Symphony Orchestras. He currently chairs the board of the SPARK Photo festival.

But it is because of Ken’s passion about travel and photography that we asked him to tell us about his recent Sept 2022 adventure – Through the Northwest Passage which inspired him to research and write one of his many in-depth Powell Ponderings blog articles. In his talk, Civilizations Collide in Extreme Conditions in the Search for a Northwest Passage, Ken will share pictures of the trip and discuss the drama of the 400 years of finding a route through the Northwest Passage, and the history of the countries, ships and men who tried to do this. He will also highlight the lives of the Inuit who were already living there – and the significant contrast between these two worlds.

Join fellow Whiffers on Tuesday, March 28th
The reception at the RCYC begins at 6:00 pm.

Sorry, but the deadline to RSVP for this meeting has passed.

You may send an email to to see if any late reservation slots are still available. Please do NOT send a money transfer until directed to do so by the Treasurer.