November 9, 2018
For about a quarter of each year for almost half a century, Alex Hall lived on Arctic rivers and waterways.
He’s canoed some dozens of times, and others never paddled before. By his own account, he’s paddled more miles on the Barren Lands than anyone else — and no one seems to bat an eye when he says it.
His passion was born at a young age paddling the winding rivers and lakes of southern Ontario where he was raised.
He followed that passion through his education, where he studied wildlife biology and gained a Masters in Animal Ecology from the University of Toronto.
It was soon after that he got the itch to go North, and by 1971, he’d began making regular trips to paddle the wild rivers of the Northwest Territories.
He made guiding his career in ’74 when he started Canoe Arctic — the tourism business he runs to this day. Alex has served as gatekeeper, storyteller, and protector for hundreds of visitors
In 1980, he went all-in on the Northwest Territories and made Fort Smith home. He has been based on the shores of the Slave River ever since.
After almost 45 years, we’re recognizing him with a Outstanding Service Award for the spectacular work he’s done both on the water, on-land, and in between.
Milestones through Alex’s career include:
- 2016 GNWT Outstanding Service Award
- 2007: National Geographic Adventure chose Canoe Arctic’s canoe trips in the Canadian Arctic as one of its “Top Destinations for 2007 and Beyond”
- 2004: the Tourism Industry of the NWT presented Alex with the Mike Stilwell Lifetime Achievement Award for his impact on the development of the tourism industry in the NWT and for his conservation work in connection with the Thelon Wildlife Sanctuary.
- 2003: he published a book on the Barren Lands entitled Discovering Eden: A Lifetime of Paddling Arctic Rivers. The Globe and Mail declared that Discovering Eden “is among the handful of books that can be considered Northern classics.”
- 2002: he was the runner up for the Arctic Award, an international award administered by the World Wildlife Fund for linking tourism and conservation.