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Gold Medal

2000 Recipient - Bernard Voyer

Photo: Natalie Tremblay/

An Explorer at His Peak
On a Snowy day in February 1996, a few weeks after he had skied a perilous 1,500 kilometres to the South Pole with his partner Thierry Pétry, Bernard Voyer wondered whether he could take on another expedition. ‘I feel that I’ve reached the horizon,’ he wrote in his journal. ‘I’ve covered as many kilometres within me as I have skied in Antarctica. I have gone to the end of my dream, to the end of myself.’

If exhaustion spurred Voyer to write these words, it was short-lived. Three years later, he stood at the top of Mount Everest, the first Canadian to have reached the world’s highest summit and the North and South poles with no outside assistance. Only three other people in the world have managed this feat. In honour of his accomplishment, Voyer was awarded The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Gold Medal.

The 47-year-old native of Rimouski, Que., has made a 30-year career of climbing mountains, skiing frozen expanses and canoeing remote rivers, and of sharing his expeditions with the more than 70,000 people who have attended his educational presentations. Still, he has no intention of resting on his laurels. Voyer arrived at the awards ceremony in October fresh from climbing Russia’s Mount El’brus, the tallest peak in Europe. The ascent was part of his latest endeavour — to scale the highest mountain of each of the continents, known as the seven summits. Voyer has only two peaks left to conquer before he pursues another long-held dream: retreating to a cabin in the Arctic to pen his adventures.

— Monique Roy-Sole

Bernard Voyer’s Fall 2003 lecture, "Step by Step to the Summit"
Bernard Voyer’s lecture, "On Top of the World", Spring 2003.
Visit Bernard Voyer’s web site.
2001 Gold Medal Recipient »
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