Ken Burton’s photo (left) of a polar bear sniffing the air and trying to determine if he was food. In the Arctic, he was told by an Inuit elder, “You don’t hunt polar bear, polar bear hunts you!” His book, Canada’s Arctic: A Guide to Adventure Through the Northwest Passage, contains need-to-know information regarding travel through the Northwest Passage, maps, historic notes, and antidotes.

B.C. skipper who circumnavigated North America publishes book on Canada’s Arctic

Ken Burton’s Canada’s Arctic A Guide to Adventure Through the Northwest Passage is on sale now

Chilliwack’s Ken Burton says he has spent decades walking through doorways opened by the universe to see what opportunities are on the other side. And while it doesn’t always work out, Burton says it’s offered him a life full of adventure.

Captain Ken Burton (Jeff Topham)

“I often joke with people and tell them I got into the wrong line for being fingerprinted, and was sent to RCMP training in Regina,” said Burton with a smile.

Even though he started out working as a photojournalist, Burton became a Mountie with the goal of ending up in their lab. However, before being able to transfer, he had to complete two years as an officer wherever needed, which ended up being on the water.

“I was a career member of the RCMP and worked all my service along the coast of British Columbia,” Burton explained. “And for a good deal of that time, I was a skipper on various coastal patrol boats that ran up and down (our) coast.”

His experiences on Pacific waters led him to skipper the RCMP’s St. Roch II during its recreation of the St. Roch’s original voyage – the first vessel to sail around the continent – more than 70 years ago.

The trip, which circled North America via the Northwest Passage and the Panama Canal, took 169 days and covered 24,000 nautical miles. “I tell people it took me a long time to turn left after that,” joked Burton, who skippered the 20-metre aluminum boat through some incredibly choppy waters. “Leave Vancouver, turn left, turn left, turn left again.”

A muskox photographed by Burton during a northern expedition.

After retiring from the RCMP, Burton spent some time as the executive director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum, which houses the original, wooden St. Roch schooner. And from there, it was only a hop, skip, and jump to becoming an expedition guide.

While patrolling the Pacific for the RCMP, Burton says he was able to create an impressive mental catalogue of our coastal waters and beyond.

“We went into every bay and inlet that we could find and through the Arctic as well,” said Burton. “So I spent a lot of time learning, understanding, and really comprehending our coastline and getting to know … where people were hunting, where people were fishing, where the historic sites were.

“I … came to realize that was some pretty valuable knowledge I was able to leave the RCMP with, and when I began to interact with the expedition tour companies it was well , ‘If you go here, there’s an abandoned Hudson’s Bay post,’ or (whatever).”

And now Burton’s published a book containing much of the knowledge he was able to glean from his career.

Canada’s Arctic: A Guide to Adventure Through the Northwest Passage gives (readers) the latitude and longitude of places that – if you’re going through the Northwest Passage – are the must see (places to visit).

“(The book) tells a bit of the story, and an accurate story, about what happened at that site, why it’s such a significant location, whether it’s a story about Sir John Franklin, a story about the Inuit, a story about the RCMP in the high Arctic, or the Hudson’s Bay Company.”

READ MORE: Photographers take their best shot at Abbotsford Airshow

The book, which Burton wrote last year, is 224 pages long and contains hundreds of high-resolution colour photographs he’s taken over the years. It also contains need-to-know information regarding travel through the Northwest Passage, maps, historic notes, and antidotes.

Travelling from Unalaska, USA, through the Bering Sea, into the Northwest Passage, through Nunavut, into Baffin Bay, and by western Greenland, Burton provides an all-encompassing guide to northern expeditions that is sure to beckon to those with adventurous souls.

Canada’s Arctic: A Guide to Adventure Through the Northwest Passage sells for $49.95, and is now available at bookstores, marine stores, and specialty outlets.


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Mouat grad Irons scores first CFL touchdown

Former Hawks star records major against Toronto on Saturday

Abbotsford council OKs bus-to-SkyTrain plan

Fraser Valley Express would begin running to Lougheed Station by start of 2021

Abbotsford sees first proposal for ‘stacked townhouse’ project

Sixty-six units proposed for McCallum Road, south of Highway 1

Fraser Valley Bandits lose ninth straight

Basketball team remains winless nearing mid-way part of season

Chilliwack judge veers from joint submission, bumps up sex assault sentence

‘I find the joint submission is contrary to the public interest and I’m rejecting it’

Video shows fireworks shot at swan in Alberta

Alberta Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident in Grande Prairie

Grey-haired bank robber hit with dye pack in Langley heist

Police are looking for an older man who may be stained with dye

B.C. teen killed by fallen tree on field trip remembered as hero

13-year-old Tai Caverhill was the first to spot the tree falling and warned his friends

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

‘Text neck’ causing bone spurs to grow from millennials’ skulls, researchers say

Technology use from early childhood causing abnormal bone growths in 41 per cent of young adults

Should B.C. get rid of Daylight Saving Time?

The province wants to know, as state governments down south make the move

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Canadians crash out of Women’s World Cup in 0-1 loss to Sweden

Canada missed a chance to tie the game on a penalty shot

New Lower Mainland bistro caters to board game fans and families

Local food and games at every table is the formula for the new business

Most Read