50 Years, 50 People: Becky Mason

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Becky Mason acquired her paddling skills and her fondness for canoes from her father, Bill Mason, the author and filmmaker of the Path of the Paddle series. She continues the family tradition of sharing her passion for canoeing through her paddling instruction, film-making, writing, paddling workshops, demonstrations, and presentations. She is also a visual artist with a long list of exhibitions spanning the last 30+ years in public and commercial galleries as well as studio tours and pop-up shows. And she is, of course, a wilderness and environmental advocate lending her voice and her time to many causes she is passionate about, both local and global. 

As well as being an ambassador for all things canoeing Becky is also a long-time Paddle Canada instructor-trainer and a Patron of Paddle Canada. Recently she was invited to sit on the National Council of the Canadian Canoe Museum to help support the relocation and building of the new museum. She is also a long-standing Board member of the Quetico Foundation, and she is on the Paddle Canada Bill Mason Memorial Scholarship committee.

Becky lives in Chelsea, QC with her husband Reid McLachlan where she continues to teach canoeing at Meech Lake and 2021 will mark the 34th year of her running her Classic Canoeing paddling school there. Connecting with paddlers from farther afield is important to Becky too, and she and Reid have traveled much of Canada and the Northern U.S. presenting at venues large and small and has done three tours of Europe and the UK teaching and sharing her love for canoeing skills, culture, and heritage. She has also contributed to numerous canoeing publications including Canoeroots, Explore, Paddling Magazine, Bushcraft, Northern Ontario Travel and Paddler and for books including The Canoe in Canadian Culture;  A Woman’s Guide to Canoeing; Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s Rendezvous with the Wild: The Boreal Forest; Cliff Jacobsen’s The Basic Essentials of Solo Canoeing and with her brother Paul she updated her father’s books Song of the Paddle and Path of the Paddle. Becky has been profiled in numerous paddling-themed video productions including a guest appearance in a Ray Mears’ Bushcraft – Birchbark Canoe series and also profiled in This is Canoeing and Canoe: Icon of the North.

​She has directed, produced, written, and starred in two award-winning instructional videos: Basic Classic Solo Canoeing and Advanced Classic Solo Canoeing. In 2009 she took part in rewriting the Paddle Canada Lake Canoe manual and attended and presented at the new program launch. She continues to be an active Paddle Canada Instructor-Trainer and enjoys seeing new younger talent coming through the Paddle Canada organization.

Whether it’s taking an hour to paddle the local creek, going on a long wilderness trip, or when it’s winter skating and skiing on the beautiful Gatineau River near her house, Becky is always happiest when she is on the water.

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