Paddle Canada’s Executive Director: Graham Ketcheson

The 2016 Paddle Canada Board of Directors have these words to describe Graham Ketcheson:

Dedication, Passion, Visionary, Knowledgeable, Accessible, Integrity, Wicked and Awesome, Cares about PC.

Since his appointment in January 2010, Graham Ketcheson has been working diligently on our behalf improving:

  • member services,
  • simplifying communications between members and board of directors,
  • organizing the finances of Paddle Canada
  • and the myriad of other tasks associated with his role of executive director.

He has been responsible or has been directly involved in virtually everything that has been occurring in our organization. He represents Paddle Canada with a seat on Transport Canada’s National Recreational Boating Advisory Council, representing paddler interests at the federal government level.

Graham has been a guest speaker and seminar presenter at:

  • Canadian Safe Boating Councils Symposium
  • Ontario Camps Association 
  • Rideau Tourism Association Innovation Conference

Since 2011 Graham has managed many government and corporate funding project through Paddle Canada on water paddling safety:

  • 2011 – Expansion of Paddle Canada Services: Events, SUP, Canoeing, Kayaking – Transport Canada Office of Boating Safety funded.
  • 2012 – Expansion of Paddle Canada Services: National Paddling Week, Conferences & Instructor Development – Transport Canada Office of Boating Safety funded.
  • 2012-present – National Paddling Week – Transport Canada Office of Boating Safety funded in 2012 and funded in part by Paddle Canada in partnership with Rapid Media since then.
  • 2012-2014 – Ontario Outdoor Adventure – Northern Web Portal Content plus Media and Online Support – Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation funded.
  • 2013 – Introduction of PaddleSmart Program and Training – SAR NIF grant and National Search and Rescue Secretariat contract.
  • 2015 – 2018 Paddlesmart for Everyone – SAR NIF grant and National Search and Rescue Secretariat contract.

Graham’s Vision for Paddle Canada

Our co-founder, Kirk Wipper had a vision of building a stronger national paddling community.  I’d like to continue to work on this vision and expand the recognition of PC and it’s programs nationally and internationally too.  The involvement of the membership and of course participants in the organization are key to our sustainability. Capitalizing on technology and social media can help build capacity. I would like to continue to work with Transport Canada and National Search and Rescue Secretariat,  in helping send out a strong preventative message of safe, responsible paddling practised by all paddling public especially the novices. Other partnerships in the works are with Scouts Canada & Girl Guides Canada on youth programming, plus Parks Canada, on helping each other promote safe recreational paddling programming within the national parks system. We continue to seek other partnership opportunities from private sector to bring benefits to all our members, not just instructors.

About Graham

If there is a craft to be paddled, Graham has tried it from guiding voyageur canoes down the mighty Nahanni (NWT) or Athabasca Rivers(AB), to tandem whitewater canoeing the Churchill (SK), Sturgeon Weir (SK), Dumoine (QC), Madawaska, Magnetewan, French, Spanish, rivers of Ontario, to open canoeing on the Maligne (AB) or North Saskatchewan rivers (AB), to river kayaking the White, Ottawa, or Gull Rivers of Ontario to sea kayaking in Tofino (BC), Baffin Island (NU), Atlantic Coast (NS), Gros Morne (NF), along with most of the canadian coastline of the Great Lakes and most recently playing on his new SUP board, on the St. Lawrence River.  Well that’s just to name a few rivers and bodies of waters he has paddled.

Graham’s love of canoeing and kayaking stretches back beyond his 21 years of teaching and guiding. At the Muskoka, Ontario cottage he learned to solo canoe at 7 yrs old, then in his teens went on long canoe trips, with YMCA Camp Stephens in northern Canada. In 1993, Graham apprenticed with Nahanni River Adventures and spent a few seasons guiding on the mighty Nahanni. Since 1994, Graham has worked as Manager of White Squall, Georgian Bay, until recently relocating to Kingston, Ontario in 2010 with his partners in crime Adrienne and son Owen.  He also has done contract work for Blackfeather, Naturally Superior Adventures, Newfoundland Kayak Company, Horizons Adventures, 1000 Island Kayak Company. He has taught courses in the Arctic, Newfoundland and on most of the Great Lakes. He also participated in one of the first ever Level 4 SK skill courses on on the west coast in Tofino with instructors from BCU, Paddle Canada and other organizations. He is currently a Paddle Canada Level 2 Sea Kayak Instructor-Trainer. In the past, has worked on several non-profit volunteer boards. Learn more about his professional background on Linkedin.

Graham has many interests which include Audio & Music Production, playing drums for various folk, jazz, world music and most recently a rock modern/alternative rock band called All Systems Go.  He also enjoys gourmet cooking, video and print media production, web design, and other outdoor pursuits like skiing, paddling, hiking, and more recently sailing.