***UPDATE: I will be in Orkney from September 28th to October 1st, attending events, ceremonies, services, lectures, films and festivities honouring John Rae. Will post a schedule before going, plus more information and photos on return.***
**SCHEDULE CHANGE: I WILL BE AT PERFECT BOOKS IN OTTAWA ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28TH, FROM NOON TO 2 PM (see address below).
**September 30, 2017; I will be at Perfect Books in Ottawa (258A Elgin Street) from 12 Noon to 3 pm. Looking forward to it. (Changed: see above)
September 16, 2017: I will be at Georgian Bay Books, 247 King Street in Midland, Ontario (1-3 pm) to sign copies of Finding John Rae and chat with fellow Arctic enthusiasts. If you haven't yet visited Sarah and Sandy's store, you are in for a treat. It's a real gem!
September 4, 2017: Week-long festival celebrating Inuit Oral History and the role the Inuit played in finding the lost Erebus and Terror begins in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. See Blog for more information.
August, 2017: Exciting news: celebrated British author, actor and presenter Michael Palin has become a patron of the John Rae Society! Visit johnraesociety.com for more information!
July, 2017: The Orkney Islands Council has declared that John Rae will be awarded the Freedom of Orkney Honour. See Blog for more information.
July 5, 2017: On this site: new blog posts, new photos uploaded, and news about a special award being given posthumously to Dr. John Rae!
APRIL 30, 2017: MY CREATIVE NON-FICTION BIOGRAPHY "FINDING JOHN RAE" WILL BE RELEASED (one month later than planned) BY RONSDALE PRESS OF VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA. THE BOOK WILL BE AVAILABLE VIA AMAZON AND CHAPTERS-INDIGO, RONSDALE PRESS, INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS AND AT MAJOR PUBLIC LIBRARIES.
"FINDING JOHN RAE" BOOK LAUNCH on Tuesday April 18, 2017 from 6:30-8 pm at the Penetanguishene Public Library was a standing-room only event. There was a good discussion, with plenty of stories and questions from a well-versed audience concerning John Rae and the Arctic. A thoroughly enjoyable evening!
"FINDING JOHN RAE" BOOK LAUNCH on Thursday April 13, 2017 from 5-8 pm in the Upper Library of Massey College, University of Toronto was insightful and delightful. The event was hosted by Mark S.
Bonham, Senior Fellow with Massey College.
Mark has posted the Massey College presentation on YouTube: cbhajanehamiltonapril2017
SEE PHOTO GALLERY FOR PICTURES OF THE TWO BOOK LAUNCH EVENTS
MAY 5-7, 2017: I will be in Orkney, Scotland, for the overseas launch of my book "Finding John Rae"
For more information, please visit www.johnraesociety.com
September 3, 2016: The mystery of finding the long-missing HMS Terror has been solved. The ship came to rest in Terror Bay, Nunavut. Congratulations to the cast and crew of the search vessel Martin Bergmann, as well as Parks Canada and the Canadian National Geographical Society for their tireless efforts in searching for the Erebus (found 2014) and Terror over many years. Congratulations to all those who helped over decades to locate the missing ships.
September 30, 2016: Wonderful news! The John Rae Society has now purchased the Hall of Clestrain - birthplace of Arctic explorer John Rae - in Orphir, Orkney. The venue will be the site of interesting and educational events to come.
November 9, 2016: Liam McArthur, Member of Scottish Parliament for Orkney, tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament about the John Rae Society's acquisition of the Hall of Clestrain. In the motion, the society is commended for its work towards preserving the Hall (built 1769) as an important piece of Orcadian history. Stay tune for more news in 2017!
You can check on this website and www.johnraesociety.com for information on future activities and events at the Hall.
May 15, 2015: SEE IMAGES AT THE BOTTOM OF THESE PAGES. ON THE LEFT, A PAINTING OF THE BRITISH ADMIRALTY'S ARCTIC NAVAL COUNCIL, ASSEMBLED TO DISCUSS THE SEARCH FOR THE MISSING FRANKLIN EXPEDITION, CIRCA 1850. ON THE RIGHT, PRIME MINSTER STEPHEN HARPER AND THE CANADIAN ARCTIC COUNCIL ASSEMBLED FOR A PRESS PHOTO IN OTTAWA - HAVING THE SAME DISCUSSION - PUBLISHED IN CANADIAN GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, FALL 2014. (compare poses between original painting and recent photograph)
May 5, 2015: We just received notice from the John Rae Society in Orkney, that a gentleman who lives in Quebec has purchased a 9,800 megaton Ice Class cargo ship, which he plans to name JOHN RAE. The ship owner is an admirer of John Rae and his many achievements. He has a passion for nature, history, and for the Canadian North, where he spends time whenever he can. It will be interesting to see what the vessel will do. We trust that she will carry goods that benefit all, including the people and our sacred Arctic environment. I will keep you posted!
JULY 25, 2016: UPDATE: I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON A MANUSCRIPT FOR A HISTORICAL FICTION BOOK ABOUT JOHN RAE, HIS LIFE AND HIS INCREDIBLE EXPERIENCES AS AN EXPLORER, PHYSICIAN, SURVEYOR, SCIENTIST AND NATURALIST. HIS LIFE JOURNEY, FROM HIS BIRTH IN 1813, TO HIS DEATH IN 1893, WAS REMARKABLE - A REFLECTION OF THE ADVENTUROUS AND HONOURABLE MAN HE WAS. SINCERELY, JANE HAMILTON
If you are in London, England, do visit Westminster Abbey to see (among many other interesting things) the recently installed plaque honouring Dr. John Rae and his remarkable achievements in the Arctic. It is placed beneath the bust of Sir John Franklin in the chapel of St. John the Evangelist.
APRIL, 2015: RESEARCHERS FROM PARKS CANADA, ALONG WITH REPRESENTATIVES OF INUIT, ACADEMIC AND SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITIES, HAVE JUST FINISHED RE-VISITING THE SITE WHERE THE EREBUS CAME TO REST, NEAR KING WILLIAM ISLAND IN THE ARCTIC. THEY USED ADVANCED LASER TECHNOLOGY TO TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT WHAT LIES THERE. LOOKING FORWARD TO HEARING MORE ABOUT THEIR SEARCH!
Click Here for Video (description below)
'From Orphir, Orkney, to Nunavut, Northern Territories (Canada)'.
(see September 11, 2014 Blog for information on video)
** Many thanks to CTV, CBC and Global News for their excellent coverage of the ceremony and plaque unveiling at Westminster Abbey on September 30th, honouring Dr. John Rae. Your enthusiasm and hard work are very much appreciated.**
Below, click for earlier CTV news story about "Finding John Rae".
Welcome to the world of John Rae.
He was born in Orphir, Orkney, Scotland on September 30th, 1813. He died in Kensington, London on July 22nd, 1893.
John Rae was an extraordinary man: physician, Arctic explorer, naturalist, surveyor, hunter and sailor. His skills, courage and stamina in conditions of extreme weather and harsh terrain set him apart from other 19th century explorers.
He respected and understood the flora, fauna and peoples of northern wilderness spaces and survived where other foreigners did not.
He walked, snowshoed and sledged thousands of miles in the Canadian Arctic, mapping the northern coastline for the Hudson Bay Company. During the time period of 1847 to 1854, he joined in the search for the missing ships of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, the Erebus and Terror.
In The Spring of 1854, during an overland mapping expedition with two Inuit travelling companions, he located and charted the elusive link in the much sought-after North West Passage. That summer, with the help of his Inuit translator, he gathered critical testimony from the Arctic people who knew what had happened to Sir John Franklin's ships and men. He also collected numerous personal artifacts belonging to the deceased British naval men, to bring to the Admiralty in London.
On October 22, 1854, John Rae arrived in London ahead of schedule for an unforgettable meeting with members of the British Admiralty's esteemed Arctic Naval Council. On that day, he discovered something he would never have wanted to know: what it was like to have enemies.
Through no fault of his own, he had walked into a living nightmare that would haunt him for the rest of his life.
Alice Jane Hamilton
Great-Great Grandniece of John Rae
Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada