Shawn Hodgins, January 30th, 1961 to August 22nd, 2022 (age 61)

Shawn doing what he loved

We at the Wilderness Canoe Association are very much saddened to hear of Shawn’s passing.

Extracts from his obituary

Shawn Hodgins, founder/owner/operator of Wanapitei CANOE, died peacefully on August 22, 2022, with his beloved wife and paddling partner, Elizabeth (Liz) McCarney and family friend Leslie Kirke by his side, following complications from his brief and courageous fight with pancreatic cancer.

Shawn’s quiet strength made him a quintessential leader – for decades he guided some of the most ambitious and challenging white-water expeditions in remote Northern locations. He calmly led with grace and confidence, allowing his trip participants to enjoy the serenity of the natural world and focus on the transcendental beauty of the moment.  Shawn also had a sly sense of humour – for example, every time his esteemed friend Peter opened his trip barrel on the Mountain River, NWT, Shawn would secretly hide another rock in the bottom – Peter was baffled by his barrel gaining weight throughout the trip; Shawn took great pleasure from this bafflement, as did the others on the trip! It’s a story that is often shared.

“Shawn loved raucous conversations around a campfire…”

Shawn loved raucous conversations around a campfire, a dining room table or a kitchen counter, discussing Canadian history and politics, and maybe a little gossip.  He generously shared his encyclopedic knowledge of the Canadian North with others.  As a respected ambassador of Canada’s North, Shawn was loved by many white-water canoeists, wilderness enthusiasts and northern expeditioners from across Canada and beyond. He spent his life paddling the wild Canadian waters, and more recently expanded his routes into Central America, the Caribbean and Europe.  Shawn had a formative influence on many young trippers, teaching them wilderness skills, which helped them build invaluable confidence and self reliance.

Shawn paddled white water like an artist. He was greatly influenced by Camp Wanapitei, the Temagami wilderness and Trent University, and perhaps most of all by Liz, his wife of 27 years who always brought out the best in him, and whom he loved deeply. Shawn leaves a huge hole in the hearts of his family members, many close friends and those in the canoeing world.

“lies on the marge of the old portage

He led his final trip on the Pelly River in the NWT in July of this year and now “lies on the marge of the old portage, with peace for company.”

A visitation will take place on Friday, October 14, 2022 from 2:00-4:00 pm and 6:00-8:00 pm at Highland Park Funeral Centre, 2510 Bensfort Road, Peterborough, ON, K9J 1C5.

The Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2022 at 2:00-5:00 pm in the Great Hall at Trent University, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON, K9L 0G2.

Online messages of condolence may be expressed at

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