Rideau Roundtable

    
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Peter Au (Chair)

Peter Au has been involved with the Rideau Roundtable for a long time.

He was a member of the Community Advisory Groups of the Biodiversity Study of the Rideau - a million dollar three-year project of the Canadian Museum of Nature in that started 1998. Members of the community advisory groups decided to create an organization to continue to foster public interest in the conservation of the River. The Rideau River Roundtable was formed in 2000, and evolved to become the Rideau Roundtable in 2003 and its mandate was expanded to include the whole of the Rideau Waterway from Ottawa to Kingston.

Peter was on the Steering Committee that led to the formation of the Rideau River Roundtable. He has served as the president of the Rideau River Roundtable and Rideau Roundtable and participates actively in many of its projects. Peter is the driving force behind the Roundtable’s success.

Peter was involved with the nomination of the Rideau Waterway as a Canadian Heritage River and the Rideau Canal as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Prior to his activities for the Roundtable, Peter served on the board of the Science Teachers Association of Ontario, and was later involved as a member and then chair of its safety committee. He is a major player in a number of other organizations. He is on the board of the Rideau Environmental Action League (REAL) which conducts community-wide environmental projects and promotes environmental improvements within the town of Smiths Falls and in the Counties of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville. He served as its founding president from 1989 to 1997 and again as president from 2001 to 2007. Since 1979 he has been the chair of the Chinese and Canadian Heritage Cultural Association, a Canadian charity. He is involved with Trinity United Church, the Local Immigration Partnership in both Leeds and Grenville, the Evergreen Avenue Committee and numerous other community associations.

Just to name a few of his accolades, Peter has been recognized as Citizen of the Year in Smiths Falls, has received: the Ontario Bicentennial Award; the Canada 125 medal; the Life Time Achievement Award (from Green Communities of Canada); and the 20-year volunteer award (from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration).

Peter "has never met a project he didn't like" and excels in seeking linages and getting people of diverse backgrounds involved.

He lives with his wife Daisy in Rideau Lakes and has a grown son and two grandsons.

Manuel Stevens

Manuel has had a long association with the Rideau Canal beginning with his career in 1974 with Parks Canada as a planner with the CORTS (Canada-Ontario-Rideau-Trent-Severn) team tasked to establish a long range plan for the conservation and sustainable development of this nationally significant waterway system. Following this project, Manuel took up a planning position with the Parks Canada office in Cornwall to provide planning services to the Rideau Canal Office in Smiths Falls. In that capacity he embarked upon a 30 year association with the Rideau canal during which time he worked with municipal governments, provincial and federal agencies and non—government organizations to raise awareness of the heritage values of the Rideau Canal Corridor and to encourage the adoption of policies and programs to protect these values. Towards the end of his career, he participated in the preparation of the submission for world heritage recognition and was involved in the planning and conservation of numerous other national historic sites throughout the province.

After his retirement in 2008, Manuel embarked upon the restoration of a heritage cottage on Cranberry Lake, on the Rideau Canal, a process that culminated in an award for restoration by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario in 2015. Manuel divides his time between the cottage and Cornwall where he pursues his interests in maintaining the cottage, woodworking, canoeing and travel.

Cam McNeil, P.Eng. Rtd.

Major Accomplishments:
  • chaired 'Rideau as a Canadian Heritage River' and been one of three initiators of the Rideau as a World Heritage Canal (the second in the world, the only WH site in Ontario and the only WH Canal in the Americas). Chaired the organization of the National Rivers Conference in Ottawa. Winner of the national River Conservation Award of Merit;
  • designed XHE ground source heat pump found by NRC to be most efficient in the world and by CMHC to be innovation of the year. Sold by York International as their only Canadian product;
  • designed the National Emergency Equipment Locator System (NEELS) for Environmental Emergencies, Environment Canada. It was adopted all across Canada and by US Coast Guard and the Mediterranean Oil Spill Co-op;
  • headed the $360M Conservation and Renewable Energy Demonstration Agreements with the Provinces (F/P CREDA) which developed 1500 projects in 120 technologies, including starting R2000 and other programs;
  • longest serving Regent of Concordia University of Alberta (18 years);
  • flew his Mooney and Tripacer from the Arctic to the Caribbean and coast to coast for 1900 hours, visual and instruments. A copy of his log book is in the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum; and
  • his most important and lasting accomplishment was marrying Uldine and having two wonderful children and six terrific grandchildren.
Don Gibson

The Rideau River flowed through Don’s childhood like an old friend – a magical place of discovery, wonder, memories and joy. Don grew up on the banks of the Rideau in Manotick where he learned to paddle, fish, swim and catch frogs. His early experience on the Rideau led him to follow an educational and professional path in conservation work.

Don studied Geography at Queens University receiving a Bachelor of Arts (Hon) in 1977 and a Master of Arts in Recreation and Leisure Studies from the University of Waterloo in 1981.

For almost thirty years, Don was the Manager of the Canadian Heritage Rivers System --- Canada’s national river conservation program. In this role, he coordinated the designation of thirty-eight Canadian Heritage Rivers, including the Rideau Waterway. He retired from the federal government in 2013 as Parks Canada’s Senior Advisor for International Programs. Don coordinated the interdepartmental team that organized Canada’s participation at the 2012 World Conservation Congress, the world’s most important conservation event.

Don’s work in natural and cultural heritage conservation has been recognized nationally and internationally with several awards including the 2013 Bill Mason Conservation Award and the 1996 Natural Resources Council of America, Book of the Year.

Doug Stewart

Doug Stewart has over 35 years of management experience working related to parks, heritage sites and tourism across Canada and internationally. Since his retirement from Parks Canada in 2010, Doug is teaching heritage programs at Centennial College and parks and protected areas at the University of Waterloo. He joined the Board of the Rideau Roundtable in 2010.

Doug’s connection to the Rideau stems from his 8 years as Superintendent of the Rideau Canal from 1997 t0 2005, when he led the process for World Heritage designation. He served as Director General for the National Parks program of Parks Canada from 2005 to his retirement. Doug also worked as a volunteer advisor to the City of Yangzhou, China, in the development of the World Heritage nomination for the Grand Canal of China.

Doug studied history at Queen’s University receiving a Bachelor of Arts in 1973. He graduated with a Diploma in Museum Studies from Algonquin College in Ottawa in 1976. Doug earned a Masters of Public Administration in 1986 from Queen’s University.

Over his career, Doug worked as the Superintendent of many National Historic Sites and National Parks across Canada. He has been involved in the development and creation of several new national parks. Working with First Nations and local people are among Doug’s most valued and memorable experiences.

Ken Graham

Ken is retired after over 36 years in law enforcement, the last eighteen years as an Investigator with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

His Career is punctuated with 20 years as an Elected Municipal Councillor in the Town of Smiths Falls.

Ken was a member of the Ontario Municipal Water Association for eight years and a Past President of that organization.

He has served on the Leeds Grenville and Lanark Health Unit, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, and is a past Chair of both. He has served the community in many roles over the years with a keen interest in the Rideau Waterway.

He remains active, serving in a number of municipally appointed and volunteer board roles.

He and his Wife Kathy reside in Smiths Falls.

Max Finkelstein

Max had a 30-year career as a biologist, writer, park planner, interpreter for Canada's national parks. For the last 12 years of his tenure in Parks Canada, he navigated Canada’s only national river conservation program, the Canadian Heritage Rivers System (CHRS).

Max has had the good fortune to paddle many of Canada's wild rivers through his work with the CHRS, as well as partaking in his own months-long paddling expeditions. He has paddled more than 25,000 km throughout North America, South America, Europe, Africa and Australia, and was named in 2015 by the Royal Canadian Geographic as Society one of Canada's top 100 explorers. His articles and photographs appear regularly in paddling magazines, and he is a well-known figure on the national paddling scene.

Since his retirement from Parks Canada, Max has focused his energies on river conservation and getting people out on the rivers. To this end, he organizes educational canoe trips, paddling events and teaches paddling, particularly in Big Canoes. Max lives in Ottawa with his wife, wildlife biologist Connie Downes, and his son, Isaac, who is forging his own unique path in the paddling world.

Paul Hamilton

Paul Hamilton received his M.Sc. in Freshwater Aquatic Biology from Waterloo University of Ontario in 1983 and undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Western Ontario.

Paul’s Arctic research has been focused on freshwater microscopic biodiversity and paleo-climate reconstructions using microscopic organisms as biodiversity and climate proxies. His projects in paleoclimate research extend back in time millions of years. Paul is also interested in the Water footprint and our impact on current global water resources. His research work has extended into looking at metals in aquatic environments.

Paul is currently working on freshwater biodiversity projects in North America, Russia, Bolivia, western India and Indonesia and initiated non-point source pollution reclamation studies in south central China.

He was a senior member of the team that completed the Canadian Museum of Nature’s two-year biodiversity study of the Rideau River. He has been involved with the Roundtable’s Research & Monitoring Team since its inception.

Paul has personal interests in history, specifically natural history, and a love of solo canoeing and kayaking. Paul has coauthored publications with the description of 52 new species and two new genera to science, coauthored five books on diatom taxonomy and ecology, has 5 species named in his honour and published 113 peer reviewed scientific papers.


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