Keynote speaker passionate about heritage rivers

When the annual ManOMin watershed conference kicks off here next Wednesday (March 30), the first person delegates will hear from brings a wealth of experience and commitment with him.
Max Finklestein is a bit of a renaissance man—author, poet, documentary maker, and lecturer. He has written two books, “Canoeing a Continent . . . On the Trail of Alexander MacKenzie” and “Paddling the Boreal Forest . . . Rediscovering A.P. Low.”
But to sum himself up in one word, the word he chooses is “paddler.”
Finklestein is passionate about rivers and their connection to Canada. He is employed by the Canadian Heritage River System and most often is referred to as “the River Guy”—a handle he wears with pride.
While here, Finklestein will share some of his personal experiences with the Rainy River, as well as his opinion on where it fits into the larger context of Canadian heritage.
He paddled the Rainy River from Fort Frances to Lake of the Woods in 1997 and has a personal connection with it.
“It’s a river that has an incredible history, and a lot of that is being lost and forgotten,” Finklestein said yesterday from his office in Ottawa. “I’m hoping to bring this river back to its proper place in Canadian heritage.
“Canada is what it is today because of rivers like the Rainy,” he stressed.
Finklestein will make a community presentation at the Townshend Theatre next Wednesday from 7-9 p.m., where he said he intends to address what has been happening to rivers across Canada to date and the spiritual role they play.
He also will give the keynoted address at the conference next Thursday from 10:30 a.m.-noon at La Place Rendez-Vous. Here, he intends to discuss what rivers have taught him over the years—complete with slides and a PowerPoint presentation.
The ManOMin watershed conference continues through Saturday, April 2 at the Rendez-Vous.