The White Squall staff family is a remarkable bunch. All of them are exceptional individuals, with a wide range of talents and skills. Many of them are local experts, because they live right here in the Parry Sound area! Most of our guides are Paddle Canada certified sea kayak instructors and four are national instructor-trainers. Our resource staff are leaders in their field and talented teachers. How lucky we are to have such a depth of knowledge and skill available to us – and best of all, they’re pretty darn fun to be around too!
Everybody knows Tim – he’s the boss. Without Tim and his partner Kathy, there would be no White Squall. Both have worked in the outdoor industry since the early ’70s.
Tim is a direct and effective communicator, always diplomatic, with a witty sense of humour. Staff and customers alike take a shine to him immediately. Tim’s job is to oversee most everything – keeping the White Squall ship sailing. Tim is a Paddle Canada Sea Kayak Level 3 Instructor Trainer with Level 4 Skills, is a Wilderness First Responder, and is certified in Swiftwater Rescue. In winter, he teaches skiing at the local ski club with the Jackrabbit program and loves backcountry skiing with friends. In summer, well you know where to find him, however occasionally he escapes for a canoe or kayak getaway with family and friends, never tiring of spending time in his backyard of beautiful Georgian Bay.
Kathy’s role here at the Squall is “behind the scenes” as she likes to put it. Her list of duties include accounting, helping manage trip food, gardening and keeping Tim in line!
Prior to founding White Squall, she earned her Bachelors in Environmental Studies at Waterloo and later her Bachelors of Education from Western. Outdoor centers in Ontario and B.C. were places where she worked with kids from 5 to 18 enjoying the outdoor life. She grew up speaking German, loves singing in her choir and snowshoeing or skiing with the family dog Charly. Most of all, she loves the extended family White Squall brings her!
Jesse Dyer grew up with us on Cole Lake and is now a bush-pilot in northern Ontario. When the lakes freeze, he heads to the western mountains, working in the back-country and alpine as an assistant ski guide.
Charly joined White Squall in January 2012. He immediately took on the role of customer greeter. He holds the highest level in Stand up Paddle boarding of all the staff. The winter is by far his favourite season, though! He gets to tag along when his parents go for skis around the lake.
Greg has worked at White Squall since 1992, beginning as an apprentice guide. He’s now part of the management team – sounds so official doesn’t it?! While he really likes guiding, he has become quite interested in the teaching/coaching aspect of sea kayaking. He is certified by Paddle Canada as a Level 2 Instructor Trainer, Level 3 Instructor and has Level 4 skills. He loves getting out in big winds and waves and out on the rivers in his whitewater kayak. His goal is to paddle 12 months of the year in any type of craft…still working on February!
Kathleen was born on the shores of Lake Superior at the mouth of the Michipicoten River. With the forests as a playground, she developed a deep appreciation for the Canadian landscape & all range of critters. Kathleen attended Queen’s University in Kingston and after years in urban settings returned to the north and settled in Parry Sound. Kathleen’s favourite family vacation is time on Georgian Bay, kayaking, swimming, stargazing, & critter spotting. Kathleen has Wilderness Advanced First Aid certification, Paddle Canada Level 2 Skills and Basic Kayak Instructor. She wears the hat of ‘Office Manager’ with charm and grace!
Jack Elliott or “Captain Jack” as some of us call him, is one of the more colourful staff at White Squall. Lucky to have been born into a “camping family”, Jack has been going on outdoor trips and messing around in boats for as long as he can remember. Many moons ago Jack was a professional big machinery mechanic working in the mines of Elliot Lake. Afterwards he spent his time on the Bay as a marine mechanic. Jack’s other life is painting. He creates big and small paintings on oil and canvas. Often he’ll take a paint kit along with him on his kayak adventures. Jack has paddled on the west coast (Queen Charlottes), east coasts (Newfoundland), and many of the lakes in Ontario including Superior, Nipigon, Nipissing, and Lake Huron. He has many a tale (& painting) to tell about some of these trips. In winter you’ll find Jack way back on the frozen hills & swamps of northern Ontario or in the mountains of the Yukon bush, skiing with a polk and prospector tent. Jack is a manager and specifically co-ordinates the paddle sport section. He is an excellent paddler and instructor. He also loves selling kayaks & gear in the shop! Jack is a Paddle Canada Level 1 Sea Kayak Instructor & Level 3 paddler and is trained in Wilderness 1st Aid.
Patti adds a lot of flavour to the atmosphere at White Squall with her lively personality. You always know when Patti is on site. She’s full of smiles and laughs, and it’s hard to be unhappy with her around.
Patti is a true Parry Sounder who ran the Trailseekers, a bike and ski shop in town with her brother. After travelling the world, seeking new challenges and experiences, starting another life in Australia, managing an outdoor shop there, and moving to Vancouver to work as a travel agent, she returned to her home on the Bay.
Patti came on board in 1998, and is now a manager and wears many hats: instructing and guiding and overseeing the merchandise at both the Paddling Centre and Town Shop. She has training in Advanced Wilderness 1st Aid, and a Paddle Canada/ORCKA Level 1 Sea Kayak Instructor.
Meg comes from an extensive background in flat water canoeing and tripping, and white water canoeing and kayaking from her days as an instructor at Outward Bound Canada. After a hiatus from paddling for five years (it’s hard to paddle in the desert of the United Arab Emirates!) she’s been very happy to be back in Canada and back on the water! Meg joined the Squall family as relief staff in the summer of 2015, and adding sea kayaking to her paddling resume was a natural step. In January 2016, she joined on as the Squall’s marketing coordinator ~ a perfect fit for her love of photography, writing and creative flair. She’s traveled the world over, having lived overseas for 6 years, exploring over 40 countries. She’s happiest surrounded by nature, and out on the water! When not working at the Squall, she’s busy running her photography business Meg Wallace Photography.
Jan recently joined the White Squall team after retiring from a local catering company, founded with a business partner 17 years ago. Graduating from Guelph with a business degree, Jan travelled and worked at various locations (mainly resorts, always with either water or mountains – very important), across Canada until 1996 when she settled in Parry Sound permanently. Much of her youth was spent on the Bay, enjoying the outdoors and all it had to offer; camping, hiking, paddling, swimming, biking and skiing . As Georgian Bay is their paradise, now she and her family (husband, 3 daughters, dog & a Harris hawk), enjoy the same (when the kids’ crazy schedules will allow it). She loves working with the public. Don’t be surprised if you hear her unique laugh before you see her, both at the town shop and paddling centre.
Jane is an enthusiastic White Squall employee with a passion for travel and love for Georgian Bay. She enjoys paddling and cooking in the great outdoors and after travelling the world, believes the Bay is the most beautiful place to live. Jane’s favourite thing about working at White Squall is the way she is treated and the staff she is able to work with. She oversees the water purification systems and footwear selection in both shops. She is trained in Advanced Wilderness 1st Aid. Jane lives in the Parry Sound area with her husband and two sons and has worked at White Squall since 1998.
Paula has spent many years paddling the waters in and around Georgian Bay as well as taking kayak courses from White Squall. Recently retired after 33 years in the human services field, she is happy to join the White Squall family, learn from the best and share her enthusiasm for paddling, people and outdoor experiences.
Ayden Dermenjian grew up living on the water and camping on the many islands of Georgian Bay. When not paddling she can be found reading, baking, singing or playing her guitar. Ayden is currently studying a BSc in Nursing at McMaster University. She loves going on adventures around Georgian Bay and the world and most recently biked from France to Portugal! Ayden taught swimming lessons for four years and has volunteered running leadership experiences for youth and corporate groups. Ayden loves teaching and is a Paddle Canada Level 1 Kayak Instructor, Paddle Canada Advanced Flatwater SUP Instructor and Voyageur Canoe Intermediate Leader. She has her Level 3 Kayak skills and is a Wilderness First Responder.
Brian has worked summers at White Squall since 2008. Born and raised on a small inland lake just outside of Parry Sound, the very first present he ever got was a PFD from White Squall and has been in love with kayaking and Georgian Bay ever since. Brian is an avid whitewater kayaker and after graduating high school in Parry Sound, Brian took a year off school to complete the W.I.L.D (Whitewater Intensive Leadership Development) school. He spent three months whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing training on the best rivers of Canada, the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica. In the years since, Brian has continued to explore new rivers at every chance. Still, every summer Brian is drawn back home to the beautiful islands and forgiving warm water of Georgian Bay. Brian enjoys teaching all types of paddling and is a Paddle Canada Level 2 Instructor, Advanced SUP Instructor Trainer, Wilderness First Responder and has his Level 3 Skills.
Carson joined White Squall in 2013 and absolutely loves being outdoors, exploring the many beautiful places that our nation has to offer. A graduate from the Outdoor Adventure Leadership programme at Laurentian University, Carson also has ramped up quite the impressive resume holding certifications in many outdoor disciplines including swift water rescue, moving water canoeing, sea kayaking, snowboarding, and wilderness first aid. Carson also thoroughly enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking, and winter camping. When Carson is not at home working for White Squall, you will never know where to find him. He could be anywhere in the world; which has most recently included visiting Jordan and hiking around in the beautiful Himalayan region of India. When spring returns to the Bay however, you will most surely find him once again paddling along the beautiful shores of the Georgian Bay.
Marie-Claire grew up in Parry Sound spending her summers on the Bay and doing canoe trips with her family. She loves running, hiking, skiing, camping and anything else in the outdoors. Naturally, when she started working at White Squall in 2011 as a junior apprentice, she loved it. She now has her Wilderness First Aid, Bronze Medallion, Level 3 skills and Advanced Flatwater SUP instructor certifications. Because of White Squall, she also now loves paddling and can’t wait to get out on the Bay each summer.
Claire joined the with the Squall in 2017. An avid (and accomplished!) paddler, she learned to kayak on the Ottawa river in the summer of 2012. She has paddled many Ontario rivers since. In 2015, Claire competed at the world championships for freestyle kayaking on the Ottawa river. Claire is currently studying physics at the University of Waterloo. During the winter, she spends her time cross country skiing and is looking forward to returning to kayaking in the summer.
Emily joined White Squall in the summer of 2013. Since then, she’s learned a whole lot about kayaks! Before kayaking took over her life, she had a peaceful upbringing on Georgian Bay, camping and exploring. Her time with White Squall has helped her discover her love for kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. When she has free time from her studies as a nurse at the University of Ottawa, she fills her winters with cross-country skiing and in the summer you’ll find her somewhere on the water – whether in a kayak, on a SUP or surfing some waves in a white water boat on the mighty Ottawa River. Emily has her wilderness first aid, level 2 sea kayak skills, level one sea kayak instructor, flat water SUP instructor and Red Cross swim instructor levels. She can more than merely teach you – she can save you with her lifeguard certifications!
Grace joined White Squall in 2009 as a junior apprentice. She was born in Parry Sound and grew up on the shores of Maple Lake thriving on all the sports the area had to offer: from hockey to ball hockey, cross country-skiing to cross-country running, from figure skating to soccer. Grace went on her first canoe trip at 5 months of age and has never looked back, earning her Bronze Cross and Wilderness First Aid, paddling on the lakes and the Bay, and practicing hard to perfect her kayak roll. With Grace’s organization, enthusiasm and love of working with people, she has found the perfect fit with White Squall.
Gracie joined the Squall team in the summer of 2014, enthusiastic and excited. She grew up in Parry Sound, but has roots to Wasausking First Nation. She loves Georgian Bay for the endless experiences kayaking, camping and exploring. For as long as she can remember, she’s been around the welcoming, energetic White Squall community, tripping with her family and friends and especially her Dad, who works here as well. She is a distance runner, nordic skier, paddler, adventurous, jingle dress dancer, indigenous activist, environmentalist, and leader. She is certified in WAFA (Advanced Wilderness First Aid) and is working towards her Level 2 Kayak Skills certification with Paddle Canada. As an indigenous youth growing up in Canada, she is very proud of who she is and loves to share her experiences with others!
With both parents on staff at White Squall, Hannah was destined to be a life-long Squallian. Spending every summer camping, kayaking, and canoeing, she has a natural love for the Bay and the surrounding area. After teaching kayaking at a near-by camp for 3 years, she began working for White Squall in 2015. As much as she loves the Bay and Canada, another passion of Hannah’s is travel. After having backpacked through New Zealand and Australia and biking from France to Portugal, she is excited to explore as much of the world as possible. When she is not on the Bay or traveling she is studying Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and skiing on the nordic ski team.
Jake joined the White Squall family in the summer of 2017. Having devoted much of his time since childhood to the outdoors, he is an accomplished paddler and outdoorsman. Jake has experience guiding on Georgian Bay as well as in Killarney Park, Algonquin Park, Temagami as well as many rivers in Ontario. His paddling has taken him to many other provinces and across every country in North America. He has worked not only as a guide but as a canoe and kayaking instructor and as a wilderness survival instructor.
Jocey is an active energetic youth who joined White Squall in 2013. She grew up in Parry Sound and is hooked on paddling and camping. Watch out, because she’ll probably get you hooked, too! Jocey is studying to be an athletic therapist.She has achieved her WAFA, Level 2 kayaking Skills and Level 1 Kayak Instructor.
Jordan started paddling with White Squall as a youth participant and began as as Squall staff in 2011. He has his Level 3 Skills, Level 1 Instructor, and is an Advanced Instructor in Flatwater/Whitewater SUP. He is currently studying Geography at Laurentian University in Sudbury and is the coordinator of the school’s Campus Emergency Response Team. Jordan loves to paddle and teach and tries to get out as much as he can.
Kate joined White Squall in 2013 as a stellar junior apprentice. From Parry Sound, Kate has enjoyed spending time on Georgian Bay, camping, boating or swimming. Her first kayak trip was in grade 9 with the school’s Out Trip club, and since then it has become a hobby that she cannot get enough of! Kate loves being outdoors in any way possible and can’t help but share that passion with others. Kate has her Paddle Canada Level 2 Skills, Wilderness Advanced First Aid, Intro to Sea Kayak instructor, SUP instructor, and NLS certifications.
Keith started out at White Squall in 2011 after a childhood canoeing, kayaking, and enjoying the outdoors. Keith splits his time in the summers between White Squall and the Canadian Coast Guard, where he works in search and rescue with the IRB program. During the winter months he attends Carleton University in Ottawa, where he studies environmental science and is the president of the school’s whitewater kayaking club. Keith is a SUP and kayak instructor, and is certified in advanced first aid and Paddle Canada Level 3 kayak skills.
Kyle joined White Squall in the summer of 2014. Kyle grew up on the shores of Georgian Bay in Wiarton and loves any adventure in the outdoors. He is a graduate of the Outdoor Adventure program at Algonquin College where he fell in love with sea kayaking during a 10 day expedition on Georgian Bay. Kyle began teaching and leading kayak and canoe trips at a summer camp for four summers before joining White Squall. He has certifications in level 3 sea kayak skills, level 1 instructor, advanced SUP instructor, and wilderness first responder. While not eating or paddling, Kyle enjoys mountain biking, skiing, and trying to brew the perfect cup of coffee.
Sarah grew up in Parry Sound and has been enjoying Georgian Bay her whole life. She started camping and canoeing when she was pretty young, but got into kayaking through kids’ programs at White Squall. She’s always looking to try new things and loves being outside and exploring new places. She started working at White Squall in 2009 and every year loves getting out and paddling more and more. She is certified in Wilderness First Responder, Level 1 instructor and Level 3 Skills for sea kayaking, as well as SUP instructor.
Sasha joined White Squall in the summer of 2013 as an enthusiastic Junior apprentice. Her summers revolve around Georgian Bay, whether it’s paddling, swimming or sailing. She enjoys camping on the islands and has done annual summer kayak trips since she was young. Sasha has obtained Paddle Canada Level 2 Kayak skills, Intro to instructor, Wilderness Advanced First Aid and is a NLS certified lifeguard. She loves to participate in the local high schools out trip camping programs. Sasha is a strong paddler and quick learner and this makes her an excellent addition to the guiding team. Beyond the Squall, she is an avid cross country skier, and runner.
Other Summer Timers include:
Doug is a professional engineer and documentary photographer based out of Mississauga, Ontario. Originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario – and trained as an ocean engineer – he has been in, on and especially under the water for most of his life. For over 30 years, he has worked in the commercial diving industry as a diver, as an engineer, and manager /partner of one of the largest commercial diving companies in Canada. He took a paddle trip with White Squall many years ago for a vacation break – and now comes back as a resource person to paddle, teach and shoot photos with Thom Morrissey and the folks on the paddle/photo trips. As a professional documentary photographer specializing in adventure, outdoor lifestyle and expedition photography, his images have appeared in National Geographic , Popular Science and numerous national papers and magazines. His photo assignments for the NATO Special Forces underwater and commando units takes him all over the world on photo assignments from the Canadian and Norwegian high arctic to the tropics – and all sorts of places in between.
As far as his “disposition” …well, let’s just say his sense of humour – which he just can’t seem to suppress (especially when Thom is around!) – seems to keep him continually “in trouble”. You can view more photos at Doug’s Photography Site.
Gerard has been part of White Squall for a very long time. A serendipitous collaboration – we taught him a bit about kayaking – he continues to teach us a lifetime of things about the natural world. Gerard gets around – he’s been up to Devon Island in the high arctic with the International Biological Programme and has spent much of his research career working on stressed ecosystems. In semi retirement he embarked on a new career in Forensic Science as a forensic botanist. He teaches the only forensic botany in Canada. He is recognized by the Supreme Court of Ontario as an expert witness in matters to do with botany and ecology.
So where does White Squall fit in? Well sir… Gerard is also our resident ecologist, guide, storyteller, and all-around nice guy. His ecology programs fill quickly and for good reason: he’s completely dedicated to his friends and students. With Gerard on board, you’ll get the best information and energy one could ever ask for in interpreting the world.
Thom sees life as a series of photographs. He’s constantly looking at light, angles, lines, texture and the list goes on. Composition becomes a way of life. He’s been playing with cameras for 35 years and I still loves it. Now that he’s retired and can spend more time pursuing his passion, he’s a happy man! Being outside and photographing almost anything gives focus to his life (pun intended). Learning a craft like photography is more than the technical elements, it requires vision and a love of learning. He enjoys the interaction and multiple facets of photographing people in their many environments, trying to make photographs that will be treasured for years to come. You can check out his work at thommorrissey.smugmug.com.
Theresa Gregory has been practising and studying yoga for over twenty years. She holds a Professional (Advanced) Teacher Training certification from the Kripalu Center in Massachusetts. She has lived on and managed a retreat centre in the Parry Sound area for over ten years. YogAloft Wellness Retreat offers weekly yoga classes, specialized health-related workshops, nature experiences, aromatherapy massage, Master Reiki, and laser treatments. The name “Kripalu” translates as compassion. Attention to breath, meditation, mental quietude, as well as physical strength, flexibility, and balance make Kripalu yoga a perfect partner to kayaking and activities in nature. Theresa has had the pleasure of offering yoga instruction on the White Squall Yoga & Paddling trip for many years. For more information on Theresa Gregory or YogAloft Wellness Retreat visit www.yogaloftwellness.com.
White Squall is blessed to have a large, and ever growing ‘family’ who come back every year to help out when needed or to guide a course on their holidays.
Thanks so much to: