Les Stroud

Les Stroud (Born October 20, 1962 in Mimico, Ontario[][]) is a Canadian musician, film maker, and survival enthusiast best known as the host of the television program Survivorman. After a short career behind the scenes in the music industry, Stroud became a full-time wilderness guide, survival instructor and musician based in Huntsville, Ontario. Stroud has produced survival-themed programming for The Outdoor Life Network, The Discovery Channel, and The Science Channel.

Biography

After graduating from Mimico High School in 1980,[1] Stroud went on to complete the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.[2] Stroud worked for several years at the Toronto-based music video channel MuchMusic, and as a songwriter for his band New Regime before a Temagami canoe trip sparked a career change.[0] In 1987 Stroud became a guide for Black Feather Wilderness Adventures leading canoe excursions into the northern Ontario wilds. It was during this time on a survival course he met his wife, photographer Sue Jamison.[0] They married in 1994 and together left for a year-long honeymoon in the remote Wabakimi area of Ontario which was to become the basis of the documentary Snowshoes and Solitude. Afterwards, the couple moved to Yellowknife in the North West Territories where Stroud was employed as an outdoor instructor to special needs individuals of aboriginal descent.[0] Stroud and Jamison then settled in Huntsville, Ontario, and started the outdoor instructional outfit Wilderness Voice and the media company Wilderness Spirit Productions.[2] Inspired by the popularity of the television show Survivor, Stroud pitched a more authentic version of the show to The Discovery Channel Canada. Stroud produced two programs titled One Week in the Wilderness and Winter in the Wilderness for @discovery.ca in 2001.[3] The success of these specials led to the development of his current show Survivorman which follows a similar format, leaving Stroud on his own, with minimal equipment, in the wilderness to film his survival experience.

Stroud has extensive experience with survival and primitive living skills initially training with experts Gino Ferri and David Arama.[4][5] He went on to study with many others including at Prairie Wolf.[6]

Stroud has been an active participant in adventure racing and has competed at the Canadian championships.[4]

Film, television, and radio

Enlarge picture
Les Stroud's documentary on primitive living
After his marriage to Sue Jamison in 1994, the two of them spent one year living in the Canadian wilderness living a paleolithic existence. They traveled to Goldsborough Lake () deep in the Wabakimi and built a cabin with no metal, plastic, or otherwise manufactured tools. They took a store of traditional foods and attempted to supplement it by hunting and trapping. Family and medical emergencies brought them out of the bush on two occasions. Their primitive living experience was filmed by Stroud and released as the 50 minute documentary, Snowshoes and Solitude, which was named Best Documentary at the Muskoka Film Festival and Best Film at the Waterwalker Film Festival.[7]

In 2001 Stroud produced two one-hour specials for the science news show @discovery.ca. These segments follow the same format as Survivorman with Stroud filming his own survival in the wilderness. They were originally broadcast as daily segments over the course of one week but were repackaged as two one-hour specials titled Stranded.[0]

The popularity of these pilots spawned the show Survivorman. Stroud teamed up with producer Dave Brady to produce 9 episodes of the show which began airing in 2004.[0] Stroud has completed filming the second season of Survivorman, which had its debut August 10th, 2007 on the Discovery Channel in the US.[8]

In 2006, Stroud produced a 90-minute special documenting his family's journey to building an off-the-grid home. The show, Off the Grid with Les Stroud, chronicled the process of buying property and refitting an old farm house with solar and wind power, a raincatcher and well, as well as the adjustments the Stroud family had to make to adapt to this style of living.[0]

Stroud has also hosted the TV program Surviving Urban Disasters, which aired on the Science Channel and the 20th annual Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.[9]

Music

In addition to film making and wilderness survival, Les Stroud has also worked in the music industry as a professional musician. After graduation, Stroud worked both as an associate producer for the nascent music channel MuchMusic as well as an assistant director of music videos for artists such as Rush and Corey Hart.[10] During this time Stroud also played in the David Bowie cover band Diamond Dogs and played lead guitar and composed music for his band New Regime[0] which signed with RCA Records shortly after Stroud left the band.[0][2]

Enlarge picture
Cover of Les Stroud's debut CD
As frequently illustrated in his show Survivorman, Stroud is considered an exceptional blues harmonica player.[10] This instrument is featured prominently in his self-titled debut CD which has been described as "a collection of diverse roots/blues and traditional folk, acoustic music that reflects the uniquely northern spirit of freedom and adventure." Several songs off of this album can be downloaded from his official site.[10]

Stroud has performed in and around the Muskoka area and at the Orillia Blues Festival and Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival. Stroud has also won "Best Acoustic/Folk Act", "Best Blues Act" and "Best Overall" awards at the Spirit of the North music festival in New Liskeard, Ontario.[2][10][2]

Recently, Stroud and The Northern Pikes have struck up a musical collaboration. Throughout 2005 and 2006 they performed together live several times, and collaborative album is currently being produced under the tentative name Stroud and the Pikes. An EP born from this collaboration was released in the spring of 2007 and a full CD is expected later in the year.[10][2]

References

1. ^ (1980) The Peptimist - 1979-1980. Mimico, Ontario: Mimico High School, 44. 
2. ^ Les Stroud website - Bio. Retrieved on 2007-01-20.
3. ^ Winter in the Wilderness. The Discovery Channel Canada. Retrieved on 2007-01-20.
4. ^ Les Stroud FAQ. Les Stroud Official Site. Retrieved on 2007-01-20.
5. ^ Frenette, Brad. "Cooler heads prevail in the wild", Financial Post: Weekend, The National Post, 2006-11-11, pp. FW.3. 
6. ^ Walker, Thayer. "Me. By Myself. For A Long Time. (Very Long.)", Outside Magazine, July 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-25. 
7. ^ Deachman, Bruce. "`The best year of our lives': They survived a year in the bush with nothing but bows and arrows and a makeshift fishing pole. The result is an award-winning documentary coming to Ottawa this weekend, writes Bruce Deachman.", Ottawa Citizen, 2001-03-29, pp. D8. 
8. ^ News & Contents. Les Stroud official website. Retrieved on 2007-01-21.
9. ^ Huff, Richard. "Swimming with sharks", New York Daily News, 2007-07-29. Retrieved on 2007-09-25. 
10. ^ "Survivorman Les Stroud", Paddler Magazine Online, Vol. 26, Issue 5, 2006-01-31. Retrieved on 2007-01-05. 
11. ^ Les Stroud - Music. Les Stroud Official Site. Retrieved on 2007-09-16.
12. ^ "Survivorman a catch for the Northern Pikes", Entertainment, Parry Sound North Star, 2006-03-22. Retrieved on 2007-01-05. 

See also

External links

Persondata
NAMEStroud, Les
ALTERNATIVE NAMESSurvivorman
SHORT DESCRIPTIONMusician, Film-maker and Survival Expert
DATE OF BIRTHOctober 20 1962
PLACE OF BIRTHMimico, Ontario, Canada
DATE OF DEATH
PLACE OF DEATH
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