Les Stroud, the popular adventurer who pits himself against nature on Survivorman, was born on October 20,1962, in Mimico, Ontario. After receiving a diploma from Mimico High in 1980, Stroud attended Fanshawe College and completed their Music Industry Arts program.
This led Les Stroud to work in the music industry for a few years. Stroud was employed by MuchMusic as an associate producer. He also served as assistant director of music videos for many well-known artists. Stroud then spent some time playing lead guitar in a band called New Regime.
A single canoe trip created a desire for more. Stroud took a job with Black Feather Wilderness Adventures. This gave him the opportunity to help others enjoy the beauty of northern Ontario as he guided their canoe course.
While working as a guide, Les Stroud became intrigued with a photographer named Sue Jamison. They proved to be a great team and wed in 1994. The wedding had an appropriate setting. The couple said their vows on a dogsled next to a small pond. Stroud and his new bride took great care to document their honeymoon, a year long adventure in the wilds of Wabakimi, Ontario.
Taking only a supply of basic food sources, the Strouds managed to live in the area around Goldsborough Lake for twelve months. During that period, they only left the area two times to take care of emergency situations. Without modern tools, they managed to build a cabin and to feed themselves by hunting and trapping.
They used the materials from their honeymoon adventure to produce a documentary, Snowshoes and Solitude. The documentary was highly praised. The Strouds’ work even received a Best Documentary Award at the Muskoka Film Festival. The Waterwalker Film Festival also gave it the honor of Best Film.
The Strouds then settled in Yellowknife, part of the Northwest Territories. Les Stroud signed on to work with individuals with special needs who were native to the area. He worked with Gino Ferri and David Arama, a couple of survivalist experts. He later added to this experience by training with Prairie Wolf.
After honing his survival skills to perfection, Les and Sue moved to Huntsville, Ontario. This is where the Strouds’ dream began. They started a company called Wilderness Voice and a began a sister media company which they dubbed Wilderness Spirit Productions.
Les Stroud developed a keen interest in the new Survivor television series. He felt that more realism would add to the program and presented his vision to The Discovery Channel Canada. The executives were interested enough in Stroud’s idea to allow him to produce two specials. The first show was called One Week in the Wilderness. Winter in the Wilderness followed quickly, and both programs were highly successful.
This led to the Les Stroud’s next project. The science news show @ discovery.ca asked Stroud to produce a couple of specials in 2001. He completed the project using the same programming design as Survivorman. This involved Stroud taping his own trials and tribulations as he pitted himself against the perils of nature.
When these two pilots aired, the public had found a new hero and were fascinated with Les Stroud. In 2004, Stroud was asked to work with Dave Brady, a producer from the Discovery Channel in the United States. Working together, they created nine episodes of Survivorman. The show was so successful that a second season was produced and began airing on the U.S. Discovery Channel on August 10, 2007.
Although busy with film work, Les Stroud has never lost his love for music and continues to work in the industry. He has even managed to turn out a CD which features him playing the harmonica. The self-titled album is a selection of acoustical blues and folk songs, reflecting the true free spirit of its creator. In New Liskeard, Ontario, at the Spirit of the North Music Festival, Stroud received both the “Best Blues Act” award and the “Best Overall” label. He has also joined with The Northern Pikes to create a cd .
Les and Sue Stroud currently have two children. Their daughter Raylan is eleven, and their son Logan is nine. The entire family has been involved in Stroud’s unusual lifestyle.
Les Stroud sees his television program as an opportunity to teach while entertaining. He encourages his viewers to show respect for the environment and to maintain control in dangerous situations. Conservation, to Les Stroud, is everyone’s responsibility. Survivorman is his venue for getting these points across to the public.