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(2016 - Fall Issue)


Global National TV anchor and executive editor Dawna Friesen learned at a young age about hard work and the world around her while helping out on the family farm near Winnipeg, Manitoba. Although she has travelled the world extensively during her successful career, travel during her younger years involved poring over the colourful pages and stories in National Geographic and reading the newspaper with her parents. “We were always exploring the world, intellectually at least, and I grew up thinking I’d like to visit some of these places.”

Some locations included war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan or tragic events such as train bombings in Madrid in 2004 or the theatre siege by Chechen rebels in 2002. Others were more positive events like the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and Barack Obama’s election.

Friesen began her newspaper career in 1985 in Portage la Prairie and graduated to bigger towns and cities working for various TV stations and networks including a long reporting stint with NBC News as their foreign correspondent and anchor in London, England. In 2010, Friesen returned to Canada to take on her current position in Vancouver.   

Travel to the world’s most remote and dangerous spots has been a major part of her career but now she enjoys travelling with her 11-year-old son Lucas on holidays. They have enjoyed many trips together—Lucas became an Aeroplan Elite member at age five! For work or pleasure, exploring the world continues to be both a passion and a curiosity for Friesen.


Q: What was your first time as a TV anchor like?

I was asked to fill in one day for the anchor who was sick. I did an absolutely awful job! I didn’t know what I was doing; it was horrible. 

Q: Were you ever scared when reporting from dangerous war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan?

If I were going to be scared, I probably wouldn’t have done it. We are trained to mitigate risks and be cautious, smart and not take stupid risks. Of course, there are certain situations when you’re scared but I loved it. I went to places where I witnessed history.

Q: What is one of your most memorable travel experiences?

There are quite a few. When I was with NBC, I visited Svalbard, an archipelago off Norway, 600 miles from the North Pole, to report on the Global Seed Bank. It’s built into the permafrost on a mountain and houses and protects seeds from around the world in the event of a man-made or natural catastrophe.

Q: Are you active or a beach lover on vacation?

A combination of those. If I travel with my son, we do things like zip lining and whitewater rafting. However, I just went to Paris for a week without him and loved touring museums, just walking around and going to cafés. 

Q: What’s your favourite destination?

Newfoundland is a particular favourite. I went there for the first time 15 years ago and I just felt at home. It’s rugged; people are so friendly and there’s great hiking. Newfoundland is so peaceful, homey and comfortable—like a warm comfy blanket.

Q: Do you have a dream destination?

Africa. I’ve been to Egypt and Morocco but never farther south. I have this thing about wanting to go to Timbuktu, Madagascar and Zanzibar. 

Q: What are you most passionate about?

I’m passionate about what I do—journalism—and constantly want to learn about everything. I always feel an intense curiosity and interest in the world. I’m also passionate about my family and friends and keeping those connections.

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