Skip to main content
Home Story Khoan Pham’s spectacular journey

Khoan Pham’s spectacular journey

The Northwest Territories is rich with epic and unexpected adventure. So are the backgrounds of the expert guides that lead travellers through this vast land.

Black Feather has offered guided tours of the NWT’s most iconic rivers for more than four decades. Here is the amazing story of Khoan Pham, one of their longtime guides:

It’s March 29, 1980. 

Thirteen-year-old Khoan Pham arrives at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, one of the thousands of boat refugees to immigrate to Canada from Vietnam. Khoan grew up in a small village on the coast of South Vietnam and as conditions had deteriorated following the Vietnamese war, his family paid the requisite bribes so he could escape for a better life.
Khoan left his hometown in a 10-metre-long boat, which sailed for almost a week before landing in Malaysia. From the refugee camp in Malaysia, Fred Loosemore and I sponsored him through a Government of Ontario program to bring unattached minors to Canada. When Fred and I picked Khoan up at the airport, he spoke no English and had no possessions. We travelled home to Camp Kandalore, in central Ontario, stopping en route to buy snow boots, a warm jacket and to eat chicken dinner. It was Khoan’s first time using a knife and fork. 

We got home in near dark and, since the camp road was unplowed, we had to walk one kilometre up a hill and over the snow to our cabin in the woods. 

This was the start of a remarkable journey for Khoan. Since then, he has graduated from high school and university, worked at Trailhead outdoor store, become an accomplished paddler and cross-country skier, guided many Black Feather trips, married, and become father to two daughters.

Khoan adapted quickly to his new country. He has guided groups on the NWT’s Nahanni, Mountain and Coppermine rivers. He spent his honeymoon on the Mountain River. He is an excellent outdoor chef: his nickname in the kitchen is ‘Wok with Khoan.’ His eldest daughter, Hannah Pham, is currently guiding for Black Feather—sometimes with her dad. Hannah was one of the guides of Yellowknife’s Sir John Franklin High School’s Outdoor Excursion on the Nahanni River in 2019. Khoan’s youngest, Margaret, is at UBC and training with the Canadian women’s field hockey team. 

Congratulations on so many wonderful accomplishments. We love you.

 

Wendy Grater,

Owner of Black Feather

 

Check out all Black Feather has to offer here.

Simpson Air (and its predecessor) is the oldest continuously-operated flying service in the Mackenzie Valley, established in the early 1960s.......

At Nahanni River Adventures we outfit and guide canoe and raft trips on Canada’s renowned South Nahanni River and a select......

Book an adventure with us at Trail Blazer Tours for an unforgettable experience! Your adventure with us will create lasting......

Yellow Dog Lodge is a comfortable lodge with 3 private cabins for our guests. The lodge is a short (15 minute) floatplane ride from Yellowknife. Located on Duncan and Graham Lakes, the lodge is your hub for adventure. Choose from an additional 5 lakes for guided day trip excursions. Each lake is unique and offers unspoiled first class fishing. We are the only lodge that operates guided trips on each of these remote lakes located in the NWT taiga wilderness. Packaged trips feature superb sport fishing and safe outdoor adventure. The lakes and streams offer the finest Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Walleye and Arctic Grayling in the region. As an added bonus, our guests will enjoy the midnight sun and may even catch the northern lights later in the fall or early spring....

Kasba Lake Lodge is famous for providing guests access to incredible triple trophy fishing. Huge Lake Trout, ferocious Northern Pike......

Create your own story. We offer a variety of services to make your Sahtu adventure a reality! We offer everything from......

With Bluefish Outfitting you’ll get an unforgettable trip of a lifetime. Bluefish Outfitting offers personalized, guided fishing trips and boat tours on......

Remote private wilderness paradise on Little Doctor Lake, 100 km west of Fort Simpson. Accommodates 20 in cabins. Fishing, swimming,......

Canoe North, located in Hay River, Northwest Territories offers kayak and canoe rentals and sales. We can set you up for a......

Authentic Arctic Experiences Tundra North Tours is an Inuit company based in Inuvik, Northwest Territories that was established with the dream of being......

100% Indigenous owned!  We are the world’s first Aurora Hunting tour company, we know Aurora. Learn about Aurora, why Yellowknife is the......

Your Dene Connection in Yellowknife. B. Dene Adventures is a Traditional Dene Culture Camp business which teaches the Dene way......

Northern and Remote Wilderness Adventures Ltd. (NARWAL) is a small, friendly, majority Aboriginal owned and operated family business. Our reputation......

Come experience world-class Aurora Borealis viewing in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. We are the only guides in the Northwest Territories......

2 Seasons Adventures is a family-owned company. Our professional guides boast a lifetime of experience enjoying the unique lifestyle of......

Great Slave Lake Tours offers winter and summer trips on Great Slave Lake, the ninth biggest lake in the world......

Pehdzeh Ki First Nation is located in the community of Wrigley, Northwest Territories, Canada. We are a Designated Authority in......

To truly experience the Northwest Territories, take your camping gear for a highway driving adventure! Long ribbons of road without......

Born & raised in Inuvik, Northwest Territories our experienced lead guide Jimmy Kalinek is ready to help you discover the......

Specializing in polar bear and muskox hunts for up to four people from traditional camp near Tuktoyaktuk. Also providing scenic......

An Arctic Barrenlands trophy fishing adventure for the serious sportsman. Located on Lynx Lake (420 km east of Yellowknife) Lynx......

Call us about our exciting year-round packages and experience the best of the Dehcho region and Denendeh....

Boat tours of the Mackenzie River Delta from Inuvik to Aklavik, Red Mountain and Husky Channel. Contact us for more......

We offer: Nature and wildlife viewing Snowmobile tours Fishing tours Boat tours Polar bear and muskox hunts. Contact us for......

Family owned and operated tour company specializing in Arctic expedition cruising....