Jillian Brown's passion for the water, nature and the wild began at a young age growing up experiencing three seasons each year at her family’s cabin on an island in Northwestern Ontario. Each day spent exploring on and in the water, from rowboats to canoes to kayaks to speedboats to paddleboards, wakeboards and other nautical activities. At age 12, she found another love, photography, and began combining her new love with her outdoor activities. She quickly built a passion to show the incredible creatures and beautiful wilderness she was discovering while in the marshes and woods nearby.
After studying Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba and receiving her diploma in Photography from Prairieview School of Photography, the west beckoned. So, she loaded up her Jeep, two kayaks and her gear to head for the mountains. After settling in Squamish, she began working as a photographer for a reputable snowmobile and dogsledding outfit discovering the mountain backwoods. She soon grew passionate for new sports and activities suited to her new mountain lifestyle.
A few years later, she teamed up to start a new dogsledding business in Golden. Rescuing 16 sled dogs from across Canada to create a new team, exposing others to her passion for the outdoors and culture. Now a shit; after reflecting on her life and her safety, she left Golden and an abusive relationship returning to Squamish to reconnect with her passion for photography, adventure and the wilderness. Along the way learning of her diagnosis with PTSD. Which became a passion to connect with others who were in need of support and motivation. Finding healing back in her favourite places, the wilds with a camera in hand. Learning that sharing what she was going through and experiencing, was the greatest healing power of all.
In the two years since returning to Squamish, she has experienced and accomplished more than in her entire previous life. Living in a tent for 7 months; traveling from coast to coast on her own, kayaking in every province both oceans, all five great lakes, and numerous rivers, camping in lonely campsites and meeting amazing strangers; Paddling the Johnstone Strait with Killer whales, sea lions, and numerous other marine wildlife; partnering up to be the World first to take a tandem sea kayak down the Grand Canyon; Paddling the Noatak river in Alaska; Summiting mountains in the Yukon; hiking notorious routes with pack rafts for alpine lake and river crossings; pack rafting class 3-5 rivers and this past year becoming the First Canadian to paddle a route across America; publications for her images and her writing including magazines such as Sidetracked Magazine, Canadian Geographic,Canoe Kayak magazine, Paddling Magazine, Canadian Women’s Foundation, Explore Magazine; interviews with The Winnipeg Free press, The Squamish Chief, CBC Radio, and Mountain FM (to name a few). Having been a keep speaker sharing motivation and passion for Ocean River sports, Arc'teryx, and University of Manitoba Ecology department, again to name a few. She has worked with and has sponsors with the top brands; MEC, Cabela's Canada, MSR, Jetboil, Osprey, Good-to-go foods, VSSL, Canon USA, and much more.
With her passion and determination only growing with each wild step she takes, the journey and goals for Jill are no-doubt going to push all boundaries to connect the outside world to hers.
"I was 15 when I sat atop the loose cliffs of mineral deposit and looked down upon the family of mountain goat, prancing and licking their way up the steep face. To then sit in amongst the flowering clovers and graze with the big horned sheep. The river winding below the looming mountains, the warm sun beamed ‘ore head and as we drove down along the wetlands I gazed in awe, “I will call this place home one day.” The Columbia River I could already feel flowing within me.
Some ten years later, I learned all I could on my new home. I wanted to connect with not just the land now, but who and what it was then. I could feel myself connecting with my inner child, pretending to be along side David Thompson as I ride my dogsled on the banks of the river in winter and paddle its currents in summer.
To paddle, to explore may be my means to get away, but it is truly my way of coming home. As I travel farther and farther away from the places I grew up, I find myself coming to understand how we got there. Connecting to the land, the wild, and the people along the way helps to connect me to who I am, where I am going, and where we have been. It is too appreciate, to learn to appreciate. To then return home with that new understanding, to now share and connect the rest of the world with the past, with the wild, with who we are now and with each, that inner childhood explorer."