When Ken Whiting left the world of international kayaking competition as a world champion, he didn’t slow down. He still shoots the rapids, but instead of a paddle, he’s armed with a video camera.
From their base in Beachburg – the heart of the Ottawa Valley’s Whitewater Region – Whiting and his team at Heliconia produce high-end outdoor adventure travel video series. In a typical year, they’ll travel to dozens of countries to showcase the stories behind the world’s top paddling, hiking, mountain biking and fishing destinations.
In a unique business twist, Heliconia will then typically give its content away for free to major streaming and television networks such as Fox Sports, Outside TV and Sportsman Channel in exchange for guaranteed distribution. It finances its productions through partnerships and sponsorships with brands and tourism marketing boards.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year was an “immediate kick in the butt” as tourism marketing dollars dried up and limited the international destinations that crews could film in. But Heliconia quickly pivoted by finding new sources of funding from brand sponsorships and taking a closer look at the adventure travel destinations in its own backyard.
“We’re going to be in a wonderful position when tourism travel comes back online,” Whiting says.
Watch the video above to hear more about Heliconia’s story and why the company’s founders chose to base itself in Beachburg.