We’re lucky to have talented teams at our offices in Toronto, Burgundy, Tuscany and Brazil. We also have Regional Experts conducting research on six continents, and ridiculously well-travelled Trip Designers and Travel Advisors. And then there are the Guides. The heart and soul of B&R, they understand extraordinary travel experiences—and what you have to do to make them happen.
Meet The Founders
The summer of 1966 was quickly approaching, and recent graduate George Butterfield wasn’t keen on starting his professional life quite yet. With fond memories of the charms of Europe in his head, George, together with his wife Martha, and her brother, Sidney Robinson (both of whom shared a reluctance to rush into adult life) organized a student biking trip in Europe. Their idea was to spend each day biking to places they’d discovered on earlier travels, chat up locals, then go out for a great dinner and a bottle of wine. “It was a lark for the summer,” recalls Martha. It must have been an exceptionally fun lark, because today Butterfield & Robinson offers hundreds of exhilarating itineraries all over the world.
“We travel in style and comfort. I guess we’re known for that. But for me, it’s always been about the journey.” —George Butterfield
George Butterfield, Founder
Since its humble beginnings on that first student trip, Butterfield & Robinson has evolved into the world’s premier luxury active travel company. Still at it after all these years, George continues to serve as B&R’s spiritual leader, resident travel sage, voyageur extraordinaire, and CEO of all things slow. Always on the hunt for new and interesting places to explore, his favourite trip is always the one he’s taking next.
Norman Howe, President & CEO
Norman was originally seduced by the life of the mind while studying jurisprudence at Oxford, but after a harrowing experience practicing law and a brief dalliance with academia, he abandoned all pretenses and embarked upon a career in the pursuit of pleasure with B&R. He’s been working with us off and on ever since, following a meandering path from itinerant guide to Director of Expeditions to President. He still manages to get on the road with startling frequency, at least when not juggling the richly rewarding duties of fatherhood.
Robin Wark | Director, Human Resources
This Francophile’s love of travel was first sparked while studying history and translation in rural Quebec and France. Since then, Robin has covered all corners of the globe, from Scotland to Africa and every nook and cranny of North America. She’s a pro when it comes to the great Canadian road trip—ask about crossing the country five times by van with her band!
Paul Christopher | Chief Financial Officer
This is a man of food, music and nature. Paul is always on a quest for his next great meal—preferably authentic, hard-to-find dishes that have some heat. In him, you’ll always find a conversation on Toronto’s thriving restaurant scene. His idea of a musical education for his daughters was more Van Halen and Gordon Lightfoot than practicing scales. An avid outdoorsman, he is happier on the lake than on his computer.
Trish Kaliciak | Director, Marketing
Having established a passion for design and communications strategy from her time spent working at brand agencies and publishing houses, Trish came to B&R knowing the power of exceptional storytelling. And in B&R she has found a wellspring of tales that have been showcased in B&R’s award-winning marketing. If you want to know who is behind the beautiful website and brochures, look no further.
Geoff Sandquist | Director, European Operations
First employed by B&R in 1987, Geoff worked his way up through the ranks after he made the leap, planting his Canadian roots into French soil. Now, as Director of European Operations, he spends his time in our Beaune office making sure things flow perfectly from start to finish on trip. Geoff is also known as B&R’s resident wine expert (with a particular love for French varietals)—a hard job, we know, but someone has to do it!
Brad Crockett | Director, Expeditions
At 17, Brad’s travel bug (no doubt instilled by his grandmother who travelled the world as a missionary) sent him to visit every nook and cranny of Europe: Portugal, Hungary, Romania, Turkey…the list goes on! As B&R’s Director of Expedition trips, Brad keeps his finger on the pulse of the world while planning amazing experiences in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America.
Jonathan Lansdell | Director, The Americas
John has always been creative when it comes to travel itineraries. When he won a travel grant at the age of 16 to research the wines of the Medoc region, he spent a month hitchhiking throughout France with a friend. These days he researches trips in North and Central America. The latest stamp on his passport? Bermuda, where he had the hardship of experiencing the America’s Cup sailing competition.
Kathy Stewart | Director, France & Western Europe
With parents in the Foreign Service, travel has been a fundamental part of Kathy’s life from the start—by age 18, she’d already been to more than 30 countries. Since joining B&R in 1994 Kathy has sold, designed and guided trips all over the world. Nowadays, she channels her abundant energy and expertise into overseeing the design of trips throughout France & Western Europe for B&R.
Chris Mark | Director, Italy, Central & Eastern Europe
Chris has been part of the B&R family since the days of student biking, and in 1989 he completed the gruelling one-day ride from Paris to London. A little less crazy after all these years, Chris now limits his single-day rides to a daily commute to our beloved Toronto office, where he oversees the planning of all of our trips in Italy and Central & Eastern Europe.
Simon Elliott | Director, Industry Partners
Simon loves riding his bike anywhere in the world and as B&R’s Director of Industry Partners, he spreads the B&R gospel to our friends in the travel industry. Starting at B&R in 2008, Simon has held a number of roles in the company, including some of his favourite titles: office party Santa, ping-pong tournament champion, and leader of the B&R rock band. (Yes, we have one!)
Yannick Pichler | Director, Business Development
Yannick is a Swiss-born Canadian, making him exceptionally neutral. He lived in the mountains of Western Canada for four years using engineering work as an excuse to ski, golf, bike and hike. He continues to spend as much time in the outdoors as possible and is willing to give pretty much any activity a chance. Yannick is a sports fanatic but came by it honestly: his Dad was an Olympic bobsledder. Feel free to chat to him about any player on any team in any sport…except the Boston Bruins. Don’t talk to him about the Bruins.
Lyle Wood | Director, IT
Lyle is what some would call a “natural-born geek”. He has always loved buttons and levers and started disassembling toys to make them more interesting with his Dad’s tools in the garage when he was four. At five, his parents got their first computer and by the time he was seven, his Dad handed him a programming manual to keep him busy. When he’s not working on tech-related projects he enjoys hiking, swimming, and Krav Maga.