Coroner confirms bear attack killed musician near Tulita

Last modified: August 21, 2019 at 5:07pm

A man who died in a bear attack south of Tulita last week was a French-Canadian tourist crossing the territory collecting sounds, the NWT’s chief coroner has confirmed.

Julien Gauthier, 44, was a musician and sound recordist travelling the Mackenzie River to collect material for a forthcoming project, Le Parisien reported on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the NWT coroner service confirmed the identity of Gauthier as the deceased, saying he had “died as a result of multiple injuries due to bear attack.”


Gauthier – who held dual French and Canadian citizenship – was killed in the August 15 attack, the newspaper said.

His travelling companion, biologist and photographer Camille Toscani, told Le Parisien: “It was his dream to go there, to the North. He was planning it for three years and we were so happy to make it happen. He was inspired by open spaces and nature.”

Gauthier taught music history in a Paris suburb. He had been recording sounds on his trip for a future exhibition in which he planned to pair them with music from the cellist Michèle Pierre.

His partner, Laura – who did not accompany Julien on the trip – told Le Parisien: “He grew up in Canada until he was 19 with his two French parents before coming to France. His passion for nature was linked to his passion for music.

“He was very ambitious … This trip excited him so much. Unfortunately, it cost him his life.”


Gauthier is the second tourist travelling from France to suffer a fatal misadventure while adventuring in the NWT this month.

Kayaker Thomas Destailleur, who had been travelling from Alberta to the Arctic coast, died while crossing Great Slave Lake on August 7.