The South Nahanni River is widely recognized as the Holy Grail of Canada’s wild rivers. Paddlers, hikers and nature lovers all dream of experiencing first-hand the wonders of this fabled river in a national park in the Northwest Territories. But how did it earn such a reputation? In the concluding installment of a series that began with his account of a recent canoe trip through the Nahanni’s famous canyons, Peter Shawn Taylor charts the creation and evolution of the river’s aura as a remote place filled with mystery and adventure. From native myths to early 20th century hysteria about headless prospectors to its stature today as a premier bucket-list item, the Nahanni has carved out a permanent place in our national consciousness. It may be Canada’s greatest brand. Here’s how it happened. Part I can be read here.