Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

BAILLAIRGÉ, George-Frédéric-Théophile, b. 16 Oct. 1824, Quebec, Lower Canada; d. 7 Dec. 1909, Joliette, Que. Brother of architect Charles Baillairgé, George-Frédéric-Théophile Baillairgé was educated privately, and at the Petit Séminaire de Québec, and worked for a year in a law firm, beginning his engineering career in 1844 as assistant draughtsman with the Board of Works, Province of Canada. He was commissioned a provincial land surveyor in 1847. Fluently bilingual, he prepared reports and worked on a wide range of public works, including timber slides, roads and canals, such as the Junction and Williamsburgh (1856), and the ordinance canals in 1857 at Cascades, Split Rock, Cedars and Coteau-du-Lac, while conducting a limited private surveying practice. In 1871, he was promoted to assistant chief engineer, Department of Public Works. He surveyed the proposed Baie Verte canal across the Chignecto Isthmus (1871-72), and surveyed canal expansions, particularly the Lachine Canal. From 1863 to 1878, he was also superintending engineer of the Trent River Canals, and occupied the same position from 1877 to 1879 on the Ottawa, Rideau and St. Lawrence canals. In Oct. 1879, he was promoted to deputy minister of Public Works. For more than a decade, as Dana Johnson writes, he supervised the department's "transition from a ministry primarily concerned with major transportation projects to one focused on the development of public buildings...the provision of telegraph services...and the management of waterways other than canals." He retired at the end of 1890. A member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, he served on its council in 1889. He wrote several books, published in French and English on history, geography, biography and religion. He was married three times and had 12 children.

Brian D. Rosati