Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

CHALLIES, John Bow, b. 21 April 1881, Winchester, Ont.; d. 30 March, 1969, Montreal. Educated at Woodstock Collegiate and the School of Practical Science, University of Toronto (1903), he joined the Topographical Surveys of Canada as an engineering clerk, and, six years later was appointed technical assistant to R. E. Young, Canada’s chief geographer, Department of the Interior, assuming authority over the department’s water power work upon Young’s death. Challies was one of Canada’s representatives at the 1915 International Engineering Congress in San Francisco, and, after a series of promotions beginning in 1918, was appointed director of Water Power and Reclamation in 1923, responsible for the Dominion government’s irrigation and drainage work. A year later, he represented Canada at the World Water Power Conference in London. He was a consulting engineer to the Department of External Affairs on international waterways, and sat on the Dominion Power Board, and the Lake of the Woods Control Board. In 1916, he was secretary of the Honorary Advisory Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (later the National Research Council). In 1924, he moved to the private sector, becoming public relations manager for the Shawinigan Water & Power Company, Montreal. He was successively assistant general manager (1937), vice president (1941) and senior vice president in 1952, a year before his retirement. A member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, he was vice president, and president of the Engineering Institute of Canada in 1924 and 1937 respectively. He was also a founding member of the Professional Institute of the Civil Service of Canada, and one of the founders of the Town Planning Institute. He received a D.Eng. from the University of Toronto (1938), an LL.D. from McMaster University (1951), and the EIC’s Julian Smith Medal in 1947. He was a chairman of the board of the United Theological College, Montreal , and was a member of the United Church of Canada and the St. James Club, Montreal. An important figure in hydro electric development, Challies was recognized internationally as an authority on water power and conservation.

Patrick Copeland