Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

DESBARATS, George Joseph , b. 27 Jan. 1861, Quebec City; d. 28 April 1944, Ottawa. Educated at Terrebonne College, he was graduated with honours from the École Polytechnique, Montreal (1879), and earned a B.Sc. from Laval University in 1901. Starting as a construction and design engineer under John Page, he worked on the locks at Ste. Anne and the Carillon, Soulanges, Welland and Sault Ste. Marie canals from 1879 to 1892. He was in charge of the construction of the Galops Canal (part of the Williamsburg Canal) from 1896 to 1899, and, between 1899 and 1901, conducted a hydrological survey of the St. Lawrence. In 1901, as director of the government shipyard at Sorel Que., he supervised its reconstruction, and, in 1909, was appointed deputy minister of the Department of Naval Service. Responsible for the Trans-Canada Airway Survey in 1928, he supervised the installation of navigational aids, including radio beacons from Edmonton to Herschel Island in the Yukon. He was appointed deputy minister of the Department of National Defence in 1923 and retired in 1932. A member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers since 1897, he was elected vice president in 1909 and president in 1937. He was made a CMG in 1915, received an honorary Doctor of Applied Science from the University of Montreal (1942), and the Julian C. Smith Medal from the Engineering Institute of Canada in 1943. He was a Roman Catholic, a member of the Rideau Club, president of the Canadian Club, Ottawa, and vice president of the Ottawa Red Cross.

Dmytro Bodak