Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

FAIRBAIRN, John Morrice Roger , b. 30 June 1873, Peterborough, Ont.; d. 27 May 1954, Westmount, Que. Upon graduation in 1893 from the School of Practical Science (CE), the University of Toronto, he began his career with the Department of the Interior as principal assistant to Dominion topographical surveyor Fred W. Wilkins in Alberta. After holding a number of government positions, in 1897, he moved to B.C. to work as principal assistant to Charles. A. Stoess on mining claim and land surveys in the Slocan District. He continued in this capacity while serving as City Engineer of Kaslo, B.C. when, in 1898, he entered private practice as a civil and mining engineer and provincial land surveyor in Kaslo and Greenwood, B.C. In 1900 he joined the Canadian Pacific Railway, becoming chief engineer in 1918, until his retirement on 1 Jan. 1939. Overseeing the construction of nearly 10 000 miles of railway during this period was his main engineering contribution. He served as Director of Works and Buildings for the Department of National Defence, Ottawa during the Second World War. A member of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Great Britain and the American Society of Civil Engineers, he also served as councillor and vice president of the Engineering Institute of Canada, and as president in 1921. In the same year, he was awarded an honorary D.Sc. from the University of Toronto and in 1945 he won the EIC's Sir John Kennedy Medal. Residing in Westmount, an avid golfer, he was a member of the Royal Montreal Golf Club. A Presbyterian, he married Hannah Louise Macfarlane in 1898, having one son and three daughters.

J. Burns