Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

FRANCIS, Walter Joseph , b. 28 Jan. 1872, Toronto; d. 6 March 1924, Montreal. Educated at the Toronto Collegiate Institute, he was a School of Practical Science (University of Toronto) honour graduate in 1893. His first important work was the construction of Toronto Union Station as an assistant engineer from 1893 to 1896, before joining the Department of Railways and Canals (18981906), to design and construct the Peterborough and Kirkland lift-locks on the Trent Canal. In 1907, he supervised the construction of a large hydro-electric plant for the West Kootenay Power Co., served as chief engineer of the Dominion Engineering & Construction Co. of Montreal, and was appointed engineer to the Royal Commission on the Quebec Bridge disaster. After 1910, as a consultant, he reported on hydro-electric and steam power plants, as well as municipal works for Edmonton and other cities. In 1922, he was an engineering consultant to the Ontario Hydro-Electric Power Commission Inquiry. A prominent member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers (Engineering Institute of Canada, 1918), he served on numerous important committees, and, in 1918, was the first chairman of the Montreal Branch. He was elected EIC vice-president (1919-1923), became president (1924) and spoke out on the importance of engineers to society. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Civil Engineers of Great Britain, and, in 1920, was vice-president of the Corporation of Professional Engineers of Quebec. In 1906, he was awarded the CSCE's Gzowski Medal for his paper on the Trent Canal lift-locks. A Rotarian and Free Mason, he belonged to the Montreal Board of Trade, Canadian Club and University Club (Montreal), and was active in the Boy Scouts and hospital charities. In 1896, he married Laura Elizabeth Granger and they had two sons.

Mario Jozic