This dictionary contains the biographies of Canadian engineers who practised their profession from 1887 to 1925, the crucial period of Canada’s transition from a rural-agrarian, to an urban-industrial nation. Engineers were key figures in the emergence of modern Canada. They built the cities, industries and railways; engineering became Canada’s largest profession. Graduate students from my social history of Canadian and American technology seminar, Department of History, The University of Western Ontario, wrote the biographies. I edited them and directed the research.
Engineers were selected on the basis of their membership in the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers (CSCE), renamed the Engineering Institute of Canada in 1918, Canada’s only national and professional engineering society. The CSCE, unlike its British and American counterparts, included engineers from all branches of the profession. Founded in 1887 as a learned society dedicated to the advancement of engineering through the exchange of professional knowledge, the CSCE admitted only professionally qualified engineers to membership, following the practice of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Great Britain and the American Society of Civil Engineers. (Canadian engineers usually belonged to the ICE and ASCE). After the First World War, these standards were adopted by provincial engineering licensing associations, such as the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, as the test of professional competence. CSCE membership did not include all Canadian engineers (Sandford Fleming is an outstanding exception) but the society embraced most professional engineers, and rigorously excluded non-engineers, notably surveyors, tradesmen and others.
The first part of this dictionary includes CSCE officers -- presidents, vice presidents and councillors – from 1887 to 1925. These men were the most prominent engineers of their day. Individually, their biographies show extraordinary personal and professional achievement; collectively they reveal patterns of Canada’s urban and industrial development. Future additions to the dictionary will cover rank-in-file members. This dictionary is intended as an introduction to the careers of Canadian engineers. Researchers who require more information are referred to the “Select Bibliography” at the end of the dictionary.
N.B. This site was renewed at 09 September 2013
Library and Archives Canada, Engineering Institute of Canada fonds, Membership Files, MG 28, I277
Biographical Dictionaries and Other Reference Works:
American Society of Civil Engineers. Committee on History and Heritage of American Civil Engineering. A Biographical Dictionary of American Civil Engineers. 2 v. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 1972- .
American Society of Mechanical Engineers. History and Heritage Committee. Mechanical Engineers in America Born Prior to 1861: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, c. 1980.
The Canadian Who’s Who. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1910- .
Cook, Ramsay, gen. ed. Dictionary of Canadian Biography – Dictionnaire biographique du Canada. 15 v. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966- . Also available online: http://www.biographi.ca./
Engineering Institute of Canada. Charter, By-Laws and List of Members. Montreal: Engineering Institute of Canada, 1887-1925.
Garraty, John A., and Mark C. Carnes, gen. eds. American National Biography. 22 v. + supplements. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999- . Also available online: http://www.anb.org/.
Hallowell, Gerald, ed. The Oxford Companion to Canadian History. Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Hopkins, J. Castell, ed. The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs. Toronto: Annual Review Publishing Co., 1903- .
Marsh, James H., ed.-in-chief. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, c.1999. Also available online: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/.
Matthew, H.C.G., and Brian Harrison, eds. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 60 v. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
McMann, Evelyn de R. Canadian Who's Who. Index 1898-1984: Incorporating Canadian Men and Women of the Time. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, c.1986.
Metropolitan Toronto. Central Library. Biographical Scrapbooks Index. Toronto: Metropolitan Toronto Library Board, 1973.
Middleton, George M. et al eds. Encyclopedia of North American Railroads. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007.
Morgan, Henry J., ed. The Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Handbook of Canadian Biography. 1st ed. Toronto: William Briggs, 1898.
---. The Canadian Men and Women of the Time: A Handbook of Canadian Biography of Living Characters. Toronto: W. Briggs, 1912.
Prominent People of the Province of Quebec. Montreal: Biographical Society of Canada, 1924.
Sharp, Robert. Obituaries of British Engineers, 1901-1920: An Alphabetical Index. London: Science Museum, 1993.
Skempton, A.W., ed. A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland. 2 v. London: T. Telford, 2002- .
The Society Blue Book of Toronto, Hamilton and London. Toronto and New York: Dau Publishing Co., 1908, 1910, 1913, 1920.
Roysdon, Christy. American Engineers of the Nineteenth Century: A Biographical Index. New York: Garland Pub., 1978.
Wallace, W. Stewart and W.A. McKay, eds. The Macmillan Dictionary of Canadian Biography. 4th ed. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, c.1978.
Who’s Who in Canada. Toronto: International Press Ltd.; New York: Brentano’s, 1912-2001.
Who’s Who in Engineering: A Biographical Dictionary of the Engineering Profession. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1922-1964.
Canadian Engineer. Toronto: Canadian Engineer Co., 1893-1939.
Canadian Mining Journal. Montreal: National Business Publications, 1907- .
Canadian Mining Review. Ottawa: Review Publishing Co., 1882?-1907.
Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. Report of the Annual Meeting. Montreal: J. Lovell, c. 1887-1918?. Title varies.
Canadian Transportation. Toronto: Acton Burrows Ltd., 1898-1968. Title varies.
Electric Railway Journal. New York: McGraw, 1908-1931.
Engineering and Contract Record. Toronto: Southam-Maclean Publications, 1890-1985.
Engineering News-Record. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1917-1986.
Engineering Journal - Revue de l'ingénierie. Montreal: Engineering Institute of Canada, 1922-1983.
Journal of the Canadian Mining Institute. Montreal: Canadian Mining Institute, 1898-1980.
Journal of the Engineering Institute of Canada. Montreal: Engineering Institute of Canada, 1918-1921.
Journal of the Institution of Civil Engineers. London: Institution of Civil Engineers, 1837-1938.
Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Great Britain. London: Institution of Civil Engineers, 1837-1938.
Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 1873-1955.
Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. London: Mechanical Engineering Publications, 1847-1982.
Professional Engineer. Toronto: Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario, 1922-1962.
Railway World. Philadelphia, 1856-1913.
Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers. New York: American Society of Civil Engineers, 1867- .
Transactions of the Canadian Mining Institute. Montreal: Canadian Mining Institute, 1912-1920.
Transactions of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. Montreal: Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, 1887-1917.
Transactions of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Mining Society of Nova Scotia. Montreal: Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 1921-1967.
Transactions of the Engineering Institute of Canada. Montreal: Engineering Institute of Canada, 1919- .
Globe and Mail (Toronto), 1844- . Title varies. Available online: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/
New York Times, 1851- . Available online: http://www.nytimes.com/.
Toronto Star, 1892- . Available online: http://www.pagesofthepast.ca/.
Books and Articles - General:
Armstrong, Christopher and H. V. Nelles.Monopoly's Moment: The Organization and Regulation of Canadian Utilities, 1830-1930. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986,
Auger, Jean-François. ‘La formation des ingénieurs électriciens au Canada avant la Première Guerre mondiale.’ In Françoise Birk and André Grelon, eds. Un siècle de formation d’ingénieurs électrotechniciens: ancrage local et dynamique européenne, l’exemple de Nancy. Paris: Presses de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, 2006: 113-122.
---. ‘L’université au service de l’industrie: la vente de services de laboratoire en génie au Canada, 1895-1939.’ In Yves Gingras and Lyse Roy, eds. Les transformations et mutations de l’université du XIIIe au XXIe siècle. Montreal: Presses de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, 2006, 421-444.
Ball, Norman R., ed. Building Canada: A History of Public Works. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, c.1988.
---, The Canadian Niagara Power Company Story Erin, Ont.: Boston Mill Press in association with FortisOntario Inc., 2005.
---, ‘Mind, Heart, and Vision’: Professional Engineering in Canada 1887 to 1987. Ottawa: National Museum of Science and Technology, National Museums of Canada, in cooperation with the Engineering Centennial Board, c.1988.
Carnegie, David. The History of Munitions Supply in Canada, 1914-1918. London and New York: Longmans, Green, 1925.
Collins, Robert. A Voice From Afar: The History of Telecommunications in Canada. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1977.
Damer, Eric. Discovery by Design: The Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of British Columbia, 1907-2001. Vancouver: Ronsdale, 2002.
Eggleston, Wilfrid. National Research in Canada: The NRC, 1916-1966. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1978.
Fleming, Keith R. Power at Cost: Ontario Hydro and Rural Electrification, 1911-1958. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1992
Francis, R. Douglas. The Technological Imperative in Canada: An Intellectual History. Vancouver-Toronto: UBC Press, 2009.
Gagnon, Robert. Histoire de l’école polytechnique, 1873-1990: la montée des ingénieurs francophones. Montréal: Boréal, 1991.
Glazebrook, G.P. de T. A History of Transporation in Canada. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1964.
Hodgetts, J.E. Pioneer Public Service: An Administrative History of the United Canadas, 1841-1867. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1955.
Hull, James. “Technical Standards and the Integration of the U.S. and Canadian Economies.” American Review of Canadian Studies 93 (2001): 179-200.
Kline, Ronald. “Constructing ‘Technology’ and ‘Applied Science’: Public Rhetoric and Scientists and Engineers in the United States, 1880-1945.” Isis 86 (1985): 194-221.
Kos-Rabcewicz Zubkowski, Ludvik and William Edward Greening, Sir Casimir Stanislaus Gzowski: A Biography. Toronto: Burns and MacEachern, 1959.
Millard, J. Rodney. The Master Spirit of the Age: Canadian Engineers and the Politics of Profesionalism, 1887-1922. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988.
Moriarty, Catherine B. John Galbraith, 1846-1914: Engineer and Educator: A Portrait. Toronto: University of Toronto and Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, 1989
Nelles, H.V. "Introduction" to Thomas C. Keefer, Philosophy of Railroads and Other Essays. ed. H.V. Nelles, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1972, pp ix-Lxiii.
---. The Politics of Development: Forests, Mines & Hydro-Electric Power in Ontario, 1849-1941. Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, c.1974.
Owram, Douglas. Building for Canadians: A History of Public Works, 1840-1960. Ottawa: Public Relations and Information Services, Public Works Canada, 1979.
Parks Canada. National Historic Sites. Commemorating Canadian Engineering Achievements. Ottawa: Parks Canada. National Historic Sites, c.2001.
Plewman, William Rothwell. Adam Beck and the Ontario Hydro. Toronto:Ryerson Press, 1947.
Professional Engineers Ontario, Contributions to Professional Engineering: from the Western Region. Toronto: Professional Engineers Ontario, 2009.
Rabkin, Yakov M. and Ann Lévis-Lloyd. “Technology and Two Cultures: One Hundred Years of Engineering Education in Montreal.” Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy 22 (1984): 67-95.
Richardson, George W. Queen's Enginners: A Century of Applied Science, 1893-1993.
Vance, Jonathan F. Building Canada: People and Projects that Shaped the Nation. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2006.
West, Bruce. Cavalcade of Steel: Spanning 90 Years in the Life of Canada and Dominion Bridge, The Company that Changed the Face of a Nation. Montreal: Dominion Bridge Company, 1972.
White, Richard. “Canadian Civil Engineers Pre-1850: Professionals Before Professionalization.” Scientia Canadensis 24 (2000): 73-95.
---. Gentlemen Engineers: The Working Lives of Frank and Walter Shanly. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999.
---. The Skule Story: The University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, 1873-2000. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000.
Wilson, Andrew H. From Steam to Space: Contributions of Mechanical Engineering to Canadian Development. Ottawa: Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineering, 1996.
Books and Articles - Canals:
Aitken, Hugh G.J. The Welland Canal Company: A Study in Canadian Enterprise. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1954.
Angus, James T. A Respectable Ditch: A History of the Trent-Severn Waterway, 1833-1920. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1988.
Barnett, Donna. River of Dreams: The Saga of the Shubenacadie Canal. Halifax: Nimbus, 2002.
Bleasdale, Ruth Elisabeth. “Unskilled Labourers on the Public Works of Canada, 1840-1880.” PhD thesis, The University of Western Ontario, 1983.
Bush, Edward F. The Builders of the Rideau Canal, 1826-32. Ottawa: National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, Parks Canada, 1976.
Glazebrook, George Parkin de Twenebroker. A History of Transportation in Canada. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1938. Reissue ed., Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1964.
Heisler, John P. The Canals of Canada. Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, National and Historic Parks Branch, National Historic Sites Service, 1973.
Hodgetts, J. E. Pioneer Public Service: An Administrative History of the United Canadas, 1841-1867. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1955.
Jackson, John N. The Four Welland Canals: A Journey of Discovery in St. Catharines and Thorold. St. Catharines, ON: Vanwell, c. 1988.
Jackson, John N., and Fred A. Addis. The Welland Canals: A Comprehensive Guide. St. Catharines, ON: Lincoln Graphics, 1982.
Keefer, Thomas C. The Canals of Canada: Read Before the Royal Society of Canada, 1893. Montreal: Gazette Publishing Co., 1894.
Kingsford, William. The Canadian Canals: Their History and Cost, with an Inquiry into the Policy Necessary to Advance the Well-Being of the Province. Toronto: Rollo and Adam, 1865.
Lafrenière, Normand. Canal Building on the St. Lawrence River: Two Centuries of Work, 1779-1959. Ottawa: Parks Canada, 1983.
---. The Ottawa River Canal System. Ottawa: Environment Canada, Parks Canada, National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, 1984.
Legget, Robert F. Canals of Canada. Vancouver: Douglas, David and Charles, c. 1976.
---. Ottawa River Canals and the Defence of British North America. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, c. 1988.
---. Rideau Waterway. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1955.
Marceau, Ernest, “The Origins of our Canal System.” Transactions of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers 20 (1906): 24-36.
Morgan, H.R. “The Georgian Bay Canal,” Canadian Geographical Journal 78.3 (1969): 90-97.
Osborne, Brian S., and Donald Swainson. Sault Ste. Marie Canal: A Chapter in the History of Great Lakes Transport. Ottawa: Parks Canada, National Historic Parks and Sites Branch, 1986.
Passfield, Robert W. Technology in Transition: The ‘Soo’ Ship Canal, 1889-1985. Ottawa: National Historic Parks and Sites, Canadian Parks Service, Environment Canada, 1989.
---. “Waterways,” in Norman Ball, ed. Building Canada: A History of Public Works. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988: 113-142.
Phillpotts, George. Report on the Canal Navigation of the Canadas. London? : s.n., 1844?
Raudzens, George. The British Ordnance Department and Canada’s Canals, 1815-1855. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, c. 1979.
Styran, Roberta M., and Robert R. Taylor, eds. The ‘Great Swivel Link’: Canada’s Welland Canal. Toronto: Champlain Society, 2001.
Styran, Roberta M., Robert R. Taylor, and John N. Jackson. The Welland Canals: The Growth of Mr. Merritt’s Ditch. Erin, ON: Boston Mills Press, 1988.
Styran, Roberta M. and Robert R. Taylor, The Great National Object: Building the Nineteenth-Century Welland Canals. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012.
Way, Peter. Common Labour: Workers and the Digging of North American Canals, 1780-1860. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Books and Articles - Railways:
Andreae, Christopher. Lines of Country: An Atlas of Railway and Waterway History in Canada. Erin Mills, ON: Boston Mills Press, 1997.
---. “Railways,” in Norman Ball, ed. Building Canada: A History of Public Works. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988: 88-112.
Berton, Pierre. The National Dream: The Great Railway, 1871-1881. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970.
---. The Last Spike: The Great Railway, 1881-1885. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1971.
Bladen, M.L. “Construction of Railways in Canada to the Year 1885,” Contributions to Canadian Economics 5 (1932): 43-60.
Canada. Department of Transport. A Statutory History of the Steam and Electric Railways of Canada, 1836-1937, with Other Data Relevant to Operation of Department of Transport. Ottawa: King’s Printer, 1938.
Currie, Archibald. The Grand Trunk Railway of Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1957.
Cramm, Frank. “The Construction of the Newfoundland Railway, 1875-1898.” MA thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1961.
Cruikshank, Ken. “The People’s Railway: The Intercolonial Railway and the Canadian Public Enterprise Experience,” Acadiensis 16.1 (1985): 78-100.
Due, John. The Intercity Electric Railway Industry in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966.
Eagle, John A. The Canadian Pacific Railway and the Development of Western Canada, 1896-1914. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, c. 1989.
Hubbard, Freeman H. The Encyclopedia of North American Railroading: 150 Years of Railroading in the United States and Canada. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981.
Innis, Harold A. A History of the Canadian Pacific Railway. London: P.S. King, 1923.
Lamb, W. Kaye. History of the Canadian Pacific Railway. New York: Macmillan, 1977.
Lavallée, Omer. Narrow Gauge Railways of Canada. Markham, ON: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2005.
Legget, Robert F. Railways of Canada. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre, 1987.
Leonard, Frank. A Thousand Blunders: The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and Northern British Columbia. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1996.
Malone, Michael P. James J. Hill: Empire Builder of the Northwest. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996.
Otter, A.A. den. Civilizing the West: The Galts and the Development of Western Canada. Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1986.
---. The Philosophy of Railways: The Transcontinental Railway Idea in British North America. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.
Strom, Claire. Profiting from the Plains: The Great Northern Railway and Corporate Development of the American West. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2003.
Regehr, T.D. The Canadian Northern Railway: Pioneer Road of the Northern Prairies, 1895-1918. Toronto: Macmillan, 1976.
Stevens, G.R. History of the Canadian National Railways. New York: Macmillan, 1973.
Trout, J.M., and Edward Trout. The Railways of Canada for 1870-1: Shewing the Progress, Mileage, Cost of Construction, the Stocks, Bonds, Traffic, Earnings, Expenses, and Organization of the Railways of the Dominion. Also, A Sketch of the Difficulties Incident to Transportation in Canada in the Pre-Railroad Days. Toronto: Monetary Times, 1871; reprint ed. Toronto: Coles, 1970.
Tucker, Albert. Steam into Wilderness: Ontario Northland Railway, 1902-1962. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1978.
Underwood, Jay. Built for War: Canada’s Intercolonial Railway. Montreal: Railfare DC Books, 2005.
Young, Brian J. Promoters and Politicians: The North Shore Railways in the History of Quebec, 1854-85. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1978.
MacDonald, Bertrum H., ed. “Science and Technology in Canadian History: A Bibliographical Database.” Available online: http://acsweb2.ucis.dal.ca/slis/main.htm.
Misa, Thomas J. “Bibliography for History of Engineering.” Available online: www.tc.umn.edu/~tmisa/biblios/hist_engineering.html.
Roos, Arnold E. A Bibliography of the History of Canadian Science and Technology / Une bibliographie de l’histoire de la science at de la technologie au Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Science and Technology Historical Association / Association pour l’histoire de la science et technologie au Canada, 1995.
United States. Library of Congress. Science, Technology and Business Division. Science Reference Section. “Engineering History: A Guide to Selected Resources.” Available online: www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/SciRefGuides/eng-history.html.Site renewed by T.M. Kane