Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

MARCEAU, Ernest , b. 26 Dec. 1852, Danville, Lower Canada; d. 24 May 1919, Sault-au-Recollect, (Montreal North). Educated at the Petit Séminaire de Montréal (1866-74), he was graduated with honours from the École Polytechnique, Montréal in 1877, and began his career as assistant engineer on the construction of the Ottawa River's Grenville Canal. In 1881, he was appointed assistant to the supervising engineer of the Ottawa river canals, and, in 1893, became acting superintending engineer of canals in Quebec for the Department of Railways and Canals. He became chief engineer in 1894. In 1904, he was named principal of the École Polytechnique and taught industrial economy at Laval University, Montreal. He was a charter member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers (1887), and, after serving as a councillor (1897-99) and vice president (1901-03), became the first French Canadian president in 1905. From 1909 to 1919 he served as the society's treasurer. He was also a member of La Societé des Ingenieurs Civils de France. A prolific writer, he was awarded the CSCE's Gzowski Medal in 1909 for his paper, "Carillon Canal, Dam and Slide." He was also the author of several other articles published in various periodicals including La Revue de Montréal, as well as La Revue Littéraire et Politique (Bordeaux, France), and Le Travailleur (Worcester, Mass.). He was a Roman Catholic, and, in 1879, married Elvina Tassé. An important contributor to the building of the Rideau and St. Lawrence canals, Marceau was also a major figure in the development of Canadian engineering education and Canadian engineering professionalism.

J. Burns