Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

VANIER, Joseph Emile , b. 20 Jan. 1858, Terrebonne, Lower Canada, eldest son of Emilien Vanier, grain and produce merchant; d. 11 Oct. 1934, Montreal. Educated at the Jaques-Cartier Normal School and the Montreal Catholic Commercial Academy, he was the first student to graduate from the École Polytechnique in 1877, and began his career that year on the Hochelaga sewers. The following year, he performed similar work with the Lake Vineyard Land and Water Company and the San Raphael Rancho tunnel, Los Angeles. In 1879, he went into private practice in Montreal as a consulting engineer and architect, and was engaged on a wide range of municipal engineering work-waterworks, sewerage, electric lighting, electric railways, power transmission, paving and other street improvements-in Quebec and Ontario. In 1884, he supervised several hydrographic works, including one on the Riviere des Mille Isles in Terrebonne county. He was chief engineer of the Valleyfield Waterworks and of the Montreal and Western Railway (1885-86), and, in 1886, held the same position on the construction of a large highway bridge over the Yamaska river at St. Hyacinthe, Que. In the same year, he became chief engineer of the Cote St. Louis sewerage work, and was also chief engineer of the St. Henry sewers and the Beauharnois and Lachine Water Works (1888-90). In 1893, he was a member of the royal commission that investigated the Lachine Canal, and from 1880 to 1896, was a professor of Geology and Hydrography, University of Montreal, as well as the president of Laurin and Leitch Engineering Company and a director of the Montreal Crushed Stone Company. A member of the Société des Ingénieurs Civils de France, he was a charter member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers (1887) and served on its council in 1889. He was also a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and was a past president, and for many years, honorary secretary of the Architects Association of the Province of Quebec. In 1927, the University of Montreal conferred a D.A.Sc. on him. He was a Roman Catholic, a Conservative, and, in 1881, married Marie-Olivine Parrseau and they had one daughter and a son.

Mihaela Sitariu