Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
April 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


George Mercer Dawson


Dawson, George Mercer (1849-1901), geologist, was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, on August 1, 1849, the son of Sir John William Dawson and Margaret Mercer. He was educated at McGill University and at the Royal School of Mines, London . In 1873 he was appointed geologist and botanist to the North American Boundary Commission; and in this capacity he published a Report on the geology and resources of the region in the vicinity of the forty-ninth parallel (Montreal, 1875). In 1875 he joined the staff of the Canadian Geological Survey; in 1883 he became assistant director of the Survey, and in 1895 director. His work on the Survey lay chiefly in the North West Territories and British Columbia ; and its results are mainly embodied in the reports of the Geological Survey. He was one of the British. commissioners appointed to inquire into the resources of Bering sea in 1892, and he was, with Sir G. Baden Powell, joint author of the Report of the British Behring Sea commissioners (London, 1892). With A. R. C. Selwyn, he published a Descriptive sketch of the physical geography and geology of the Dominion o,Î Canada (Montreal, 1884) ; with W. F. Tolmie, Comparative vocabularies of the Indian tribes of British Columbia (Montreal, 1884) ; and with Alexander Sutherland, a Geography of the British colonies (London, 1892). He died at Ottawa on March 2, 1901. In 1892 he was created a C.M.G.; in 1890 he was given the degree of LL.D. by Queen's University, and in 1891 by McGill University ; in 1891 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1893 president of the Royal Society of Canada. He was not married.

Source: W. Stewart Dawson, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. II, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 411p., pp. 184-185.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College