Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
July 2005

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


Geological Survey of Canada


[This article was written in the 1930's and published in 1948. For the precise citation, see the end of the document.]

Geological Survey of Canada . This important branch of the Canadian government owes its origin to the grant in 1841 of a small grant of money by the legislature of United Canada for a geological survey of the province. In 1842 William R. (afterwards Sir William) Logan was appointed provincial geologist; and in the subsequent twenty years he carried out, with his assistants, an exploratory survey of the southern parts of Upper and Lower Canada, as well as of the Gaspé peninsula and of the areas drained by streams flowing into lakes Huron and Superior. After Confederation, the work of the Survey was extended to the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick; and after the acquisition of the North West by Canada in 1869, its work was extended to this vast area. From the first, the Survey has been the exploring department of the government; and a great part of the map of Canada has been based upon surveys made by its officers. Not only, however, has the Survey devoted itself to the geological and physiographical features of Canada, but it has also made a study of the natural resources of Canada and the possibilities of their development. The part played by the Survey in the development of Canadian minerals, for example, it would be difficult to exaggerate.


The first report of the Survey was made in 1843, and subsequent reports were made annually for twenty years. Then the results of the work of these years was summed up in a volume entitled Geological Survey of Canada: Report of progress from its commencement to 1863 (Quebec, 1864). The next six years were covered in two biennial reports; but thereafter annual reports were issued until 1906. Then separate series of Reports and Memoirs were substituted; and these have been published to date. General indexes to the reports have been issued, the first covering the years 1863-84, and the second the years 1885-1906. The Survey has now a museum, a library, a chemical laboratory, laboratories for petrographical work, a map-making division, and a photographic division. See W. F. and D. J. Ferrier, Annotated catalogue of and guide to the publications of the Geological Survey of Canada, 1845-1917 (Ottawa, 1920).

Source  : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada, Vol. III, Toronto, University Associates of Canada, 1948, 396p., pp. 22-23.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College