Arms of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
|Motto||"Making Canada better known to Canadians and the world."|
|Formation||Dr. Charles Camsell, 1929|
|Headquarters||1155 Lola Street, Ottawa, Canada|
|President||Dr. Paul Ruest (2013- )|
|Chief Executive Officer||John G. Geiger (2013- )|
|Main organ||College of Fellows|
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) (in French, La Société géographique royale du Canada (SRGC)) is a Canadian non-profit educational organization dedicated to imparting a broader knowledge and deeper appreciation of Canada — its people and places, its natural and cultural heritage and its environmental, social and economic challenges.
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society was founded in 1929 by Charles Camsell and a group of eminent Canadians, including Marius Barbeau, an ethnographer and folklorist who is today considered a founder of Canadian anthropology, Hon. A.E. Arsenault, Premier of Prince Edward Island and Justice of the province's Supreme Court, Lawrence J. Burpee, Secretary for Canada, International Joint Commission, John Wesley Dafoe, Managing Editor, (Winnipeg) Free Press, Hon. Albert Hudson, a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and Dr. O.D. Skelton, Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs.
The Rt. Hon. Viscount Willingdon, Governor-General of Canada, was founding Patron. J.B. Joseph Tyrrell, a geologist and cartographer whose exploits include the discovery of Albertosaurus bones in Alberta's Bandlands, and making first contact with the Ihalmiut ("People from Beyond") of the Keewatin district of Canada's Northwest Territories, served as founding Honorary President. Arthur Philemon Coleman, a geologist and explorer who between 1884 and 1908 made eight trips of discovery to the Canadian Rockies, was named Honorary Vice-President. At its first meeting, Dr. Camsell said the Society was formed "purely for patriotic purposes," and hoped it would "be a unifying influence upon the life of Canada." A report by the Acting Secretary, E.S. Martindale, stated the intention of the founders: "The work of making the resources and other geographic factors of each part of the Dominion more widely known and more clearly understood is one of the best educational services that can be undertaken -- and one that cannot be rendered except through a geographic organization animated by a broad national purpose."
Among those who have addressed meetings of the RCGS over the years are Sir Francis Younghusband, Sir Hubert Wilkins, Maj. L. T. Burwash, Dr. Isaiah Bowman, Dr. Wade Davis, Michael Palin, Dr. Phil Currie, and Sir Christopher Ondaatje.
The RCGS publishes the award-winning English-language magazine, Canadian Geographic , which has been published continuously since 1930 (when it was called the Canadian Geographical Journal). The society also publishes Canadian Geographic Travel quarterly. The Society’s French-language magazine, Géographica, which is published in collaboration with La Presse, was introduced in 1997.
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society helps fund education, expeditions, research and lectures programs. Each fall, the Society hosts the annual College of Fellows Annual Dinner, with notable speakers including Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, artist Robert Bateman, actor Dan Ackroyd, ethnobotanist Wade Davis, Climate Canada's senior climatologist David Phillips, and storm chaser George Kourounis, and the dinner has been attended by both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General David Johnston in the past.
The Society's Board of Governors and its program committees are made up entirely of volunteers, many of whom are members of the College of Fellows. Traditionally, Fellows were elected "in recognition of outstanding service to Canada." Past Fellows of the Society include such eminent names as the painter A.Y. Jackson, explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, journalist Agnes C. Laut, American businessman and explorer Fenley Hunter, Nobel Prize recipient Prof. F.G. Banting, Edward Shackleton, geographer and son of Sir Ernest Shackleton, former Conservative leader and Nova Scotia Premier Robert Stanfield, explorer Henry Larsen, historian L'abbé Arthur Maheux, anthropologist Diamond Jenness, businessman E.P. Taylor, broadcaster and traveler Lowell Thomas, and hotelier Conrad Hilton. Current Fellows include Gilbert M. Grosvenor, of the National Geographic Society. Besides regular Fellows, the Society elects Honorary Fellows, people recognized for special or outstanding achievements. The President, and other members of the executive, are elected by the College of Fellows at the Society's annual general meeting.
To be elected a Fellow of the Society, someone must be proposed by existing Fellows, approved by the Fellows Committee and elected by the College of Fellows. Fellows are granted the right to use the initials "F.R.C.G.S." after their names.
Day-to-day operations of the Society, its programs and business, are overseen by its Chief Executive Officer.
College of FellowsEdit
The first fellows were named in the years after 1929. In modern times, fellows include ethnobotanist Wade Davis, astronaut Steve MacLean and author Sir Christopher Ondaatje. The college elects the President and other members of the board of Governors, as well as new fellows. The fellows work determinedly to expand geographical knowledge across the nation. They also provide guidance and financial support, both of which are crucial to the non-profit organization.
- 1930 — 1941: Dr. Charles Camsell, Geologist in Charge of Explorations for the Geological Survey of Canada, and Commissioner of the Northwest Territories. Oversaw the exploration of the uncharted parts of Canada's North — a vast area covering 1.4 million square kilometres or about 25 percent of the country.
- 1941 — 1944: Dr. George J. Desbarats, Deputy Minister of Marine and Fisheries and of National Defence. He was the Canadian official who first learned that explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson was separated from his ship, and that the Karluk was missing in the Arctic ice.
- 1944 — 1950: Mr. Charles C. Cowan
- 1950 — 1955: Air Marshal Robert Leckie, an aviation pioneer and Chief of the Air Staff for the Royal Canadian Air Force. An outstanding fighter pilot during the First World War, he flew attacks on German Zeppelins, and downed two.
- 1955 — 1963: Maj.-Gen. Hugh A. Young, commanded the 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade at Normandy, and served as Deputy Minister of Public Works. Commissioner of the Northwest Territories from 1950-53. As head of the Advisory Committee on Northern Development, in 1953 he studied threats to Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic.
- 1963 — 1967: Dr. Omond Solandt, scientist and first Chairman of both Canada’s Defence Research Board and the Science Council of Canada. He was a scientific advisor to Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, and later a member of the joint military mission sent to Japan to evaluate the effects of the atomic bomb.
- 1967 — 1977: Dr. Pierre Camu, geographer and civil servant. Served as President of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority, and later as Chair of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). He is co-founder of the Trans Canada Trail.
- 1977 — 1986: Mr. Denis Coolican, served as president of the Canadian Bank Note Company.
- 1986 — 1992: Dr. Alexander T. Davidson, geographer and civil servant. Served as chief of resources for the federal Department of Northern Affairs, and assistant deputy minister of rural development; water; policy, planning and research for Environment Canada; and Parks Canada. He also was Chairman of the federal Panel Concerning Low Level Military Flights in Labrador-Goose Bay.
- 1992 — 1998: Dr. Denis A. St-Onge, geoscientist with the Geological Survey of Canada. Conducted pioneering research into the evolution of landscape under extreme cold climate on Ellef Ringnes Island in the High Arctic. He is credited with developing a unique method of mapping geomorphology.
- 1998 — 2004: Dr. Arthur E. Collin
- 2004 — 2010: Ms Gisèle Jacob, Director General with Environment Canada and Deputy Secretary General for the Canadian Human Rights Commission. She also served as chair of the Geographical Names Board of Canada.
- 2010 — 2013: Mr. John G. Geiger, author of Frozen In Time: The Fate of The Franklin Expedition and other books, former head of the editorial board of The Globe and Mail, current Chief Executive Officer of the RCGS.
- 2013 — Present: Dr. Paul Ruest
- 1930 - 1934: J. Mackintosh Bell, geologist, explorer and writer. His field work included pioneer exploration in Arctic Canada for the Geological Survey of Canada. He later became director of the Geological Survey of New Zealand.
- 1939 - 1941: Senator W. A. Buchanan, former Member of Parliament and publisher of the Lethbridge Herald.
- 1939 - 1954: Gen. A.G.L. Andrew McNaughton, Chief of the General Staff for Canada, Commanding officer of the First Canadian Infantry Division, and Ambassador to the United Nations.
- 1968 - Dr. John Tuzo Wilson, geophysicist and geologist who achieved worldwide acclaim for his contributions to the theory of plate tectonics
The Society awards the following awards:
Recognizing outstanding personal achievement in the exploration, development or description of the geography of Canada. The award was established in 1959 by the Massey Foundation, named for industrialist Hart Massey.
Recognizing a particular achievement by one or more individuals in the general field of geography or a significant national or international event.
- 2013: Michael Palin, Robert Bateman, and Yvan Desy and Sylvain Lemay of Natural Resources Canada
- 2012: Dr. Philip Currie
- 2011: Sir Christopher Ondaatje and Dr. Jerry Linenger
- 2010: Alex Trebek and Canadian International Polar Year National Committee
- 2009: Dr. Wade Davis
- 2007: The Nature of Québec/Le Québec au naturel
- 2006: The Atlas of Canada
- 2004: Jean Lemire and Edryd Shaw
- 2003: Roger F. Tomlinson
- 2002: Gordon Slade
- 2001: Norman Hallendy
- 2000: Bernard Voyer
- 1998: Mary May Simon
- 1997: Peter Gzowski
- 1996: Gilbert M. Grosvenor
- 1995: Harold K. Eidsvik, Dr. Lawrence W. Morley and Dr. Victor K. Prest
- 1994: The Historical Atlas of Canada, volumes II and III
- 1988: The Historical Atlas of Canada, Volume I, William G. Dean, Richard Colebrook Harris, and Geoffrey J. Matthews
- 1986: Dr. Derek C. Ford
- 1980: Selma Barkham
- 1978: Dr. J. Tuzo Wilson
- 1976: National Atlas of Canada
- 1973: Maj. Gen. William J. Megill
- 1972: Dr. Stanislaw Lesczychki
Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for ExplorationEdit
The Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration, named after Gold Medal and Camsell Medal recipient Sir Christopher Ondaatje, was established in 2013.
- 2013: Jill Heinerth
Canadian Award for Environmental InnovationEdit
The Canadian Award for Environmental Innovation was established in 2009 by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) and 3M Canada to recognize outstanding individuals in business, government, academia or community organizations whose innovative contributions to environmental change are benefiting Canada and Canadians.
- 2013: Jeff Golfman
- 2012: Dr. Fraser Taylor
- 2011: Michel Séguin
- 2010: Frank van Biesen
- 2009: Sidney Ribaux
The Royal Canadian Geographical Society awards the Camsell Medal to bestow recognition upon, and to express the Society's appreciation to, individuals who have given outstanding service to the Society. The award was established by the Society’s Board of Governors in 1992.
- 2014: Derald Smith
- 2013: Sir Christopher Ondaatje
- 2012: Jean Fournier
- 2011: Gisèle Jacob and Arthur E. Collin
- 2010: Pierre Bergeron and Helen Kerfoot
- 2009: James Raffan and Ted Johnson
- 2008: Kenneth Boland and Carman Joynt
- 2007: Stuart Semple and Brian Osborne
- 2006: Karen Lochhead and Michael Schmidt
- 2005: James Maxwell and Denis St-Onge
- 2004: Samuel P. Arsenault and Alexander T. Davidson
- 2003: Blair Seaborn and David Kirkwood
- 2002: Alan O. Gibbons
- 2001: Dickson Mansfield
- 2000: Winifred Wadasinghe-Wijay
- 1999: Pierre Camu and Grete Hale
- 1998: Pierre Des Marais II and Dr. George Hobson
- 1997: Enid Byford and Robert Goddard
- 1996: David Bartlett
- 1995: William M. Gilchrist and Col. Louis M. Sebert
- 1994: Wendy Simpson-Lewis
- 1993: David W. Phillips and Dr. Ernest P. Weeks
- 1992: Dr. J. Keith Fraser and Samuel F. Hughes
The Martin Bergmann Medal for Excellence in Arctic Leadership and ScienceEdit
Established by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 2012, the medal recognizes achievement for "excellence in Arctic leadership and science."
- 2013: Dr. David Hik
- 2012: Martin Bergmann
Lawrence J. Burpee MedalEdit
Established by the society in 2013, this medal is awarded to recognize outstanding contribution to the general advancement of geography, or to other achievement that greatly enhances the ability of the society to fulfill its mission.
Canadian Geographic EducationEdit
Canadian Geographic Education — formerly the Canadian Council for Geographic Education (CCGE) — is a joint initiative of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the National Geographic Society of Washington, D.C. established in 1993. The programs of the CGE aim to strengthen geographic education in the classroom. In addition to increasing the emphasis on geography within the school system, the CGE endeavours to increase the public awareness of the importance of geographical literacy.
- Canadian Geographical Journal, Vol. I, No. I, May 1930
- Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 23, p.376
- "Alan B. Beddoe fonds". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "Society Elects 27 Fellows", Globe and Mail, Jan. 20, 1956
- Johnston, David (5 October 2010), "Reception for the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy", in Office of the Governor General of Canada, Ottawa: Queen's Printer for Canada, retrieved 6 October 2010 Missing or empty
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