6. Logan's Notebooks (1846)
In their 1998 list of the 100 most important Canadians in history, Maclean’s magazine ranked Montreal-born William Edmond Logan (1798-1875) first among scientists and sixth overall. This added to the long list of Logan’s honours, which include Canada’s highest mountain named for him (Mount Logan, Yukon, is 5959 m tall) and a knighthood conferred in 1856 by Queen Victoria.
As founder and first director of the Geological Survey of Canada (1842-1869), Logan was a keen observer and interpreter of Canada’s uncharted geology. Through extensive field notebooks, the observations recorded by Logan and his staff formed the basis of the official reports and geological maps tabled in Parliament. These provided accurate details of the extent of mineral and energy resources in the Province of Canada that could support its economic growth.
Logan also kept personal journals that offer up his anecdotes about fieldwork and observations of life in Canada in the 19th century. These were written after a long day in the field and provide a fascinating record of early Canada, as well as a glimpse into the engaging and extraordinary personality of Logan.
Smith, C.H. and Dyck, I., 2007. William E. Logan’s 1845 Survey of the Upper Ottawa Valley; Canadian Museum of Civilization, Mercury Series, History Paper 54, 256 p.
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