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Episodes 2007; 30(4): 290-295

Published online December 1, 2007


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

The 12th International Geological Congress, Toronto, 1913

Gerard V. Middleton

School of Geography and Earth Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton ON L8S 4K1 Canada, Email: middleto@mcmaster.ca

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Canada made its first bid for the 1906 IGC, but was successful seven years later. As it happened, this was a lucky chance because in the intervening years the economy had improved, due in part to the discovery of new mineral resources and the development of hydroelectric power in Ontario. The Geological Survey of Canada had been reorganized, and Provincial Departments of Mines were established in Ontario and Quebec. Research and graduate studies had developed in the three leading universities (McGill, Toronto and Queen’s). The older generation of Canadian geologists had been concerned mainly to explore and map the immense Canadian land-mass, but by 1910 a new generation, well trained in German and American graduate schools, had begun to participate in developing new ideas, particularly about Precambrian and glacial geology. The sessions on these topics were the most successful at the Congress; but the transcontinental excursions, run with the active assistance of the railway companies, were outstanding. The Guide Books published by the GSC were the best summary of Canadian geology then available, and probably this IGC’s most enduring contribution to geological science. A summary of the geological issues encountered in the course of the important Excursion A2 is provided by Michael Easton.