Who was George Dawson?

Born in Nova Scotia in 1849, when George Mercer Dawson was eleven he had a childhood desease that stopped his growth and left him with a deformed back. Overcoming this handicap he probably contributed more than anyone to our knowledge of the geology and natural history of western Canada.

During his illness and the long slow recovery his education was continued by tutors and a devoted father. Later, he went to Montreal High School and McGill University before going on to England where he graduated from the Royal School of Mines, London with the highest marks in his class.

He was a man of small stature but great spirit. Working first for the Boundary Commission and then the Geological Survey of Canada, he surveyed great areas of territory, trekking across the prairies, then through northern British Columbia and the Yukon. He circled the Queen Charlotte Islands and travelled as far as the Bering Sea. His fame spread and in 1896 he became president of the Geological Society of America. Dawson City, Yukon and Dawson Creek, British Columbia are named in his honour. He died of acute bronchitis in 1901.

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