A Mare Ad Mare Ad Mare Usque ad Lacus!

Happy Canada Day / Joyeux Fête du Canada 2022!


2022 Anniversaries in the History of Canadian Science and Technology.

First posted Friday, July 1, 2022 / Yom shishi, 2 Tammuz, 5782.

By David Orenstein, Emeritus, Danforth CTI


Not too long after Canada Day / Dominion Day 1972, and five years after the 1967 Canadian Centennial Celebrations, the Field Excursions of the 24th International Geological Congress, held in Montréal in 1972, were launched across the vast continental, insular, maritime and lacustrine expanse of our country.

The first planned excursion started on the evening of Saturday, July 22, 1972, when excursionists gathered at their Calgary hotel, and finished when others left their final excursion accommodation on the morning of Thursday, September 14.

That’s close to two full months!

And that’s not counting travel time for delegates from far flung countries of origin!

This Canada Day, 2022, let’s focus on four of the wide-ranging excursions before and after Congress and two shorter trips during Congress time.

Pacific Ocean

The first to launch was Excursion AX-01, “Structural Style of Southern Canadian Cordillera, with Emphasis on Core Zone of Eastern Fold Belt”. The excursionists were expected to make their way to Calgary, Alberta, by July 22, where their accommodation was waiting for them to get in an early start on the 23rd, to go over the Rocky Mountains by bus. There would be helicopter side trips to some of the more inaccessible locations high up in the mountains. They reached Vancouver, BC, on Friday, August 4, with a restful night at their hotel awaiting them.

While the four leaders would have to go back to Calgary to lead Excursion A-01 on the same itinerary, from August 6 to 20, the seven participants would then be ready to fly out on the 5th to connect with another excursion, such as:

Arctic Ocean

Excursion A-66, “Geology of the Arctic Islands”, the most popular of all excursions, with 73 participants (2 leaders).

Accommodation was already booked for the night of August 8, in Edmonton, the other big city in Alberta. On the 9th they flew to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, with further stops at Cambridge Bay, Resolute, Eureka, Ward Hunt Island, Mould Bay, and Tuktoyaktuk, before returning to Edmonton on August 19.

Great Lakes

If they wanted their next excursion to finish closer to Montréal, they could have tried one of the three itineraries offered for Southern Ontario: A-42 “Quaternary Stratigraphy and Geomorphology of the Eastern Great Lakes Region of Southern Ontario” or A-45 “Stratigraphy and Paleontology of the Paleozoic, Southern Ontario”.

A-42 started on the evening of August 9 in Montréal, with a comfortable 21 excursionists and three leaders. They bussed to “Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara Peninsula, London, Waterloo, Bruce Peninsula, Manitoulin Island, North Bay, Ottawa” and back to Montréal on the 20th, in time for the Congress.

There had been an A-43 “The Great Lakes of Canada” proposed, and a lovely 96 page Excursion Guide published, with “5 fold-in maps, sketches and sections.” Sadly, it was cancelled for an insufficient number of participants.

Atlantic Ocean

After Congress, especially for delegates heading back to Europe, Excursion C62,

“A Cross Section Through the Appalachian System in Newfoundland”, might have been a good choice. One problem though, you would have to start making your connections back home, starting Setpember11, from the last stop: Stephenville, Newfoundland.

If I’d only known, my 21-year-old self might have applied to be a Junior Leader, having written an essay, “The Island of Newfoundland as an Atlantic Sandwich”, in the 1970-1971 academic year.

Montreal and Area

During the Congress, delegates might have taken a walk to, and then up Mount Royal, any day that they were in Montréal. But on August 29 Excursion B-12, “Monteregian Hills: Geology of Mount Royal”, ran with a respectable 25 people who had to pay $10. The Children’s Mini-Congress had already included an excursion to Mount Royal on Tuesday, August 22.

It’s a favourite locale of mine from many years of visiting family in Montréal, and even before that. Over the years I’ve seen the B-12 Excursion sites, some of them many times. It’s very walkable, especially for geologists with many years of, sometimes extremely rugged, field work. It’s very enjoyable, short, and an easy walk from the IGC HQ, at the downtown Windsor Hotel, to the foot of Mount Royal, just above McGill University. Despite that, the Excursion Guide assumes the Excursionists would drive.

If you wanted to collect some fine Canadian souvenirs to take home, you could have joined the most popular (by far) excursion itinerary, B-15 “Monteregian Hills: Mineralogy at Mount St, Hilaire, Quebec”, with a total of 98 excursionists/mineral collectors, divided between 30 on August 20th and a massive 68 on the 27th.

If you could travel back by Time Machine, I would recommend the pre-Congress Sunday, August 20, because you could then do an informal Show & Tell with your Mont Saint-Hilaire finds at the Welcome Party that evening, or at the Wine and Cheese Party on the Monday, following the grand opening of Georama ’72.

But that’s another story.

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