“I’m On My Way! That is, to the 1897 Toronto BAAS,”

Prince Peter Kropotkin, Anarchist Leader and Geographer

2022 Anniversaries in the History of Canadian Science and Technology

First posted Thursday, July 21, 2022 / Yom chamishi, 22 Tammuz, 5782

By David Orenstein, Emeritus, Danforth CTI, Toronto


One advantage to celebrating the anniversaries of Canadian scientific congresses is the opportunity to name drop. For example, the 1897 Toronto Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) hosted many notable visitors from the British Isles and Continental Europe.

The great Russian anarchist leader and accomplished geographer, Peter Kropotkin, was living in England, in exile from Tsarist oppression. On this day 125 years ago, he wrote to his friend James Major. Professor of Political Economy at the University of Toronto:

“Surrey, Hoarding House, Crown                                                      July 21, 1897

“Dear friend,

“… I shall be delighted to stay with you, and the £25 for travelling expenses are most welcome…. I will set sail on August 1st; and… follow your instructions as to getting the circular from Griffith and secure a berth, – and prepare two communications for Sections Geography & Geology:

“The Chief Structural lines of the Orography of the Old World….

“Asar, kames, eskers & drumlins….

“A journey to your land, rivers & lakes, and a meet with friends there, will be delightful.

“Yours sincerely         P. Kropotkin”

Kropotkin would successfully deliver both papers and, following the BAAS Meeting, he would be on the geologists’ post-congress cross-country train excursion to Vancouver and Victoria. There would be a steady stream of letters from the West, back to Mavor in Toronto, including one from “Glacier House, Glacier, B.C” (September 3) and another from the “The Ranchers Club Calgary” on September 18.

But that’s another story!



British Association for the Advancement of Science (1897) Special Excursions 1897 Toronto Meeting Toronto, Arbuthnot pr., [32 p.] illus., pl.

– In the Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/cihm_01190

Pierre Berton (1992) Niagara. McClelland and Stewart, Toronto. 480 pp., incl. 17 pp. Index.

Gerald Killan (c1983) David Boyle, from Artisan to Archaeologist. Published in association with the Ontario Heritage Foundation by University of Toronto Press

xvii, 276 p., [8] p. of plates: ill., maps, ports. ; 24 cm.

Ian Radforth (2004) Royal Spectacle: the 1860 visit of the Prince of Wales to Canada and the United States. University of Toronto Press, xi, 469 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.



A) Earlier CSTHA Blog Posts:

Discovering the Canadian International Scientific Congresses, October 23, 2020.


1972 IGC Field Excursions, July 1, 2022.


B) Other Links:

Niagara Tourist Attractions Today.


Historic Muskoka Steamships.


Peterborough’s Canadian Canoe Museum.


%d bloggers like this: