Better know a Canadian functionary: the head of the Meteorological Service of Canada

Government involvement in predicting the weather goes back to colonial times. The modern Meteorological Service of Canada was set up in 1871, when the government hired a professor at the University of Toronto to set up a national meteorological service. Since then, the federal weather service has had many names: Meteorological Service of Canada (1871-1936), Meteorological Division of the Air Services Branch (1936-56), Meteorological Branch (1956-70), Canadian Meteorological Service (1970-71) and Atmospheric Environment Service (1971-99) before returning to the Meteorological Service of Canada in 1999.

Meteorology was the responsibility of the Department of Marine and Fisheries until 1936, then came under the authority of the Department of Transport until the establishment of the Department of the Environment in 1971, where it remains to this day.

The head of the federal government’s meteorological functions has had various titles: Superintendent from 1871 to 1880, Director from 1880 to 1936, Controller from 1936 to 1956, Director (again) from 1956 to 1970, Administrator from 1970 to 1971, and Assistant Deputy Minister since 1971.

The heads of the Meteorological Service of Canada, in its various incarnations, have been:

G.T. Kingston, 1871-80.
Charles Carpmael, 1880-94.
Sir Robert Frederic Stupart, Kt., 1894-1929.
John Patterson, 1929-46.
Andrew Thomson OBE, 1946-59.
Patrick Duncan McTaggart-Cowan MBE, 1959-64.
John Reginald H. Noble, 1964-76.
Arthur E. Collin, 1976-80.
James P. Bruce, 1980-85.
Howard L. Ferguson, 1985-89.
Elizabeth V. Dowdeswell OC, 1989-93.
Gordon A. McBean, 1993-2000.
Marc-Denis Everell, 2000-06.
David Grimes, 2006-now.


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