Tagged: Dominion

Better know a Canadian functionary: the Dominion Sculptor

In 1936, the Department of Public Works hired on a full-time Dominion Sculptor to finish the enormous task of covering nearly every surface of the Parliament buildings with intricate designs of cultural, historical or scientific relevance to Canada. Work stopped during World War II, but restarted in 1947 and continues to this day.

In 1993, the name of the position was officially changed to Federal Government Sculptor, but the old title of Dominion Sculptor is still in widespread use, even in official federal communications. At various times, the post has had a number of other names in governmental publications, including “Dominion Stone Carver” and “Parliamentary Sculptor”.

The Dominion Sculptors of Canada have been:

Cléophas Soucy, 1936-49.
William Frederick Karel Oosterhoff, 1949-62.
Rose Eleanor Milne CM, 1962-93.
Maurice Joanisse, 1993-2006.
Phil R. White, 2006-now.


Better know a Canadian institution: the Dominion Coal Board

In the early 20th century, coal, which played an important role in alternately employing and murdering Nova Scotians, was the main source of power in industry. For this reason, the Canadian government set up the Office of the Fuel Commissioner, to regulate its use for the industry in World War I. In 1922 the Dominion Fuel Board was set up to reduce Canada’s coal imports and increase domestic production of coal. From 1939 to 1947 the Dominion Fuel Board was abrogated and coal rationing for the war effort was placed under the command of the Coal Administrator (later the Coal Controller) in the Wartime Prices and Trade Board. The Dominion Fuel Board was briefly revived before being replaced that year by the Dominion Coal Board, which regulated the coal industry until declining coal production and a shift to using oil as fuel meant that specialized oversight for coal was less needed than it had been, and the Dominion Coal Board was dissolved in 1970.

The persons controlling coal in Canada were:

Charles Alexander Magrath, Fuel Controller of Canada, 1917-22.

Dr. Charles Camsell CMG FRSC, Chairman of the Dominion Fuel Board, 1922-39.

James McGregor Stewart CBE, Coal Administrator of Canada, 1939-43.

Ernest John Brunning CBE, Coal Controller of Canada, 1943-47.

Vincent William Thomas Scully CMG, Chairman of the Dominion Fuel Board, 1947.

Wilbur Edward Uren OBE, Chairman of the Dominion Coal Board, 1947-61.

Colin Lewis O’Brien, Chairman of the Dominion Coal Board, 1961-66.

John Watson MacNaught, Chairman of the Dominion Coal Board, 1966-70.

Better know a Canadian functionary: the Dominion Fire Commissioner

After Parliament burnt down in 1916, a Commission of Conservation was formed under former Minister of the Interior Sir Clifford Sifton to study the state of fire prevention and firefighting in Canada. The committee’s report, Fire Waste in Canada, was published in 1918 and threw damning light on the inadequacy of co-ordination of fire regulations and of the reporting of the economic losses in Canada from fires. In 1919 the Office of the Dominion Fire Commissioner was set up in the Department of Public works to improve national firefighting standards, research new fire prevention methods, and compile an annual summary of financial losses from fire in Canada.

The Dominion Fire Commissioner was renamed the Fire Commissioner of Canada in 1982 and transferred to the Department of Labour in 1986 before the office was abolished and merged into the Occupational Health and Safety division of Human Resources and Development Canada in 1992. The annual list of fire losses was never required by federal law, and a combination of federal budget cuts and improved fire loss reporting at the provincial level meant that HRDC stopped publishing the annual Fire Losses in Canada reports in 2002.

The Dominion Fire Commissioners and Fire Commissioners of Canada were:

Joseph Grove Smith, 1919-39.
Wilfrid Laurier Clairmont, 1939-49.
Christian A. Thomson, 1949-58.
Ross A.W. Switzer, 1958-78.
G. Alexander Hope, 1978-86.
Thomas J. Dunfield, 1986-92.

Better know a Canadian functionary: the Chair of the Parole Board of Canada

Before 1899 in Canada, there was no such thing as parole: either you got let out of jail early for good behaviour or you stayed in for the whole sentence. In 1899, the Laurier government introduced a “ticket to leave” system of parole, which was issued at the discretion of the Department of Justice. These were issued in a haphazard way by communication between prison wardens and Justice officials until the appointment of Walter Archibald, a brigadier of the Salvation Army, as the first Dominion Parole Officer in 1905. His job was to travel between the federal prisons in Canada (there were seven at the time) and conduct interviews with guards and inmates to decide if parole should be granted.

In 1913 the Department of Justice formed the Remission Service to process parole claims. The office of the Dominion Parole Officer was dissolved in 1931, and its functions absorbed by the Remission Service.

In 1959 the Parole Board Act dissolved the Remission Service and moved the granting of parole from the Department of Justice to an arm’s-length body, the Parole Board of Canada. The PBC was completely self-contained until 1978, when it was placed under the authority of Correctional Services Canada.

The Dominion Parole Officers of Canada were:

Walter Palmer Archibald, 1905-22.
Robert R. Creighton, 1922-27.
R.F. Harris, 1927-31.

The Chiefs of the Remission Service, Department of Justice, were:

Pierre Martial Côté, 1913-18.
J.D. Clarke, 1918-24.
M.F. Gallagher, 1924-52.
A.A. Moffat, 1952-53.
Allan J. MacLeod, 1953-59.

The Chairs of the Parole Board of Canada have been:

Thomas George Street, 1959-74.
William Outerbridge, 1974-86.
Ole Ingstrup, 1986-88.
Fred Gibson, 1988-93.
Michel Dagenais, 1993-94.
William Gibbs, 1994-2000.
Ian Glen, 2001-06.
Mario Dion, 2006-09.
Harvey Cenaiko, 2009-now.

Better know a Canadian functionary: the Dominion Hydrographer

Hydrography is the practice of making nautical maps and navigation charts. The Royal Navy, in olden days, mapped much of the eastern Canadian coast, as it did with the coasts of most of the Empire. The Canadian government did not give much thought to charting inland waters until 1882, when the steamer SS Asia struck an uncharted shoal in Georgian Bay and sank, killing 150. In response, the government set up the Georgian Bay Survey, which charged the Surveyor-General with charting the beds of the Great Lakes, then the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, then charting tides and currents and the seasonal level variances of the Great Lakes, until it was finally renamed the Hydrographic Survey of Canada in 1904, changing its name to the Canadian Hydrographic Survey in 1928.

With the retirement of Surveyor-General F.H. Peters in 1948, the CHS was spun off and placed under the command of the Dominion Hydrographer. This title is still officially in use, although most government communication uses the job’s other title, the Director of the Canadian Hydrographic Survey.

The Dominion Hydrographers have been:

R.J. Fraser, 1948-52.
Frank Clifford Goulding Smith, 1952-57.
Norman Gerald Gray, 1957-67.
Arthur E. Collin, 1967-72.
Gerald Neil Ewing, 1972-79.
Stephen B. McPhee (1st time), 1979-87.
G. Ross Douglas, 1987-94.
Stephen B. MacPhee (2nd time), 1994-98.
Anthony David O’Connor, 1998-2002.
Denis Hains (1st time), 2002-04 (acting)
Savithri Narayanan, 2005-14.
Denis Hains (2nd time), 2014-now.

Better know a Canadian functionary: the Dominion Carillonneur

In 1916 the Parliament of Canada burned down. When they rebuilt it they added the Peace Tower (officially the Tower of Victory and Peace), a giant clock tower dedicated to Canada’s war dead. Its exterior was done by 1922, but the interior took more time, and was inaugurated on the 60th anniversary of Confederation on 1 July 1927. The new tower was equipped with a carillon, which is an array of bells (53 of them in the Peace Tower) connected to a sort of keyboard-like thing to play them with. Parliament then hired a person to play concerts on the bells, a position named the Dominion Carillonneur.

The Dominion Carillonneur is the sole position in the Canadian government which still contains the name “Dominion”, and has no other name. (The one other office with “Dominion”, the Dominion Hydrographer, is often referred to by its alternate title, the Director of the Canadian Hydrographic Service.)

The Dominion Carillonneurs have been:

Frank Percival Price (1901-85), 1927-39. Born in Toronto, Price studied music in Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, then became the first professional carillonneur outside Europe in 1921 when he was hired to play the bells of the massive neo-gothic Metropolitan Wesleyan Methodist Church (now the Metropolitan United Church) in the Garden District of Toronto. Being the only professional carillonneur in the country, and indeed in the New World, he was a natural candidate as the inaugural Dominion Carillonneur. In the time he served, he composed a number of works for carillon and some without, the most notable being his Saint Lawrence Symphony of 1934. He quit as Dominion Carillonneur in 1939 and spent the next 33 years as a professor of music at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Robert Donnell (1910-86), 1939-75. Born in Toronto, Donnell studied music at the Toronto Conservatory of Music, and learned the carillon in Guelph, at the University of Toronto, as an assistant to Percival Price in the Peace Tower, and in Belgium. Donnell succeeded Price as Dominion Carillonneur in 1939 and stayed until 1975, when he went on to play the Rainbow Tower Carillon in Niagara Falls. Donnell also composed the music to “This Canada of Ours”, a patriotic song with moderate popularity in the mid-20th century.

Émilien Allard (1915-77), 1975-77. Allard was born in Montreal and grew up in Grand-Mère, QC, where he learned his first instrument, the clarinet. He studied music at Université Laval and the Conservatoire National de Musique in Montreal, served in the air force in WWII (where he played clarinet in the RCAF Band) and then studied the carillon in Belgium, with additional musical training at the Conservatoire de Paris. He served as the carillonneur of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal from 1955 to 1975, leaving to take the post of Dominion Carillonneur, which he held until he died two years later.

Gordon Frederick Slater (1950-now), 1977-2008. Born in Toronto, Slater studied piano and double bassoon at U of T and the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto. He learned the carillon from his father, James B. Slater, the carillonneur of the Metropolitan United Church in Toronto. Gordon Slater apprenticed to a number of carillonneurs, including Robert Donnell in the Peace Tower, and spent much of the 1970s building and repairing pipe organs at a factory in Toronto.

Dr. Andrea McCrady MD (1953-now), 2008-now. Dr. McCrady was born in Pittsburgh and travelled to Holland, Belgium and France to learn the carillon while studying at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. She then earned a medical degree from McGill (where she played the bells of St. Joseph’s Oratory part-time) and completed her medical residency in Toronto (where she played at the CNE) before setting up a family practice in Spokane, WA, for 18 years. She retired from medicine in 2006 and earned a BA in music from the University of Denver and was soon after hired as Dominion Carillonneur. Dr. McCrady also sings in the National Arts Centre Festival Chorus.

Better know a Canadian functionary: the Dominion Geodesist

Land surveying in Canada falls under the purview of the Surveyor-General of Canada, as I’ve said before. But surveying depends on a lot of basic measurements and calculations of measurements of the Earth to take into account when surveying, things like differing sea levels or regional variances in the Earth’s gravitational pull or its magnetic field.

The branch of applied mathematics that involve changes in the Earth’s attributes is called geodesy, or geodetics. In 1909, the Dominion Observatory was tasked with beginning a survey of geodetic information in Canada, with the Dominion Astronomer, W.F. King, as Superintendent of the Geodetic Survey of Canada. In 1916 the Survey was separated from the Observatory, and in 1923 the Superintendent was changed to the Director of the Geodetic Survey of Canada, and changed again in 1936 to the Dominion Geodesist. This title was used until 1995, when the Geodetic Survey of Canada’s name was changed to the Canadian Geodetic Survey, and the Dominion Geodesist became the Director of the Canadian Geodetic Survey.

The SGSCs/DGSCs/Dominion Geodesists/DCGSs of Canada have been:

William Frederick King CMG, 1909-16.
Noel J. Ogilvie, 1917-46.
John Leslie Rannie, 1947-51.
J.E.R. Ross, 1951-57.
J.E. Lilly, 1957-67.
L.A. Gale, 1967-74.
L.J. O’Brien, 1974-86.
George Babbage, 1987-89.
David Boal, 1989-95.
Mark Corey, 1995-96 (acting)
Cyril Penton, 1996-97 (acting)
Denis Hains (1st time), 1997-2001.
Robert Laframboise, 2001-04.
Jean Robert Duval, 2004-05 (acting)
Stuart Salter, 2005-07 (acting)
Denis Hains (2nd time), 2007-14.
Pierre Héroux, 2014-now (acting)