Since the beginning of the Canadian experience many people have achieved remarkable feats. Several among them have left us a rich heritage of important documents and equally important, astonishing collections considered today as treasures of the past, precious landmarks that allow us to reach back into our history.


Portrait of the collector

In a general way, we can define a collector as someone who brings together similar objects, based on their aesthetic, artistic, documentary, scientific or even emotional or monetary value.

Most often, people undertake to build a collection for the simple pleasure of gathering objects that delight them. This activity is for many a simple pastime, sometimes passing, but the true collector will take years, even an entire lifetime to build his collection. Of course not all collectors develop the same kinds of collection, but we find among collectors a passion, certain skills and character traits in common. They are people who are enthusiastic about their field, methodical, patient and extremely persevering.

Passion drives every collector who wants to increase hi Read More
Since the beginning of the Canadian experience many people have achieved remarkable feats. Several among them have left us a rich heritage of important documents and equally important, astonishing collections considered today as treasures of the past, precious landmarks that allow us to reach back into our history.


Portrait of the collector

In a general way, we can define a collector as someone who brings together similar objects, based on their aesthetic, artistic, documentary, scientific or even emotional or monetary value.

Most often, people undertake to build a collection for the simple pleasure of gathering objects that delight them. This activity is for many a simple pastime, sometimes passing, but the true collector will take years, even an entire lifetime to build his collection. Of course not all collectors develop the same kinds of collection, but we find among collectors a passion, certain skills and character traits in common. They are people who are enthusiastic about their field, methodical, patient and extremely persevering.

Passion drives every collector who wants to increase his level of knowledge. The pleasure of adding a new object or a new specimen to his collection is exhilarating.

The method requires finely honed powers of observation to classify the samples received. A good classification system is essential for a good collector. He also sets acquisition criteria that facilitate decision-making when it comes time to add an object to his collection, to exchange or to get rid of something.

Perseverance allows the collector to go on in spite of obstacles or difficulties in his path: to put his hand on an even rarer object, to overcome the difficulties of a tricky identification or classification.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Many museums have begun as the result of persons who were famous for their research or their exploits. These collections bring to life and allow us to reconstitute important events in such fields as science and historical events.

Here are four scientists who made their mark on the evolution of knowledge in Canada and who left major collections.

Many museums have begun as the result of persons who were famous for their research or their exploits. These collections bring to life and allow us to reconstitute important events in such fields as science and historical events.

Here are four scientists who made their mark on the evolution of knowledge in Canada and who left major collections.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Born: Bécancour, Québec, March 10, 1820

Studies: Séminaire de Nicolet, Quebec where he published a botanical treatise, and discovered a passion for the natural sciences.

Profession: Parish priest at Portneuf, Quebec; in addition to his ministry, he devised a system of nomenclature for plants to which he had access.

Publications

• Traité élémentaire de botanique (1858) (an elementary treatise on botany)
• Tableau chronologique et synthétique de l’Histoire du Canada (1859) (a chronological synthesis, in table form, of the history of Canada)
• La flore canadienne (1862) (on Canadian flowers)
• Verger canadien (1862) (on Canadian orchards)

In 1868, he founded the journal Le Naturaliste canadien.

Léon Provancher led several important projects. At a time when resources were limited, Abbé Provancher threw himself into a project researching the various disciplines related to the natural sciences, especially entomology. His insect collections included 30,000 specimens. More than 1000 of these are considered as type specimen Read More
Born: Bécancour, Québec, March 10, 1820

Studies: Séminaire de Nicolet, Quebec where he published a botanical treatise, and discovered a passion for the natural sciences.

Profession: Parish priest at Portneuf, Quebec; in addition to his ministry, he devised a system of nomenclature for plants to which he had access.

Publications

Traité élémentaire de botanique (1858) (an elementary treatise on botany)
Tableau chronologique et synthétique de l’Histoire du Canada (1859) (a chronological synthesis, in table form, of the history of Canada)
La flore canadienne (1862) (on Canadian flowers)
Verger canadien (1862) (on Canadian orchards)

In 1868, he founded the journal Le Naturaliste canadien.

Léon Provancher led several important projects. At a time when resources were limited, Abbé Provancher threw himself into a project researching the various disciplines related to the natural sciences, especially entomology. His insect collections included 30,000 specimens. More than 1000 of these are considered as type specimens, that is, those that were described and named for the first time by Provancher. More than 500 are still valid today.

His studies on the Hymenoptera earned him scientific recognition; one-tenth of all species known in Canada were discovered and described by Provancher. No other collection of natural history specimens by a North American naturalist in the XIXth century appears to have been preserved in its entirety and with such a variety of specimens. The fruit of the hard work by this rural parish priest represents a very important contribution to the advancement of science. His collections, consulted by scientists from all over the world, are today held mostly in Quebec, at Université Laval in Quebec City and at Collège Lévis, in Lévis.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Abbé Léon Provancher

Abbé Léon Provancher

Société historique du Cap-Rouge

© 2010, Société historique du Cap-Rouge All Rights Reserved.


Born: Montreal, Quebec, April 20, 1798

Studies: Montreal, Quebec and Edinburgh, Scotland

Publication: Geological Survey of Canada: Report of Progress from its Commencement to 1863

William Edmond Logan is justly considered as the father of Canadian geology. When the colonial authorities in the province of Canada decided to create the Geological Survey of Canada, he became its first director in 1842. Born in Canada, recognized by his peers in Britain, and known as an expert in carbon deposits, the most sought after mineral at that time, Logan was the ideal candidate to head up this organization. In addition to being a careful and thorough researcher, his artistic side set him apart. He carefully mapped various regions of Quebec and Canada with the attention to detail for which he as famous. He left many field notebooks, personal journals and samples gathered over the course of his travels. Mount Logan, the highest peak in Canada (5,959 m) situated in the Yukon was named in his honour.

Born: Montreal, Quebec, April 20, 1798

Studies: Montreal, Quebec and Edinburgh, Scotland

Publication: Geological Survey of Canada: Report of Progress from its Commencement to 1863

William Edmond Logan is justly considered as the father of Canadian geology. When the colonial authorities in the province of Canada decided to create the Geological Survey of Canada, he became its first director in 1842. Born in Canada, recognized by his peers in Britain, and known as an expert in carbon deposits, the most sought after mineral at that time, Logan was the ideal candidate to head up this organization. In addition to being a careful and thorough researcher, his artistic side set him apart. He carefully mapped various regions of Quebec and Canada with the attention to detail for which he as famous. He left many field notebooks, personal journals and samples gathered over the course of his travels. Mount Logan, the highest peak in Canada (5,959 m) situated in the Yukon was named in his honour.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Sir William Logan

Sir William Logan

Natural Resources Canada / Geological Survey of Canada

© Reproduced with the permission of Natural Resources Canada 2010, Geological Survey of Canada


Born: Kingsey Falls, Quebec, April 3, 1885

Studies: Quebec

Career: Roman Catholic brother, scientist, botanist

Cofounder of the Association canadienne-française pour l’avancement des sciences, today know as the Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas) (1923)

Publication: La Flore laurentienne, 1935 (a treatise on the Laurentian flora)

Marie-Victorin was a member of a religious order, a researcher, a scientist and devoted teacher. He knew how to communicate with his students to awaken their interest in learning. His teaching methods were built around practical work in the field rather than simple demonstrations in class.

Because of his many achievements, including setting up the Institut botanique at the Université de Montréal in 1920, and the Botanical Garden in Montreal, which opened in 1936, he convinced the State to invest in scientific knowledge. While he was not the first French Canadian scientist to become well-known, he was the one who helped to advance the scientific culture in Quebec. The Marie-Victorin herbarium, at the Montreal Botanical Garden, is his most significant legacy. I Read More
Born: Kingsey Falls, Quebec, April 3, 1885

Studies: Quebec

Career: Roman Catholic brother, scientist, botanist

Cofounder of the Association canadienne-française pour l’avancement des sciences, today know as the Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas) (1923)

Publication: La Flore laurentienne, 1935 (a treatise on the Laurentian flora)

Marie-Victorin was a member of a religious order, a researcher, a scientist and devoted teacher. He knew how to communicate with his students to awaken their interest in learning. His teaching methods were built around practical work in the field rather than simple demonstrations in class.

Because of his many achievements, including setting up the Institut botanique at the Université de Montréal in 1920, and the Botanical Garden in Montreal, which opened in 1936, he convinced the State to invest in scientific knowledge. While he was not the first French Canadian scientist to become well-known, he was the one who helped to advance the scientific culture in Quebec. The Marie-Victorin herbarium, at the Montreal Botanical Garden, is his most significant legacy. It brings together more than 750,000 specimens that he collected himself or exchanged with other plant collectors around the world.


© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Brother Marie-Victorin

Brother Marie-Victorin

Montreal Botanical Garden

© 2010, Montreal Botanical Garden All Rights Reserved.


Born: Toronto, Ontario, November 1, 1858

Studies: Law, University of Toronto, Ontario

Notwithstanding his profession as a lawyer, Joseph Tyrrell joined the Geological Survey of Canada in 1881. He participated in many expeditions in western Canada. From 1884, he participated in locating many coal deposits. In the same year, he made a sensational discovery, the fossilized skull of a new kind of dinosaur, the Albertosaurus. In 1898, driven by gold fever, he left the Geological Survey to go prospecting in the Klondike. Later, he joined a company that was mining gold in northern Ontario; he found an important vein that was mined until the 1960s.

J.B. Tyrrell was nicknamed Mr. Dinosaur with good reason because he discovered a previously unknown species. The Royal Tyrrell Museum, named in his honour, is located in southern Alberta. The museum focuses on dinosaurs.

Born: Toronto, Ontario, November 1, 1858

Studies: Law, University of Toronto, Ontario

Notwithstanding his profession as a lawyer, Joseph Tyrrell joined the Geological Survey of Canada in 1881. He participated in many expeditions in western Canada. From 1884, he participated in locating many coal deposits. In the same year, he made a sensational discovery, the fossilized skull of a new kind of dinosaur, the Albertosaurus. In 1898, driven by gold fever, he left the Geological Survey to go prospecting in the Klondike. Later, he joined a company that was mining gold in northern Ontario; he found an important vein that was mined until the 1960s.

J.B. Tyrrell was nicknamed Mr. Dinosaur with good reason because he discovered a previously unknown species. The Royal Tyrrell Museum, named in his honour, is located in southern Alberta. The museum focuses on dinosaurs.

© 2010, Musée de la nature et des sciences inc. All Rights Reserved.

Joseph Burr Tyrrell and Monroe Fergusson (1884)

Joseph Burr Tyrrell and Monroe Fergusson (1884)

Geological Survey of Canada / Library and Archives Canada / PA-051520

© 2010, Geological Survey of Canada / Library and Archives Canada All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

• Define what a collector is;

• Identify the major collectors who have made their mark in Canada.


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