Activities of the Geographical Branch in Northern Canada, 1947-1957

J. Keith Fraser


The Geographical Branch of the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys was created in 1947. Under its terms of references, part of its responsibility is the collection and analysis of geographical information on northern Canada, in particular the territories under the jurisdiction of the federal government. In the decade since the Branch's inauguration, geographers have carried out various kinds of field surveys in the Canadian Arctic and subarctic, from the northern coast of Ellesmere Island to the Hudson Bay coastal plain in Ontario, and from the Alaska boundary to Labrador. These surveys have varied from parties formed entirely of geographers to individual shipboard observers or representatives on collaborative teams of scientists. The collection of basic information on the vast unknown expanses of the Arctic is peculiarly suited to the application of geographic methods. Utilizing the trimetrogon and vertical photography carried out since World War II, geographers have applied sampling techniques in interpreting larger areas, making intensive field studies of representative terrain types and expanding them by use of the air photos in delimiting, describing and analysing physiographic regions. Studies in physical geography have been the backbone of the work of the Branch in the Arctic. Air photo interpretation keys have been prepared for 14 areas: Alert, Eureka, Mould Bay, Resolute, Mackenzie Delta, Darnley Bay, Coppermine, Bathurst Inlet, Boothia Isthmus, Wager Bay, Southampton Island, Kaniapiskau-Koksoak Rivers in Ungava, the Hudson Bay Railway, and the Kenogami River. Reports on the human geography of various areas were included in the field reports and are mainly unpublished; several studies in historical geography also resulted from the field surveys. ...


Age; Animal population; Animal tagging; Arctic char; Beluga whales; Benthos; Biological productivity; Biological sampling; Coregoninae; Dentition; Fish management; Fisheries; Fishes; Fishing; Hydrography; Ivory; Lake trout; Measurement; Ocean temperature; Oceanography; Oxygen; Plankton; Salinity; Seals (Animals); Subsistence; Walruses; Whales; Mackenzie Delta, N.W.T.; Firth River, Alaska/Yukon; King Point waters, Yukon; Pelly Lake, Nunavut; Garry Lake, Nunavut; Mackenzie River, N.W.T.; Kugluktuk region, Nunavut; Rowley River, Nunavut; Hudson Bay; Foxe Basin, Nunavut; Newfoundland waters; St. Lawrence, Gulf of, Canada; Fury and Hecla Strait, Nunavut

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