The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
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Canadian Geographical Journal

(published in May 1930)

Dr. Charles Camsell, the first president of the Canadian Geographical Society, and guests of honour at the Society's first inaugural meeting. Seated from left to right: Dr. Camsell, Viscount Willingdon, Honorary Patron of the Society; Viscountess Willingdon; Sir Francis Younghusband. Behind, from left to right: Lieut.-Col. H. Willis O’Connor, D.S.O., Aide-de-Camp to His Excellency; Dr. Isaiah Bowman, Director, American Geographical Society.

ONCE IN A LONG WHILE the sons of men manage to build better than they know, and it generally leaves them with a certain feeling of bewilderment. That pretty well describes the sensation of the little group of men who assisted in bringing The Canadian Geographical Society into the world. It was rather as if they had been hopefully, but not too optimistically, watching the labours of a mountain — and discovered that what it had given birth to was not a mouse but a mastadon.

That was how readers of the first issue of Canadian Geographical Journal were introduced to the new society. Here’s a rundown of where the society went from there:

  • 1930 — April 20th marked the first issue of the Canadian Geographical Journal with the objective ‘to publish articles … that will be popular in character, easily read, well illustrated, and educational to the young as well as informative to the aduct.’ Annual membership was $3.00.
  • Sir Francis Younghusband gives the Society’s first public lecture.
  • 1959The Massey Medal is inaugurated by the Right Honourable Vincent Massey to honour outstanding personal achievement in the exploration or description of the geography of Canada.
  • 1972The Gold Medal is established to recognize a particular achievement in the field of geography.
  • 1973 — A Research Grants program is begun to stimulate students’ interest in Canadian geography.
  • 1990Canadian Geographic caps tremendous growth with readership of 1,000,000
  • 1991The Fraser Lectureship in Northern Studies is initiated.
  • 1992The Camsell Award is created to recognize outstanding service to the Society. To celebrate Canada’s 125th Birthday, the Society collaborates on the Mt. Logan Expedition to accurately measure Canada's highest mountain (5,959 m).
  • 1993Canadian Geographic Education (formerly The Canadian Council for Geographic Education) is founded and six years later, over 4,700 teachers receive free geography resource materials for the classroom.
  • 1995The Great Canadian Geography Challenge for students is launched and each year, more than 200,000 students participate.
    Canada: A land of Superlatives, the first poster map, is produced in English and French
  • 1996The Maxwell Studentship in Human Geography is established.
    An Expeditions Committee is initiated to support exploration of Canada.
  • 1997géographica, the Society’s French-language magazine is launched.
  • 1999 — A 12-part lecture series is produced for community TV and Cable in the Classroom.

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