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The History of the CHS Central & Arctic Region


1970 - Highlights

During 1970, the Canada Centre for Inland Waters (CCIW) was responsible to the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources (Minister, the Honourable J.J. Greene). By March 1971, responsibility had been transferred to the Honourable Jack Davis, Minister of Fisheries and Forestry and the Minister designate of the proposed Department of the Environment.

In the summer of 1970, the staff of Central Region’s Canadian Hydrographic Service of the Marine Sciences Branch and numbering about 100 members was transferred from Ottawa to the Centre. CHS Central Region had two major responsibilities – 1) to undertake hydrographic charting of navigable waters from the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River to the Saskatchewan-Alberta border and 2) to maintain and operate the fleet of vessels and launches used for hydrographic surveys and for the scientific programs of CCIW.

Hydrographic Surveys

The charting program of the region was continued in the Lower St. Lawrence River between Cap du Basque and Murray Bay to produce modern nautical charts for the use of commercial deep draught shipping and in the Thousand Islands area for the use of both commercial shipping and recreational boating.  At Lake of the Woods, the Rideau Waterway and Lake of Two Mountains for the primary purpose of producing recreational boating charts in response to public demand. In addition, hydrographic surveys of small fishing harbours were carried out on the Eastern Shore of Lake Superior and many existing charts in Lake Superior and Lake Huron were revised and updated as part of the revisory cycle. Navigational ranges were surveyed in the Sorel-Quebec City area. A field unit supported the Polar Continental Shelf Project in the Beaufort Sea, by conducting bathymetric “through the ice” surveys over the continental shelf in winter, and a hovercraft survey operation and evaluation in Franklin Bay during the short summer.

Other hydrographic activities included preparation for the International Field Year for The Great Lakes (IFYGL) by establishing sites and survey control for the use of a navigational system covering Lake Ontario, evaluation of “accurate ranging radar” and a new type of pulsing sonar.

A field unit provided survey control and supplied and maintained navigational systems in support of Limnogeology Section programs. The support of this unit also included calibration of the Minifix and Motorola positioning systems and the production of suitable lattice boatboards as necessary.

The development group evaluated the Motorola system and worked on a LORAN C study of Lakes Ontario and Erie in conjunction with HPL Engineering Ltd. of Ottawa. In the field of data processing, the group acquired a PDP 8 computer and a Gerber 22 Plotting Table and now had for the first time, all data processing units under one roof. During 1970 all survey data used or produced by this unit and considerable additional data were processed for other field units.

Ships and Launches

Four hydrographic survey launches were retired from service, three of them wood displacement hulls. These were replaced by Botved launches, perhaps the most suitable type of sounding launch readily available. A total of seven Botveds were acquired to maintain hydrographic field strength. Construction was started on C.S.L. VEDETTE, a 45 foot revisory survey craft. Construction was considerably delayed and the vessel was not expected to be ready for service until May 1971.

CHS Central Region Staff

Regional Hydrographer - T.D.W. McCulloch, Secretary L. Ram
Asst. Regional Hydrographer - R.W. Sandilands


Lower St. Lawrence River                  - B. Wright
Rideau River and Thousand Islands - R. Golding/R. Courtnage
Lake-of-the-Woods                             - C. Leadman
Lake of Two Mountains                       - A. Rogers
Revisory Survey                                  - G. Wade
Navigational Ranges                           - E. Thompson
Polar Continental Shelf Project           - J. O’Shea
Navigational Systems                         - F.L. Degrasse
CCIW Ground Control                        - G. Goldsteen
Technical Records                             - R. Marshall


K. Barnes, R. Beri, R. Chapeskie, V. Crowley, M. Crutchlow, K. Daeschel, P. Dal Bianco, P. Davies, B. Eidsforth, J-M Gervais, M. Grant, S. Greenner, K. Hipkin, J. Kean, R. Langford, R. Lasnier, G. Macdonald, R. Mahaffy, J. McCarthy, R. Moulton, D. Nesbitt, P. Page, D. Philpotts, H. Pulkinnen, R. Rehbein, P. Richards, R. Robitaille, W. Silvey, R. Treciokas, E. Waugh, J. Weller, A. Welmers, J. Wilson.

Development Group

Head                                          - E. Brown
Technical Staff                             - E. Lewis, R. Tripe, N. Stuifbergen

Electronics Section

Head                               - V.S. Bains
Technical Staff                  - D. Chambers, R. Desilets, J. Lanouette, M. Moore, A. Prud’Homme, D. Pyatt, W. Smith, B. Waldock.

Ships & Launches

Head                               - A. Quirk
Support                            - K. Robertson


1971 – Highlights

Transfer was made of nearly all components of CCIW to the Department of the Environment, which was established officially on June 11, 1971.

The far-flung nautical charting activities of CHS Central Region, Marine Sciences Branch continued during 1971, with major field programs in the Beaufort Sea, Ottawa River, Georgian Bay and Lake of the Woods, S. Lawrence River and Playgreen Lake, Manitoba. Central Region staff also assumed responsibility, as part of its revisory survey program, for keeping up-to-date the shoreline land use and erosion surveys initiated by the Department of Public Works for the International Joint Commission studies of the Great Lakes levels controls. These latter surveys and the shoreline charts proved to be valuable to Ontario Conservation Authorities bordering Lake Ontario, many of which had shoreline land use surveys underway.

A CHS chart sales outlet and Marine Information Centre were established at CCIW.

Hydrographic Surveys

Arctic - The field unit attached to the Polar Continental Shelf Project completed the through-the-ice survey in the Beaufort Sea and carried out sounding and ground control surveys in Nares Strait. A preliminary position was determined for Hans Island, which lies close to the tentative boundary of the territorial seas of Canada and Denmark. Plans were completed for the final determination of the island’s position in 1972 by a joint Canadian-Danish expedition.

Ottawa River - The survey of the Pembroke to Rapides-des-Joachims reach of the Ottawa River was completed. Modern nautical charts could now be produced for the entire stretch of the river between Temiscaming and Montreal.

Georgian Bay - A survey of McGregor Bay was carried out to determine whether the route from Georgian Bay to the eastern side of Cloche Peninsula is navigable by seaway draught ships. The detailed survey established the routes to be used by seaway draught ships and Canada Cement Lafarge Limited proceeded with the development of a new shipping terminal in McGregor Bay.

Lake Huron - A revisory survey was carried out and existing charts of the eastern part of Lake Huron were updated prior to the next navigational season.

Lake of the Woods - The hydrographic survey was continued in 1971 and completion was planned for 1972 so that modern nautical charts would be available for the whole of Lake of the Woods.

St. Lawrence River     - Kingston to Gananoque - Surveys required for the production of modern commercial and recreational nautical charts were continued in the Thousands Islands area as far eastward at Gananoque. - Cornwall to Montreal - Navigational ranges and other fixed aids in this stretch of the seaway were resurveyed.

Manitoba - A hydrographic survey of Playgreen Lake was commenced and would continue until the routes from Lake Winnipeg to Whiskey Jack Portage and Norway House was adequately surveyed. The survey also provided a base from which the effect on navigation of the Nelson River Power Project could be determined.

Quebec – The hydrographic survey of the Lower St. Lawrence River upstream to Ile-aux-Coudres was continued to facilitate production of modern nautical charts for deep draught shipping. Large-scale surveys were also carried out in Quebec Harbour adjacent to new port facilities.

Limnogeology – Two field units established survey control, supplied and maintained navigational systems in support of the limnogeology programs in Lakes Ontario and Erie.

IFYGL – A contract was awarded to Computing Devices of Canada, Ottawa for the rental and operation of a Decca Lambda Survey system to facilitate positioning of survey and research vessels and aircraft engaged in IFYGL (1972) operations on Lake Ontario. Field plotting sheet projections and Decca Lambda lattices were prepared on Central Region’s Gerber 22 plotting table and supplied to CHS Headquarters where the final field sheets were compiled.

Nautical Chart Sales - A CHS Chart Sales outlet for nautical charts, sailing directions and related nautical publications of interest to commercial and recreational mariners was established at CCIW as a part of the CHS Marine Information Centre. Bathymetric charts of the Canadian Arctic, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie were available. As well, the International Joint Commission Shore Property Inventory as maintained by CHS became available through the Marine Information Centre.

Tides, Currents and Water Levels - The Tides, Currents and Water Levels Section were established in July 1971 by the appointment of a regional tidal officer. The prime responsibility of this section was to provide hydrodynamic support, specifically tidal, current and water levels for hydrographic surveys and navigational requirements, while maintaining a strong scientific expertise.

Research and Development - The main efforts were in the areas of data processing and plotting on the Gerber 22. In the area of data processing, modifications were made to the Hypos programs so that Gerber plots could be produced on a stable base material and to ensure that the depth selection program removed redundant data. The Hypos system was again used on the Lower St. Lawrence with position data being transmitted via TWX link and sounding rolls via the mail. The quality of the processed data was vastly superior to that of past years. A shipboard hydrographic acquisition and processing system (HAAPS) was purchased, assembled and field-tested on the St. Lawrence River with very favourable results.

In the area of plotting on the Gerber, programs have been developed to plot lattices (Mini-Fix, Decca, etc.) on UTM and Polyconic projections, UTM grids with geographic graticules and stations, Polyconic projections with stations and Lambert Conformal Projections. The base Polyconic projections, Decca 6F lattices and UTM grids were plotted for the 1972 IFYGL program. The program for plotting UTM grids was one of the most widely requested for field sheets in 1971.

A PDP-8/E was acquired and has been made available to hydrographers. All the programs were documented and several new programs written for survey and positioning system computations. The program library contained 29 focal and 26 Fortran programs. Further trials were conducted on the Omni-directional Scanning Sonar after modifications by the manufacturer. During the year, Hydrodist Digital Display Systems were designed, purchased, tested and put into operational use on hydrographic surveys. The use of these units results in a considerable increase in production operations.

Ships and Launches

The revisory survey launch VEDETTE was delivered by the builder in May and after experiencing some teething problems worked successfully in Georgian Bay.

CHS Central Region Staff

Regional Hydrographer                       - T.D.W. McCulloch, Secretary Miss L. Ram
Asst. Regional Hydrographer - H.R. Blandford, Secretary Mrs. E. Gervais


Lower St. Lawrence River                  - B. Wright
Thousand Islands                               - R. Courtnage
Lake-of-the-Woods                             - E. Thompson
Upper Ottawa River                           - A. Rogers
Navigational Ranges                           - N. Stuifbergen
Playgreen Lake                                   - J.V. Crowley
Polar Continental Shelf Project           - G. Wade
Navigational Systems                         - F.L. Degrasse
Revisory and Georgian Bay                - R. Marshall
Revisory                                              - G. Macdonald
Marine Information Centre                  - M. Grant


R. Beri, M. Casey, R. Chapeskie, M. Crutchlow, K. Daeschel, P. Dal Bianco, P. Davies, W. Doering, B. Eidsforth, G. Goldsteen, K. Hipkin, J. Kean, D. Kelly, R. Langford, C Leadman, R. MacDougall, R. Mahaffy, H. Marshall, J. McCarthy, J. Medendorp, R. Moulton, I. Norman, P. Page, D. Philpotts, H. Pulkinnen, R. Rehbein, P. Richards, R. Robitaille, J. Statham, R. Treciokas, J. Weller, A. Welmers, J. Wilson.

Development Group

Head                                                    - E. Brown
Technical Staff                                    - E. Lewis, R. Tripe, W. Silvey

Electronics Section

Head                                                    - E. Lewis
Technical Staff                                    - D. Chambers, L. Deavu, R. Desilets, T. Dyas, G. Kavanagh, P. Millette, M. Moore, A. Prud’Homme, D. Pyatt, W. Smith, M. Van Gendt, B. Waldock.

Tides, Currents & Water Levels

Head                                                    - N. Freeman

Shore Property Studies

Head                                                    - W. Harris
Technical Staff                                    - J. Shaw

Ships & Launches

Head                                                    - A. Quirk
Engineering Superintendent               - A. Hughes
General Foreman                                - K. Robertson