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The History of the CHS Central & Arctic Region


1972 – Highlights

Nineteen seventy-two was an eventful year for CHS Central Region, Marine Sciences Directorate. For the first time, in response to urgent requests, the region mounted a major hydrographic survey in James Bay. This major move into the salt water was closely allied to an oceanographic study conducted by the regional organization.

A successful exchange of staff took place between the Lake Survey Center, NOAA, Detroit and the CHS of Central Region. It will be repeated and perhaps expanded in 1973.

A hydrographic survey of a portion of Georgian Bay was contracted out, a first for the region and for CHS nationally. Were the survey results up to CHS standards, it could mean the gradual development of a competent hydrographic industry - a requirement desirable from two stands. First, hydrographic surveying of Canadian waters could be mainly completed within a reasonable time frame without contemplating massive expansion of the CHS and second, a new viable secondary industry would be created in Canada.

Our most northerly survey party was engaged in an international project in Nares Strait between Danish and Canadian territory. The positioning of Hans Island, one of the assignments of this survey party had considerable significance in the race to establish sovereignty over the submerged land in the Strait.

The HAAPS system got a thorough and successful field test during the bathymetric survey of Lake Ontario, IFYGL Project 79F and was completed in the late fall of 1972.

A new high-speed cutter, CSS ADVENT came on regional strength in the dying days of 1972.

A new departmental organization was announced in December 1972 which promises to affect the development of CCIW programs in 1973. The Marine Sciences Directorate became part of the Fisheries and Marine Service.

Hydrographic Surveys

The 1972 field programme was carried out by 50 hydrographic surveyors, 8 electronics technicians and 130 ship’s crew. During the season, use was made of 3 survey ships, 26 survey launches and 23 major survey craft as well as one floating electro-mechanical workshop. Six office trailers and 13 boat trailers were used. Two helicopters and three fixed-wing aircraft were used periodically. Total helicopter flying time was 1342 hours and the total fixed-wing flying time amounted to 277 hours. Shore-based operations also required the use of 18 motor vehicles.

Field projects were conducted in Nares Strait, Norwegian Bay, Jones Sound and Amundsen Gulf in the Arctic; in James and Hudson Bays; Playgreen Lake; Lake of the Woods; Georgian Bay; Lake Ontario; Lake Erie; St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Kingston as well as the Lower St. Lawrence River below Quebec City.

The resurvey of navigational ranges, which commenced in 1969, was continued in 1972 and by the end of the 1972 field season a total of 99 sets of navigational ranges had been surveyed between Quebec City and Kingston. In the same area a total of 48 fixed navigational lights had been repositioned. Remaining to be surveyed were 82 ranges and 342 fixed lights in the Great Lakes.

The systematic Revisory Survey required to maintain existing charts up-to-date was continued and all charts of Lakes Ontario and Erie were field examined during 1972. Data for the Shore Properties was collected as part of the ongoing survey project.

During the year the Tides and Water Levels Section was strengthened in preparation for 1973 field programmes. In addition to its normal functions related to navigational matters the Section undertook the co-ordination of an Oceanographic Program in James Bay which was carried out by the hydrographic survey party operating from CCGS NARWHAL in co-operation with the Atlantic Oceanographic Laboratory.

1972 saw the initiation of a technical exchange program of one CHS staff with one surveyor from the Lakes Survey Center of NOAA Detroit. This exchange demonstrated beyond a doubt the value of such a program.

On the International scene a joint Canadian-Danish team worked in the Nares Strait area and determined geographic co-ordinates for Hans Island. This joint program was carried out because of the close proximity of the island to the limits of Canadian and Danish territorial seas.

Ships and Launches

Launch support was provided to shore based hydrographic parties scattered over a distance of some two thousand miles east to west from the Lower St. Lawrence River to Lake Winnipeg and north to James Bay via Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

An increase in the launch fleet included four Mon Ark craft for Playgreen Lake.

The James Bay project proved to be a challenge. Originally it was proposed to use four Bertram launches operating from CCGS NARWHAL. Two of these were gasoline powered and two just recently converted to diesel power. A rather sudden embargo on ship-borne gasoline storage cancelled out the use of the gasoline launches and the only available substitute was a 36-foot steel launch, which proved to be the most suitable for James Bay sea conditions.

The major acquisition was a 77-foot all aluminum vessel CSS ADVENT. It was basically a day boat with limited sleeping accommodation, high speed, 22 knots, to enable her to reach the work area with a minimum loss of operational time.

CHS Central Region Staff

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


Lower St. Lawrence River                  - R. Marshall
James Bay                                          - B. Wright
Lake-of-the-Woods                             - V. Crowley
Navigational Ranges                           - R. Courtnage
Playgreen Lake                                   - R. Lewis
Polar Continental Shelf Project           - G. Wade
Navigational Systems, IFYGL             - F.L. Degrasse
Revisory                                              - G. Macdonald


R. Beri, M. Casey, R. Chapeskie, I. Charron, M. Crutchlow, K. Daeschel, P. Dal Bianco, P. Davies, B. Eidsforth, J-M Gervais, G. Goldsteen, C. Gorski, M. Grant, K. Hipkin, J. Kean, D. Kimmett, R. Langford, R. Lasnier, C Leadman, R. MacDougall, H. Marshall, J. McCarthy, J. Medendorp, R. Moulton, L. Muir, I. Norman, P. Page, H. Pulkinnen, T. Pullen, R. Rehbein, P. Richards, R. Robitaille, W. Silvey, R. Solvason, R. Treciokas, J. Weller, A. Welmers.

Development Group

Head                                                    - E. Brown
Technical Staff                                    - R. Tripe, R. Bryant, C. Doekes, E. Thompson, R. Preston

Electronics Section

Head                                                    - E. Lewis
Technical Staff                                    - 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
Technical Staff                                    - J. Wilson, L. Barfoot

Marine Information Centre and Local Surveys

Head                                                    - A. Rogers
Technical Staff                                    - R. Mahaffy, R. McMicking

U.S. Exchange Program

To US Lake Survey                             - P. Richards
From US Lake Survey                        - W. Bergen

Shore Property Studies and IJC Inventory

Head                                                    - W. Harris
Technical Staff                                    - J. Shaw

Ships & Launches

Head                                                    - A. Quirk
Engineering Superintendent               - A. Hughes
Shore Boatswain                                - W. Corkum
Shop Foreman                                    - K. Robertson

1973 – Highlights

Several organizational changes occurred during the year.  A Research and Development Division was officially established under the leadership of Mr. N. Freeman.  This was previously known as the Geotechnology Division.

Mr. A.J. Kerr was appointed Regional Hydrographer.  Mr. H. Blandford who had been acting in this capacity was transferred to Headquarters as the Chief of Planning and Development.  The Hydrographic Division took over the responsibility for surveys in Hudson Bay and James Bay, at the same time withdrawing its western boundary to the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border.  The responsibility for Tides and Water Levels was transferred back to the Hydrographic Division from Research and Development.  Plans were made for the transfer of the Tidal Instrument Group from Headquarters.

In general, field surveys had an obvious basic hydrographic orientation; however, many hydrographers had some involvement with other disciplines.  The James Bay Survey staff was very much involved in an oceanographic program, while on Lake Erie hydrographers worked on a Limnogeological program.  Locally, staff was assigned to the R&D Section primarily to work with the Hydrodynamics and Shore Properties Groups.

Hydrographic Surveys

Central Region had another very successful year during 1973.  Forty-six Field Hydrographers were actively involved in supporting Central Region programs, which covered many areas of our geographic responsibility.

Eight major surveys were undertaken in 1973 in addition to a number of smaller surveys.

In the Northern Arctic, two winter programs were carried out.  A through-the-ice bathymetric survey of Norwegian Bay and a Decca Signal Velocity study in Amundsen Gulf to compare the propagation velocity of Decca signals over both ice free and ice covered waters.  During the summer a hydrographer assigned to CCGS LOUIS ST. LAURENT conducted a reconnaissance track line survey along the west side of Ellef Ringnes Island, eastward through Belcher Channel and southward through Penny Strait.  Another hydrographer on board CCGS JOHN A. MACDONALD conducted a reconnaissance probe through M’Clintock and Peel Channels, as well as in Victoria Strait.

Further south, a major survey was continued in James Bay where a navigation corridor was completed between La Grande Riviere and Hudson Bay.  In Chesterfield Inlet, on the Northwest side of Hudson Bay, a reconnaissance survey and the establishment of sufficient horizontal control was undertaken to prepare for a major sounding operation in 1974.

In the western area of the Region, parties operated on Lake-of-the-Woods and on Lake Winnipeg.  At Lake-of-the-Woods, the survey concluded a seven-year effort to chart the waterways.  The Lake Winnipeg survey was the first year of a planned five-year program to survey the northern half of the Lake and complete detailed surveys of all the Lake’s harbours.

Closer to home, a good number of activities were underway in the Great Lakes.  On Lake Erie, hydrographers again supported the I.W.D. Limnogeology program in addition to collecting standard hydrographic data.  A complete re-survey of Lake St. Clair was undertaken.  The charting of this area will be a cooperative program with the U.S. Lake Survey Center.  A reconnaissance survey of the Thames River was completed.

Field participation in the I.F.Y.G.L. (International Field Year for the Great Lakes program was terminated early in the summer after completing the bathymetric survey of Lake Ontario and closing down the Decca positioning system.

On Lake Superior, a horizontal control operation was completed at Thunder Bay to prepare for a full Hydrographic survey in 1974.

In 1973, the Region contracted its second complete hydrographic survey and provided continuous monitoring to the project.  The results of these surveys in Georgian Bay are a clear indication that private industry, if monitored and guided, can provide hydrographic survey data to CHS specifications.

The most easterly survey was on the Lower Saint Lawrence River.  It was the fifth season on this project with another two years anticipated to reach Quebec City.

The systematic Revisory Survey, required to maintain charts up-to-date, was continued.  The Navigational Ranges Survey was also continued and all Ranges between Niagara and Kingston were accurately determined.

During 1973, the Local Surveys party completed a survey of Hamilton Harbour

1973 was the second year of a technical exchange with our counterparts south of the border.  This exchange was again very successful and will be continued in 1974.

The Development Group was again very busy during 1973.  The instrumentation efforts were directed mainly towards Side Scan Sonar, Loran-C, Integrated Sat-Nav and Doppler Sonar navigation systems and HAAPS hardware.  In data processing, efforts were concentrated on getting the most out of the Gerber 22 plotting system.  Results achieved were most gratifying.

The Cartographic Section of the Region, although very small, made a very important contribution to our Division and the Directorate, as did the Marine Information and Hydrographic Data Centres.

Ships and Launches

The Ship Division had another busy year with a heavy demand for ship and launch support for scientific and hydrographic programs.  The flexibility and strength of the fleet was improved by the addition of ADVENT (January 4, 1973), a 77’ high speed crew boat and HILDUR (December 5, 1973), a 106’ research vessel. In addition, several launches were added to the fleet and others were modified.  LIMNOS and MARTIN KARLESEN, which remained on charter, continued to provide strong support for the major scientific programs.  In the Arctic, the Region was fortunate to have the use of CCGS NARWHAL once again and CCGS N.B. MCLEAN from the Ministry of Transport.

CCGS PORTE DAUPHINE had previously been operated by the Ministry of Transport for the Great Lakes Institute.  During the year operational control was transferred to the Marine Sciences Directorate.  The vessel was used for the greater part of the summer in the Lower St. Lawrence River.

CSL VEDETTE and CSL VERITY, the larger class of survey launches were used for Revisory Surveys on the Trent-Severn Waterway, the St. Lawrence River and the Ottawa River.

CHS Central Region Staff

Regional Hydrographer                       - A.J. Kerr
Asst. Regional Hydrographer - H.R. Blandford


IFYGL                                                  - F.L. DeGrasse
Lake Winnipeg/Lake of the Woods     - R.C. Lewis
James Bay                                          - R. Marshall
West Coast                                         - V. Crowley, J. Wilson, P. Davies
Lower St. Lawrence                            - E. Thompson
PCSP                                                  - A. Mortimer
Revisory                                              - R. Courtnage
R&D                                                   - P. Richards
Local surveys                                      - A.R. Rogers
Special Projects                                  - B. Wright, G. Wade, C. Leadman


G. Goldsteen, J. McCarthy, M. Casey, R. Robitaille, J. Medendorp, K. Hipkin, B. Eidsforth, R. Treciokas, R. Chapeskie, K. Daeschel, C. Gorski, R. Beri, R. Solvason, G. Macdonald, R. Mahaffy, A. Welmers, R. Lasnier, W. Silvey, M. Grant, I. Charron, R. Langford, E. I. Norman, H. Pulkinen, R. Moulton, M. Crutchlow, R. MacDougall, J. Statham, H. Marshall, R. Rehbein, P. Dal Bianco, J. Kean, P. Page, J. Gervais,

Development Group                                - 

Research and Development Division - N. Freeman

Electronics Section

Tides, Currents & Water Levels

Marine Information Centre and Local Surveys       - A. Rogers

U.S. Exchange Program

Shore Property Studies and IJC Inventory

Head                                                    - W. Harris
Technical Staff                                    - J. Shaw, D. Kimmett

Ships & Launches            - A. Quirk