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The History of the CHS Central & Arctic Region


1978 – Highlights

The year 1978 was a peculiar one for the Region, with great achievements and an air of uncertainty going along hand in hand.  We established ourselves as a viable cartographic entity and developed new thrusts in hydrography and oceanography in the Arctic while coping with major cuts in both personnel and funding, together with additional regional operational responsibilities and the gradual formation of a Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The Review and Planning Process, and the Planning Review Evaluation (RAPP-PRE) have been fine-tuned in accordance with the Zero A-Base decisions.  The OAS report on its oceanographic and hydrographic programs have been completed successfully; this outlined both the review of all Central Region projects in the past year and the directions for future projects being developed.  The over-the-ice hydrographic survey of western Viscount Melville Sound was completed and a good start was made on Bridport Inlet, the proposed site for the liquification plant and the shipping area for gas from the Sabine Peninsula.

The region is phasing out most of its hydrographic and its entire oceanographic program from the Lower St. Lawrence and transferring those responsibilities to the Quebec Region.

We were honoured in August by the visit of Donald D. Tansley, Associate Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and G.N. Ewing, Assistant Deputy Minister of Ocean & Aquatic Sciences for an OAS Management Meeting.  Mr. Tansley again visited with us on a familiarization tour, which included several DFO field operations on Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario.

The Hydrographic Division of the Region was well served by the efforts of Earl Brown, the Acting Regional Hydrographer.  During the year, A.J. Kerr left the Region for a SAPP assignment in Ottawa.  We were strengthened by the appointment of Ross Douglas as Regional Hydrographer in September 1978.  Additionally, Nelson Freeman, Chief of the R&D Division went on full-time educational leave in September, being temporarily replaced by Ed Lewis.

The NOAA vessel PEIRCE visited CCIW on October 30 and 31st.  We were particularly pleased by the visit of Rear Admiral Robert C. Munson, an old friend and another active officer of the International Federation of Surveyors.

Hydrographic Surveys

Our Field Parties had another successful year.  Major surveys of Baker Lake, Winnipeg River and northern Lake Huron were completed. 

In conjunction with Earth Physics Branch of EMR, through-the-ice surveys were carried out in Viscount Melville Sound and in Hudson Bay.  Using helicopters and tracked vehicles, bathymetry and gravity were collected at a grid spacing of 2 kilometres in the eastern part of Viscount Melville Sound.  In addition, Arctic Development was supported by the field testing of a new spiked transducer and actuator system for a helicopter, to replace the conventional system of manually placing a transducer on the ice.

In the area northeast of the Belcher Islands, 3 helicopters were used to collect bathymetry and gravity at a grid spacing of 6 km. 

The Hudson Bay offshore multiparameter survey was continued on CCGS NARWHAL.  The 9 km line spacing required for gravity and magnetics for regional reconnaissance has now been completed.

Baker Lake was completely surveyed with the result that modern surveys have been completed from the entrance to Chesterfield Inlet to the settlement of Baker Lake.

The survey of the Winnipeg River was completed to the Ontario-Manitoba border.  This will enable 3 charts (scale 1:25,000) to be published covering the River from Kenora to Eaglenest Lake.  Two charts from Eaglenest Lake westward to Seven Sisters Falls were previously published from data supplied by the Manitoba government.

Surveys in the Great Lakes were also successfully completed in 1978.  In Lake Huron the inshore area along the south coast of Manitoulin Island was completed.  In Lake Erie, NavBox units interfaced with prototype cartridge recording units (RAMS 8900) were used with mixed success to complete the area between Pelee Point and Amherstburg.  This will enable publication of a new confluence zone chart of the west end of Lake Erie.  BAYFIELD had a successful season in Lake Superior.  After initial problems getting the Accufix-Loran-C chain on the air, the survey progressed well and the scheduled 1,000-metre line spacing between Michipicoten Island/Ile Royale was completed.  Additional lines were run over Superior Shoal.

In a departure from previous years (i.e. cyclical surveys) revisory work was carried out only in those areas where chart construction is scheduled during the next year.  This resulted in a mobile unit, supported by a cartographer, carrying out surveys in Lake Superior, Georgian Bay, Lake Muskoka and Lake Erie.

One hydrographer was assigned to the U.S. Exchange program with National Ocean Surveys (NOS), two hydrographers on rotation were assigned to Chart Production and 5 cartographers spent vary lengths of time attached to field parties.

Ships and Launches

The charter vessel MV PETREL V, after preparing for operations on the Great Lakes, departed Burlington for the first Surveillance Cruise of the season on March 20.  The normal heavy ice conditions at this of year in the eastern end of Lake Ontario prevented the vessel from completing the cruise.  PETREL then participated in Lakes Erie and Ontario cruises until July 14 when, after being equipped for an oceanographic survey, the vessel sailed for Chesterfield Inlet.  Two 21-foot Mon Ark launches participated in this survey using PETREL as a mother ship.  On October 15, the vessel returned to Burlington to resume operations on the Great Lakes.  On December 15, after all equipment was removed, the vessel was taken off charter and returned to the owners at Quebec City.

After an extensive engine overhaul, BAYFIELD was prepared for hydrographic surveys in northern Lake Superior.  The vessel was delayed at Burlington mainly due to installation of electronic equipment both on board ship and at the positioning sites in Lake Superior.  On June 5, BAYFIELD sailed from Burlington to Lake Superior.  A malfunction in the positioning system caused a further delay until June 22 when sounding commenced.  Rossport was used as a safe port of refuge but BAYFIELD returned to Thunder Bay every second weekend for fuel and supplies.  By September 27 survey operations were discontinued for the season.  After 11,600 miles of sounding lines were completed, BAYFIELD sailed to Burlington and on October 15 returned to Lake Erie to participate in a one-day operation on the Lake Erie survey.  BAYFIELD returned to Burlington and remained on standby until December when she was secured for the winter months.

As in the past, CCGS NARWHAL was made available by MOT Dartmouth for northern surveys.  Since 1972, this vessel has been used during the summer months for both hydrographic and multi-disciplinary surveys.  After all the equipment for both the Hudson Bay and Baker Lake surveys was loaded and secured, NARWHAL departed Dartmouth and proceeded to Hudson Bay.  Sounding operations began on this survey on July 24.  On August 5, the vessel proceeded to Schooner Bay, where it unloaded the Baker Lake survey equipment.  NARWHAL continued the survey operations in Hudson Bay, making two calls at the Port of Churchill, one on August 22 to exchange crew and one on September 21for refueling.  On September 26, the vessel proceeded to Chesterfield Inlet to retrieve the Baker Lake survey boats and equipment.  NARWHAL continued survey operations until September 29 when the vessel proceeded southward arriving at Dartmouth on October 5.  All equipment was off-loaded and the vessel once again was turned over to MOT.

This was the first year Ship Division supported a shore-based survey in Baker Lake.  Situated at the head of Chesterfield Inlet on the northwestern side of Hudson Bay, the Baker Lake survey was carried out with three launches and one helicopter.  The two Botved launches, Helix and Hornet and a 21-foot aluminum Mon Ark were transported by road to Dartmouth and loaded on CCGS NARWHAL for shipment to Chesterfield Inlet.  However, on arrival at Hudson Bay, delivery of the launches was delayed due to ice conditions.  On August 5, NARWHAL proceeded to Schooner Harbour to deliver the launches and as much of the equipment as was possible for the launches to safely carry.  The three launches were escorted through the shoal-strewn lake to the hamlet of Baker Lake where the survey camp was located.  Sounding operations began immediately.  By September 25, the survey was completed and the launches were again loaded on NARWHAL.  Upon arrival at Dartmouth, the launches and equipment were road transported back to Burlington.

Two Botved launches, HYDRA and HASTY, and two Boston Whalers were used to support this Lake Huron coastal hydrographic survey.  All launches and equipment were prepared and road transported to Manitoulin Island on May 1.  Survey operations began immediately working out of Providence Bay until the end of May when the base of operations was moved to Burnt Island Harbour.  By September 9 the survey was completed and all launches and equipment were returned to Burlington.

For the Lake Erie survey, CSL NAUTILUS, the newly acquired Nelson 34 launch, and launches CSL BROCK, HYDRO II and a Boston Whaler supported this survey.  They were, with the exception of NAUTILUS, trailered to the survey site based at Leamington.  NAUTILUS was delayed at Burlington due mainly to the late arrival and installation of electronic equipment.  She arrived at Leamington early in June and all launches worked out of this area for the remainder of the field season.  By mid October the survey was terminated and all launches and equipment returned to Burlington.

This was the second and final year for the Winnipeg River Survey.  All launches and equipment were transported to Kenora by transport truck and low-beds, leaving Burlington on May 21.  Based at Minaki, survey operations began immediately using the launches HUSTLE, HUNT, PACER and WOODCOCK.  One Boston Whaler, which had been stored at Kenora from the previous season, was also used as a support craft.  The survey was completed in September and all launches and equipment were returned to Burlington.

The combined hydrographic and geolimnology survey located in the southern end of Georgian Bay was supported by CSL AGILE, MV LAC ERIE and one Boston Whaler.  Mechanical problems caused minor delays and late in the season, AGILE had the misfortune of damaging both propellers and rudder.  The launch was temporarily replaced with a Bertram launch for nearshore work.  In November the survey was terminated and all launches and equipment returned to Burlington.

CHS Central Region Staff

Regional Hydrographer                       - A.J. Kerr, Earl Brown (Acting), Ross Douglas
Asst. Regional Hydrographer - E. Brown


PCSP                                                  - E. Thompson
Hudson Bay Winter                             - P. Davies
Hudson Bay Offshore                         - E. Thompson
Baker Lake                                          - B. Wright
Winnipeg River                                   - G. Macdonald
Lake Erie                                             - P. Richards
Revisory                                              - K. Hipkin
Georgian Bay Limnogeology               - R. Mahaffy
Lake Superior                                      - G. Goldsteen


Welmers, R. Treciokas, M. Powell, H. Pulkinen, R. Langford, A. Koudys, R. Robitaille, M. Casey, B. Power, G. Fenn, B. Eidsforth, J. Medendorp, J. Dixon, K. Daeschel, D. Pugh, R. Covey, D. Livingstone, R. MacDougall


M. Crutchlow, R. Beri, P. Davies, M. Bennett, G. Thompson

Research and Development Division - N. Freeman

U.S. Exchange Program

To US Lake Survey                             - C. Gorski
From US Lake Survey                        - Robert R. Hill


1979 – Highlights

At mid-year, a Fisheries and Oceans personnel organization was formed in Central Region, administratively responsible to the Director-General.

The Arctic program was influenced to a large extent by factors beyond our control.  The decision by MOT to transfer CCGS NARWHAL to the West Coast for an indefinite period caused a cancellation of the hydrographic offshore Hudson Bay program. Budget cuts meant the forfeiture of the charter vessel MV PETREL V for the inshore Hudson Bay surveys and an end to our cooperative program in Hudson Bay with Earth Physics Branch EMR.

Despite this, Central Region’s activities continued at a high level with field parties enjoying a successful year.  The offshore hydrographic survey of Lake Superior was completed and ongoing surveys on Lakes Nipissing, Erie, Ontario and the St. Lawrence River made excellent progress.  Most of the hydrographic and all of the oceanographic programs from the lower St. Lawrence have now been transferred from the region to the responsibility of the Quebec Region.

We were honoured in August by the visit of Mr. G.N. Ewing, Assistant Deputy Minister of Ocean and Aquatic Sciences, who met with the Acting Director-General and the senior staff of Central Region.  Earl Brown, Assistant Regional Hydrographer, was selected to provide the regional input for Organizational Study of the Ontario Region (Griggs Study).  Between interviewing management in the Region, writing results and liaison with the study group, his task was formidable.

The Regional Chart Production Unit is now a viable entity and up to full strength with the completion of the decentralization of cartographers from Ottawa.

Once again the federal government exhibit at the Toronto International Boat Show was managed from the Region.  This involved the Departments of Fisheries and Oceans, Environment, and Transport in an enlarged exhibit area.

A noteworthy event was the commercial production (by D.G. Instruments of Ottawa) of 15 “NavBoxes” for the four Regions of CHS.

Hydrographic Surveys

Regional support was given to two aerial hydrography projects in the North Channel of Lake Huron where stations were positioned and targeted, and on the St. Lawrence River where ground truth surveys and turbidity measurements were taken.

In association with the Polar Continental Shelf Project of EMR a through-the-ice survey was carried out in Penny Strait, Queen’s Channel and Wellington Channel.  Minirangers were used to position three helicopters and one tracked vehicle equipped with modified Edo echo sounders.  Two of the helicopters used the newly developed electrically driven ram while the third used the traditional oil method.  The tracked vehicle used a hydraulically operated ram.  Soundings were taken on 500 metre, 1 kilometre and 2 kilometre grids, depending on the complexity of the bottom.  A total of 12,787 spot soundings were obtained over an area of 27,500 square kilometres.

CSS BAYFIELD, using Accufix Loran-C and INDAPS, successfully completed the offshore survey of Lake Superior.  This will enable the existing charts to be updated.  Of some interest is the confirmation of depth and position of Superior Shoal surveyed in 1930 by H.L. Leadman.

Despite ravaging spring floods, the survey of the eastern half of Lake Nipissing was completed.  NavBox units interfaced to Miniranger provided straight-line navigation, which resulted in much more productive survey time. 

The Lake Erie survey continued eastward and completed the coastal area from Port Alma to Plum Point.  NavBoxes were used with Minirangers for straight-line navigation. 

Personnel and resources originally scheduled for Hudson Bay were diverted to Lake Ontario and carried out a lower priority survey of the area between False Ducks Islands and Simcoe Island.  Two new 34-foot Nelson hull-sounding launches were successfully used on this survey.

The St. Lawrence River survey was resumed after several years of delay.  Work began at Gananoque and continued eastward to Rockport, supported by the Aerial Hydrography project when aerial photography profiles were obtained over a selected part of the River.

The mobile revisory unit had a busy year checking out queries on charts due for production in 1980.  In addition, a cyclical survey was made of the Trent-Severn Waterway charts.

The exchange program with NOS was continued with one hydrographer from each organization participating.  One rotational hydrographer was assigned to Chart Production and one compiler spent some time in the field.

An interesting survey was carried out near Prescott, Ontario, at the request of the Ministry of Transport.  MOT is evaluating a Precise Radar Navigation System (PRANS) and the CHS was asked to position twelve PRANS reflector sites on both sides of the St. Lawrence River.  In order to achieve the requested accuracy of +/- 2cm. K&E Laser Ranger V was borrowed from Geodetic Survey of Canada and a Wild T-3 was used to observe the horizontal angles.  Some useful information was learned as a result of this operation.

In conjunction with Nautical Geodesy (HQ), hydrographers using BAYFIELD and RPS carried out Loran-C (east coast chain) calibrations in Lakes Erie and Ontario.  After this, BAYFIELD headed for Lake Huron as support vessel for target laying and ground truth profile measurements for a photographic project in the North Channel.

Ships and Launches

After a winter refit, CSS BAYFIELD was made ready for hydrographic surveys in Lake Erie and northern Lake Superior.  After the vessel completed sea trials, she sailed for Erieau on May 9.  BAYFIELD participated in surveys in this area until June 2 when she proceeded to Rossport on the north shore of Lake Superior.  Surveys continued in Lake Superior until September 6, at which time the vessel returned to Lakes Erie and Ontario to participate in Loran-C evaluation which was completed on September 26.  At Burlington, BAYFIELD was once again outfitted for hydrographic surveys in the North Channel.  She sailed for Thessalon on October 14 and with these surveys completed, returned to Port Weller for five-day dry-docking on November 5. 

On May 8, ADVENT sailed for Toronto to support a Humber College course, which included demonstrating sonar, sounders and automated equipment.  At the conclusion of this demonstration, ADVENT proceeded to the IHTC Conference in Ottawa for May 15-17 where she proved to be a very popular feature.  She returned to Burlington and after spending two days at Toronto during the Canadian Institute of Surveying Conference, was outfitted for scientific work in western Lake Erie.  ADVENT arrived at Erieau on June 2 and continued operations until October 29 at which time she returned to Burlington.

Launches NIMBUS, NAUTILUS, a Boston Whaler and one aluminum workboat were prepared to support the Kingston survey.   The Boston Whaler and aluminum workboat along with related workboat along with related equipment were transported by road to the survey base located at Olympic Harbour.  C.S.L. NIMBUS and NAUTILUS departed from Burlington on May 24 after equipment trials and sailed to Olympic Harbour.  All the launches and equipment were used to survey the area between False Duck Islands and Simcoe Island.  This was completed on October 16 and the launches returned to Burlington.  Personnel from this survey have highly recommended the Nelson type launches for offshore surveys.  It was reported that these boats performed extremely well in conditions beyond the capability of the Bertram launches.

Four Botved launches, two Boston Whalers and crew were assigned to the St. Lawrence River survey based at Gananoque.  On May 1, boats and equipment were transported by road to the survey site and by May 8 launch sounding had commenced.  As a result of the extremely treacherous shoal-strewn waters along this section of the River, an inordinate number of propellers needed replacing.

Once again the Revisory Survey was carried out using one 19-foot fiberglass boat and a 17-foot Boston Whaler.  A coxswain and seaman operated these boats in areas ranging from the North Cannel in Lake Huron to the Ontario-Quebec border, including the Trent River Canal system.  The boats were towed on trailers between survey sites.  This field party left Burlington on May 7 and successfully operated throughout the summer months until October 22, when all boats and equipment were returned to Burlington.

CHS Central Region Staff

Regional Hydrographer                       - G.R.  Douglas
Asst. Regional Hydrographer - E. Brown 


Hydrographers                     - B.M. Wright, E.F. Thompson, R.A. Marshall, J. H. Wilson, R. J. Mahaffy, R.A. Covey, A. P. Welmers, P. Elliott, B. Eidsforth, J. G. Dixon, G. K. Thompson, J. J. Biggar, A.  J. Koudys, J. H. Weller, G. P. Fenn, J. Medendorp, F. Hall, P. V. Davies, R. C. Lewis, K. J. Hipkin, M. J. Casey, C. V. Gorski, R. A. Langford, B. R. Power, M. R. Crutchlow, K. W. Daechsel, D. G. Pugh, R. K. Beri, R. Treciokas, M. L. Powell, M. P. Bennett, J. R. MacDougall, R.C. Robitaille.

Chart Production

Chief                                                    - A. B. Thorson

Cartographers/multi-disciplinary Hydrographers

C. J. Elliott, M. T. Frederick, C.R. Fisher, M. A. Lloyd, B. R. Beale, R. P. Warren, B. E. Richards, B. Little, D. B. MacKenzie, S. Chander, A. P. Gris, A. M. Bonnici, R. E. Chapeskie, H. C. Nepomuceno, S. G. Bockmaster

Hydrographic Development Group

Head                                                    - G. Macdonald
Technical Staff                                    - B. Tinney, N. Prince 

Research and Development Section

Chief                                                    - N. G. Freeman

Survey Electronics

Head                                                    - W.W. Smith
Technical Staff                                    - R. Coons, H.J. Boyce, T. Dyas

Program Support

Head                                                    - E. O. Lewis

Computer Programming

Technical Staff                                    - C. Doekes, P. Varga, R. Dawson, B. Flemming, G. Rogers

Tides and Water Levels Section

Head                                                    - B. J. Tait
Technical Staff                                    - D.A. St. Jacques, R.R. Solvason

Tidal Instrumentation Development Group

Head                                                    - B.J. Tait
Technical Staff                                    - J.H. Thurm, J. Kozacyniski, R.B. Johns

Marine Information Centre

Head                                                    - A.R. Rogers
Technical Staff                                    - L. Mortimer

Hydrographic Data Centre

Head                                                    - A.R. Rogers
Technical Staff                                    - D. Robertson

Field Inspection Unit

Head                                                    - A.R. Rogers

Shore Property Studies

Head                                                    - W.S. Haras
Technical Staff                                    - R. Boyd, D. Sinoski, G. L. Boyd, D. Canning, K. Weaver 

Ships & Launches

Head                                                    - A. Quirk
Engineering Superintendent               - A.T. Hughes
Chief of Operations                             - W.S. Corkum
Boatshop Foreman                             - K.D. Robertson