About Life of a Rock Star

This site tells the story of an extraordinary group of scientists who tramped, paddled and rolled across Canada in the nineteenth century to study the geology of Canada's varied terrain.

Crossing all types of rough ground, braving the climate and the bugs, and even fending off hungry horses, the scientists of the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) did work that had a significant impact on the development of a young nation and left a legacy that continues to this day. Despite its long and storied history, most Canadians know very little about the GSC and the vital role it played (and still plays) in the scientific, economic and cultural development of the nation. Even fewer know the human side of the story -- the tales of life in the bush, of disappointment and discovery, and of coal and dinosaurs. Presenting the GSC's early growth through the eyes of its nineteenth-century "rock stars," this interdisciplinary resource was developed in order to spark an interest in this national "rock group" and its accomplishments, while increasing knowledge about the natural and earth sciences that it studied.

Created by Library and Archives Canada and its collaborators, Natural Resources Canada, McGill University Archives, the National Library of Wales and the Toronto Public Library, this site draws on the documents, photographs and artifacts created or collected by the Geological Survey of Canada. Its educational resources provide classroom activities specifically designed for students in grades seven and eight (secondary I and II in Quebec), on the topics of earth sciences, the exploration of Canada's resources and the development of the Geological Survey of Canada. Library and Archives Canada has conducted a study of provincial and territorial curricula to identify the best curricular fit. This site's theme has curriculum tie-ins to science, geography, mathematics, history, language arts and the visual arts.

To learn more about the GSC, this site's collaborators also invite you to visit Written in Stone: Sir Written in Stone: William E. Logan and the Geological Survey of Canada, where you will be able to access, for the first time in one place, digital copies of many of the original documents created by the Survey's first "rock star."


The Life of a Rock Star Web exhibition was produced by the Web Content and Services Division of Library and Archives Canada, in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada, McGill University Archives, the National Library of Wales and the Toronto Public Library. The guidance and industry of the following were integral to this project:

Brian Shipley, research
Dale Simmons, text
Barb Cloutier, subject specialist, Earth Sciences Information Centre, Natural Resources Canada

We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the Department of Canadian Heritage, whose financial assistance through Canadian Culture Online (CCO) made this work possible.

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