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Photograph of an oil well being torpedoed at Petrolia, Ontario, 1886

Torpedoing an oil well, Petrolia, Ontario, 1886.
Photo taken by Robert Bell

The work done by 19th-century geologists to locate minerals and map the Canadian wilderness was essential to Canada's economic development. Still, a lot of their work went unnoticed.

While these geologists were often responsible for identifying where certain valuable resources could be found, it was other groups that actually dug the oil wells and mined for minerals. It was the Geological Survey of Canada's (GSC) work, though, that made these discoveries possible.

Along with many intriguing mineral and fossil finds, GSC geologists were the first to discover dinosaur remains in Canada. In fact, in 1884, while searching for coal along the Red Deer River in Alberta, Joseph Tyrrell found the skull of what would later be named Albertosaurus. Though Canada's major gold discovery came at the end of the 19th century, Ontario's oil boom began in 1865. First oil fever, then gold fever -- it is no wonder that Canadians became more interested in Canada's mineral resources and that the GSC became more and more famous.