Canadian Consulting Engineer

Flashbacks

A tragedy brings change

June 1, 2009   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A tragedy brings change

“On Saturday, February 28, 1959, at 9.30 in the morning, the Memorial Arena Building at Listowel, Ontario, collapsed and killed seven young hockey players and their coach. This awful and needless loss of human life could have been avoided. …

“Among the recommendations contained in the verdict of the Coroner’s Jury…

THAT legislation be enacted whereby all plans for arenas, public halls and public buildings (be they municipally or privately owned) shall be passed upon prior to construction, by the local building authorities, or by some proper provincial authority… and the construction of such buildings shall only be carried out under the supervision of a licensed and practicing architect or structural engineer…

Editorial, June 1959, Vol. 1, No. 1

Digital dawn

“The use of the computer will doubtless revolutionize design techniques and will develop design methods too cumbersome for manual use. This will make possible an entirely new approach to a wide range of engineers’ problems. It will also make possible the handling of complete designs automatically on the computer.” A. M. Lount, July/August 1959

Cold War fears

“There should be no sacrifice in quality in U. S. educational institutions and industry in order to get into ‘the numbers game’ with Rus- sia in the graduating of engineers, Harold A. Mosher, president of the National Society of Professional Engineers, declared recently. The warning was issued following Soviet Premier Khrushchev’s boast that Russia is graduating three times as many engineers as the United States. News Review, November 1959

Project management to the rescue

“… A developing trend is the introduction of a management group for overall guidance or control of the project. This group acts on behalf of not only the owner but the architect, engineer and contractor as well.” C. D. Carruthers, January 1969.

City-wide air-conditioning?

“Man’s environment in the future can be exactly what he wants it to be…. Terry McLorg, vice-president and general manager of Melco Air Conditioning Ltd. of Toronto, … sees city-wide climate control under domes as a logical extension of the total environment concept of heating, air conditioning, humidification and air cleaning installed in most office buildings and in many homes today.” Domed Cities, January 1969.

Metric inevitable?

“In Canada the consensus is that general conversion to the metric system is inevitable. The change, however, will be gradual and voluntary and heavily influenced by developments in the United States.”

John H. Jenkins, Canadian Standards Association, February 1969.

Campus antics in the 1960s

“Only a few Canadian universities have so far suffered the direct confrontation of student violence. The remainder are working feverishly to revise their administrative organiza- tion and to provide for student representation on committees, boards and councils. Whether this will forestall the riots is questionable. Some activists apparently are determined to create a confrontation …” Carson Morrison, January1969.

A mouse at the nuclear power plant

“Engineers on the $85-million nuclear power station project at Douglas Point, Ontario were held up when they tried to thread a cable through an underground conduit under the road at the site… A wild mouse solved the problem. Spotted near the conduit, he was quickly snared and promptly obliged by trotting swiftly through with the string tied to his tail. The string was used to pull the cable through and the mouse, its duty complete, was freed to wander.” Off the Cuff, February 1969.

On the way to urban sprawl

“Automated ways, which appear to be the most likely form for the new technology to take … will permit cities to spread so as to be large enough for 25 to 55 million people without crowding…. The guidance system may be either electronic or an improved rail system. Some type of electrical energy will probably be used for motive power.”

Norman D. Lea and

Malcolm S. Tanton, April 1969.

Unions — No Way

“The specter of some kind of unionization of large segments of the profession is always with us…. Certainly for those larger consulting firms with several professional engineers working on salary, [the issue] is every bit as significant as it is for an industrial firm employing engineers.” Ivan Finlay, February 1979.

Early Environmentalism

“The question is, what are we doing to harness the vast amount of renewable energy which is available to us? The answer is, practically nothing. Unfortunately, we are only looking at the short term picture and in our scramble for the almighty dollar we are looking at immediate profits to be made from the discovery and sale of oil and gas, and to a lesser extent nuclear energy, without taking effective steps to provide for the future.” J. Lunde, April 1979.

Oh so petite

“… small consulting engineering firms across Canada, on the average, employ 4.7 people. Medium firms provide jobs for an average of 14.5 people, while large firms reported to have an average of 58.8 employees on their payroll.”

Salary Survey, July 1979.

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Thanks to ACEC, Engineers Canada, PEO, Morrison Hershfield, Russ Noble, and Hans F. Schweinsberg, for providing material that helped us to compile this 50th Anniversary issue.


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