Surveying the 120th Meridian and the Great Divide: The Alberta-B.C. Boundary Survey, 1918-1924

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Surveying the 120th Meridian

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In this highly visual and authoritative work, award-winning
author and historian Jay Sherwood returns to the Alberta/BC
boundary and the survey of one of Canada’s most stunningly
rugged landscapes.

The second in a two-book series, Surveying the 120th Meridian and
the Great Divide focuses on the second half of the initial Alberta/BC
boundary survey undertaken between 1913–1924. From 1918–1924, the
Alberta crew continued the survey of the 120th meridian while the BC
crew split off to continue mapping the Great (Continental) Divide.

The Alberta/BC boundary survey was a unique Canadian project that
combined talented surveyors, high-tech surveying equipment, rugged
crew members and Canadian wilderness. This is is a story of adventure
and danger: the crew climbed mountains and surveyed from the peaks
of the Canadian Rockies; slogged through the muskeg north of the
Peace River; occasionally crossed rivers at high water; and often worked
in the rain, snow or cold.

Thee boundary survey produced the first detailed maps of the terrain
along the divide and the first pictures of the northern Canadian Rockies
taken from an airplane. But the most important legacy of this project is
the collection of approximately 5,000 photographs developed from high quality glass plate negatives. These photographs provide full panoramas of the Rocky Mountain landscape as it looked over a century ago.
Surveying the 120th Meridian and the Great Divide combines the best of
these photographs, diary entries and government documents to recount
the astonishing journey of the surveyors and their crew members as they
explored Canada’s most dramatic landscape.

Written by Jay Sherwood

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