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Celebrating 125 Years of the Ontario Geological Survey

Archived News Release

Celebrating 125 Years of the Ontario Geological Survey

Ontario Recognizing Milestone for Key Research Institution

The Ontario Geological Survey is celebrating 125 years of documenting the geology of Ontario and providing modern, independent and credible geoscience data and knowledge to the public.

Since its establishment, the Ontario Geological Survey has contributed significantly to fostering investment in Ontario, protecting public health and safety, informing environmental and land-use planning decisions, and helping the province become Canada's top mineral jurisdiction.

Accomplishments include:

  • Establishing a world-class geochronology facility in Toronto,
  • Conducting 3D mapping of groundwater aquifers in southern Ontario,
  • Producing mapping and till sampling data that led to the discovery of gold deposits near Fort Frances,
  • Preparing National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronauts for a lunar mission,
  • Creating nearly 14,000 publicly available geoscience products, and;
  • Providing geoscience training to thousands of university students.

The Ontario Geological Survey began as the Ontario Bureau of Mines in 1891, with a mandate to aid in promoting Ontario's mining interests. Through key collaborations and advancing geoscience data collection techniques, the organization evolved into a globally renowned survey that is now at the forefront of geological research.

Growing the mining sector by providing credible geoscience data is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

Quick Facts

  • In 1902, Ontario appointed its first provincial geologist, Willet Green Miller. Ninety years later, the Ontario Geological Survey relocated from Toronto to the newly constructed Willet Green Miller Centre on the campus of Laurentian University in Sudbury in 1992.
  • Today, information about Ontario’s geology and topography, mineral resources, groundwater aquifers and geophysical geochemical data is readily accessible on the OGS Earth web page.
  • The Ontario Geological Survey has published nearly 14,000 geoscience products, including over 10,000 maps. Some 85,830 analyses were performed in the Ontario Geological Survey Geoscience Labs in 2014-15 alone.
  • Geoscience experts with the Ontario Geological Survey conduct field and lab research to assess Ontario’s resource potential in order to identify mineral deposits for exploration and development, possible natural hazards affecting public health and safety, and informing provincial policy and public land-use planning decisions.
  • As the steward of Ontario’s public geoscience data and information, all Ontario Geological Survey geoscience data collected since 1891 is available for free download including over 10,000 geoscience maps.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“For 125 years, the Ontario Geological Survey has played a vital role in the success and growth of Ontario’s mineral development sector, and there are countless examples of how Ontario Geological Survey studies, data and maps have provided guidance leading to major mining investments in our province. This milestone anniversary is about celebrating the Ontario Geological Survey’s past success, while looking forward to what the future has in store for this valuable organization.”

Michael Gravelle

Minister of Northern Development and Mines

“The Ontario Geological Survey conducts field and analytical work to assess Ontario’s mineral resource potential and attract mineral development investment to the province. The work of the survey also helps to identify geological hazards and inform provincial land-use planning decisions related to groundwater, the environment, ecology, climate change and public health and safety.”

Jack Parker

Acting Director, Ontario Geological Survey

“Our new ‘Saturday Night’ exploration target would not have been identified without the airborne geophysical survey data collected and published by the Ontario Geological Survey, and its strong commitment to encouraging exploration for nickel, copper and platinum-group metals in the Thunder Bay area.”

Scott McLean

President and CEO, Transition Metals Corp

“Located in Sudbury since the early 1990s, the Ontario Geological Survey has helped invigorate both the engineering and geology programs at Laurentian University, and has been a key driver in the establishment of Northern Ontario’s world-class mining supply and services cluster.”

Dr. David Robinson

Economist and Associate Professor, Laurentian University

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