Academic journal article The Canadian Geographer

Obituary / Notice Necrologique

Academic journal article The Canadian Geographer

Obituary / Notice Necrologique

Article excerpt

Dr. Lloyd George Reeds was one of the founding fathers of Canadian geography. Although not the first geographer at McMaster University, he effectively created the Department of Geography there, and steered it successfully through its first dozen years.

Lloyd was born on a farm near Lindsay, Ontario, and agriculture remained his principal academic specialty throughout his career. In 1940 he received his B.A. from Toronto University, and was awarded the Canadian Geographical Society Scholarship. He received his M.A. from Toronto University in 1942 with the thesis 'The Agricultural Geography of the Lindsay-Peterborough Region'. After a brief stint teaching at the Ontario Agricultural College, he joined the Royal Canadian Navy and served for the duration of the war.

Following the war he returned to Toronto University to commence work on his doctorate. It was Professor George Putnam who assigned him the task of analyzing the agriculture of Southern Ontario. Dr. Putnam is reputed to have said: "I have taken care of the geomorphology of Southern Ontario; now you handle the agriculture". In pursuing the research, Lloyd drove along every road in Southern Ontario and interviewed hundreds of farmers. The result was the impressive thesis, 'The Agricultural Geography of Southern Ontario', for which he was awarded a Ph.D. in 1956.

Prior to this in 1948 at the request of J. Wreford Watson, then the geographer at McMaster University, Reeds came to McMaster to teach. Within a year Dr. Watson had left to head the Geographical Branch in Ottawa, and Reeds was left alone not only with geography but also with anthropology. As only an acting chairman (Watson was technically on a leave of absence), Reeds faced the awesome task of establishing a department while scrounging for both space and personnel, and yet continuing his own thesis research. It is important then to realize that the highly respected department that ensued was a product of this one man's vision and efforts. He and his colleagues were required to teach a number and breadth of courses which would strike a current academic with horror. He introduced field work in the surrounding area, both rural and urban, and shared a September field camp with the University of Toronto.

The future of a department is often determined by the quality of its initial permanent appointments. Within his twelve year span as chairman, Lloyd Reeds created a first rate honours program and a Masters' probram, and the first course approved in the province for Type-A teaching certification (for high school teachers). By the time he stepped down from the chairmanship in 1961 a solid core of five members had been formed as a basic cadre for the great expansion that was to follow (these were Lloyd himself, Harold Wood, Lou Gentilcore, Derek Ford and Andrew Burghardt). In the 1960s, the department expanded and deepened, and a doctorate program was begun. …

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