SPE Celebrates Canada 150
Recognizing past and future engineering innovations
Throughout 2017, OSPE is highlighting how engineers have shaped Canada. We’ll be hosting events, spearheading initiatives and sharing stories focused on industries and projects that involve engineering across Ontario and how they’ve contributed to Canada’s past, present and future.
Upcoming events - check back regularly for details
Ontario Professional Engineers Awards GalaNovember 18,
Hosted by John Moore of NewsTalk 1010 Canada 150: Recognizing Past, Present and Future Engineering Innovations
Taking flight on the Canada 150 Global Odyssey (C150GO) and Member AppreciationJune 11,
Join us at the Canadian Aviation Space Museum to network, learn about some of the unique features of the Bell 429 helicopter and to find out more about the C150GO's mission to raise awareness about Canadian engineering accomplishments and innovation. Hors d'oeuvres and cash bar to follow.
Spark the Fire: Realizing the Untapped Potential of Ontario's NorthMay 12,
North Bay, Ontario
Industry, government, First Nations and engineers will come together to discuss the sustainable economic development of the north, including the future of energy, infrastructure and mining in the region.
OSPE’s MPP Queen's Park Reception
National Engineering Month (NEM 2017)
March 2017 | Find out more
150 Ways Engineering Has Shaped Canada
The de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter
First flown in 1951, the de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter is a versatile bush plane with short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities, making it well suited to operate in extreme conditions on wheels, floats, skis or tundra tires. Larger and more powerful than its predecessor, the de Havilland Otter opened up Canada’s north to industry and commerce. Until the 1980s, the aircraft was also used by the Royal Canadian Airforce for the purposes of Canadian Search and Rescue (CSR) and light utility transport of Canadian cargo.
- Alouette I
Launched in 1962, the Alouette I was the first Canadian satellite. Developed by Canada's Defence and Research Telecommunications Establishment (DRTE), the Alouette I marked Canada’s entry into the space age and made Canada the first nation, after the Russian and American superpowers, to design and build its own artificial Earth satellite. Now deactivated, the satellite studied the ionosphere from above. The mechanical frame and deployable STEM antennas were made by de Havilland Canada (DHC) in Downsview, Ontario. The satellite’s batteries, which were partially responsible for the satellite’s longevity, were developed by a branch of Defence Research and Development Canada.
- NASA Mars Rover, Curiosity
In November 2011, NASA launched a rover called Curiosity into space to explore the planet Mars and determine if the planet’s physical conditions can support life. The rover carries a Canadian-made geology instrument that can determine the chemical composition of rocks and soil on Mars. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) designed this Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) so that a main electronics unit in the rover’s body works together with a sensor head on the robotic arm to measure the emitted x-ray spectrum and collect data for analysis.
- The Avro Arrow
The Avro Arrow was a cutting-edge hypersonic fighter jet that made its first test flight in 1958, just months before the plane was controversially destroyed by the federal government. A symbol of Canadian innovation, the twin engine, all-weather interceptor jet was the world’s fastest and most advanced long-range interceptor aircraft at the time. The jet was developed by A.V. Roe of Canada to carry air-to-air nuclear-tipped missiles to destroy Soviet bomb attacks over the Canadian North. To this day, Canadian aerospace experts ponder the other transportation innovations that could have come out the dismantled Avro design department.
The Bell 429 helicopter
The Bell 429 is the most modern light twin helicopter on the market today. Of a clean sheet design, the Bell 429 was created by a conceptual design team of about 20 engineers from the Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. plants in Mirabel, Quebec and Fort Worth, Texas. Once the preliminary design was established, a team of approximately 300 engineers carried out the detailed design, build, initial flight testing, development and certification testing of the Bell 429 in Mirabel. Some of the most unique engineering and design features of the Bell 429 include its run-dry transmission capability of over three hours and live mount vibration control. Learn more about the engineering behind the Bell 429 in this article from OSPE’s The Voice magazine.
- Honeywell Aspire 200
The Honeywell Aerospace Aspire® 200 Satellite Communications System is Honeywell's smallest Inmarsat SwiftBroadband system. Designed and manufactured in Ottawa, Ontario, the Aspire 200 Satellite Communications System enables simultaneous voice and data connectivity at rates up to 650kbps on all classes of aircraft. The system was carefully engineered to overcome common connectivity challenges onboard helicopters, including mitigating the impacts of rotor blockage and high levels of vibration. Having reliable access to large amounts of data at high speeds throughout a flight increases efficiency and enhances safety. The system, for example, enables critical communication between the aircraft and the ground and ensures engine performance information is sent to the maintenance department while in flight.
C150 Global Odyssey propels Canadian engineering into the spotlight
On July 1st, Bob Dengler, P.Eng., and his son Steven Dengler will celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary and their passion for engineering by completing the first Canadian circumnavigation of the globe by helicopter. The C150GO team will visit national and international landmarks of Canadian engineering significance and will share their travels on social media so that Canadians and the world can appreciate each feat of engineering in more tangible terms. The duo are applying their engineering backgrounds in a number of ways, from careful flight planning to ensure all legs of the journey remain within the range of the helicopter, to frequent risk analyses that consider the physical performance of the helicopter. Learn more about C150GO in this article from OSPE’s The Voice magazine.
- Julie Payette, the second Canadian woman to fly in space
Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Julie Payette is an electrical and computer engineer who is a member of L’ Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec (OIQ). In 1992, she was selected by the Canadian Space Agency to become an astronaut. Payette, who worked as a technical advisor for an advanced robotics system contributed by Canada to the International Space Station (ISS), became the first Canadian astronaut to visit the Space Station. In 2009, Payette served as the flight engineer aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, where she operated three robotic arms – the Shuttle's Canadarm, the Station's Canadarm2 and an arm on Japan’s Kibo space facility.
- The world's first anti-gravity suit
In 1940, the University of Toronto's Professor Wilbur R. Franks designed the world's first anti-gravity suit for air force pilots, who frequently blacked out from intense g-force pressures during flight. Franks noticed that when packed in water, his test tubes did not shatter during centrifugal testing, so he applied similar tactics to the human body when designing his rubber-based suit. Franks personally tested the anti-gravity suit at Camp Borden west of Barrie, Ontario, until it created enough hydrostatic pressure to safely counter centrifugal forces. Franks' suit has fundamentally influenced the design of the modern anti-gravity gear.
- The first mass produced airplane in Canada
First flown in 1917, the Curtiss JN-4 "Canuck" was the first aircraft to be mass produced in Canada. Canadian Aeroplanes Ltd. of Toronto built about 1,200 JN-4 Canucks—the standard training plane used by the British and American Air Forces during the First World War. Known for its stability and manoeuverability, the JN-4 Canuck became the go-to aircraft for stunt flights and achieved more "firsts" than any other Canadian aircraft. This model was the first to cross the Canadian Rockies and to deliver airmail in Canada.
- First powered flight in Canada
On February 23, 1909, aviation pioneer and engineer John Alexander Douglas McCurdy, made the first powered flight in Canada in a plane called the Silver Dart. Taking off from frozen Bras d'Or Lake at Baddeck on Cape Breton Island, the plane was constructed by the Aerial Experiment Association, which was founded by Alexander Graham Bell and several other prominent engineers. The plane was powered by a 40-horsepower Curtiss engine and was composed of steel tubing, bamboo, friction tape, wire, wood and rubberized silk balloon cloth. Unlike the Wright Brothers' plane, the Silver Dart had a three-wheel undercarriage that enabled it to take off without the use of a catapult aid. Learn more about the Silver Dart in this archived CBC interview with J.A.D. McCurdy.
- Engineering graduates as ideal astronauts
Travelling through space is a physically and psychologically demanding undertaking. Engineers are often particularly suited to participate in space missions because of their technical competence, analytical outlooks, problem-solving abilities and whole-systems thinking. Take a look at the remarkable profiles of the engineering graduates (many of whom were educated in Ontario) who are on the Canadian Space Agency's list of astronaut candidates.
- Celebrating a historical female engineer
Elizabeth Muriel Gregory "Elsie" MacGill, was the first woman to graduate with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto. She later became the first woman to earn a Master's degree in aeronautical engineering. During World War II, she became the chief aeronautical engineer heading the production of the Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft. MacGill is considered the first woman aircraft designer.
- Creating the Canadarm
The Canadarm is a remote-controlled robotic arm originally used on the NASA's Space Shuttle orbiters and currently aboard the International Space Station. The first arm was produced in 1981 by a team of Canadian engineers from Toronto and Montreal who applied their knowledge from previous work on a robotic arm used in the CANDU nuclear power system.
- The Trans Canada Highway
The Trans-Canada Highway, which officially opened in 1962, extends 7,821 kilometres from Victoria, British Columbia to St. John's, Newfoundland, making it the world's longest national highway. The Trans-Canada Highway links several provincial highways and includes Confederation Bridge, Canso Causeway and three ferry routes. Construction of the highway formally began in 1950 and required innovative construction and paving techniques to navigate sections of isolated wilderness, British Columbia's mountains, northern Ontario's swamps, and even Prince Edward Island's flat terrain, where rock had to be shipped across the Northumberland Straight to construct the highway's base.
Photo Credit: C150 Global Odyssey, flight over Confederation Bridge on July 3rd, 2017.
- Rides, rollercoasters and Canada's Wonderland
Opening in 1981, Canada's Wonderland became the first major amusement park in Canada. Twelve Canadian engineering and architectural firms collaborated to design and construct the park. Structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, among others, continue to work on the design, build and maintenance of the park's rollercoasters and rides. Materials selection, track development and the inspection of mechanical parts from chain lifts to braking systems are only some of the responsibilities of amusement park engineers. Check out this video on the engineering behind a rollercoaster.
- The earliest snow research
Ontario-born mechanical engineering graduate George Klein was deemed "Canada's leading expert in snow cover physics and mechanics" in the 1930s. Klein helped create the international classification system for ground-cover snow, which guides research in construction, transportation and avalanche prevention. He was also a leading designer of aircraft skis, which he cleverly added to bush planes to promote the exploration of previously inaccessible areas of Canadian terrain. The mechanical instruments he developed for the military during WWII were later adapted to create the first military snow vehicle.
- The Gordie Howe International Bridge
Projected to open to traffic in 2022, the Gordie Howe International Bridge will connect Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan, fostering transportation improvements for international travellers and economic opportunities for the region. Though not yet built, the bridge was recently awarded the 2017 Engineering Project of the Year Award at the 10th Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum in Montreal for the planned incorporation of distinctive features, including customs plazas and a bike and pedestrian path. Proposed designs include a cable-stayed and a suspension cable bridge.
- Creating connections through waterways
The Rideau Canal–the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America–still runs along its original line and with most of its original structures intact. Lieutenant-Colonel John By of the Royal Engineers designed and supervised the construction of the 202-kilometre canal through tough rocky terrain and bush. The waterway played a pivotal role in the early development of Canada by transporting migrants and supplies.
- Improving efficiency and safety
Elijah McCoy was an African-Canadian mechanical engineer who patented over 50 inventions, including the portable ironing board and lawn sprinkler. McCoy is best known, for his self-regulating drip-cup lubricator, which drastically improved efficiency and safety aboard locomotives and in factories and mines in the early 1870s. "The Real McCoy"–a phrase still used today–was adopted by buyers to distinguish between the high-quality original and lower quality imitation devices. Learn more on the Society Notes blog.
- Connecting Canada from coast to coast
The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) or transcontinental railway was a feat of engineering that played an important role in the expansion of Confederation, promoting the settlement of Western Canada. The railway is marvelled not only because of its challenging construction through the rock and muskeg of the Canadian Shield, but over the years, the CPR has also helped spur new industries rich in engineering influence, including the development of new shipping lines, airlines, and the mining and telecommunications industries.
- William Gordon Morison, P.Eng., and Canada's nuclear energy program
William Gordon Morison, P.Eng., helped design the first CANDU reactor and is remembered as a pioneer of Canada's nuclear energy program. Morison was head of engineering at Ontario Hydro during the development of the nuclear power program in the late 1960s - early 1970s. He was Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.'s chief design engineer for both the Pickering and Bruce Nuclear Generating Stations. Morison also played an instrumental role in maintaining the highest safety and production standards during the construction of the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station, despite Ontario hydro's many budgetary and scheduling setbacks.
- The first Canadian nuclear reactor
During his time at the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), George Klein was the chief engineer and mechanical designer of the Zero Energy Experimental Pile (ZEEP), located near Chalk River. ZEEP was the first nuclear reactor outside of the United States to sustain nuclear fission.
- Inventing alkaline & lithium batteries
Lewis Frederick Urry, an Ontario-born chemical engineering graduate and inventor, is credited with inventing both the alkaline and lithium battery. His revolutionary decision to create cells with acid-neutralizing materials and powdered zinc, extended the life span of the battery. Before his death in 2004, Urry achieved 51 patents. Read more in this article from The Globe and Mail.
Countertop hydroponic growing system
Jolien van Gaalen and Richard Lacroix, two Western University engineering students, placed first in the Innovative Design category at the 2017 Ontario Engineering Competition (OEC) for their automated growing system, Migrova. The hydroponic (soil free) system can produce as much as half a kilogram of fresh microgreens every week. These greens are produced from the seeds of small vegetables and are harvested as soon as they reach about 10 cm and the first leaves develop, meaning they are dense in nutrition. The product’s current focus on microgreens lends itself to practical, efficient and affordable operation. The user can even control the system’s irrigation and lighting using an app on their smartphones for ease of use.
- Municipal wastewater and potable water treatment systems
In the early 1950s, raw sewage from municipalities across Canada was still being discharged directly into the country’s freshwater lakes and rivers without being treated. The engineering firm Gore & Storrie (G&S), which became part of CH2M Hill, was responsible for the design and construction of at least 33 water purification plants and 100 sanitary sewage treatment plants across Canada and the United States between 1909-1998. The R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, for example, continues to provide safe drinking water to Toronto and York Region and was declared a national historic civil engineering site in 1992. Learn more about the history of water treatment in Ontario in this OSPE blog post.
- Residential river turbine for green energy
Two engineering graduates from Quebec have developed the Idénergie river turbine that converts the kinetic energy of river currents into electricity. The technology is intended to make renewable energy practical and affordable for homeowners. The turbine's subwater electric generator technology provides 24 hours of constant energy at a maximum capacity of 12 kWh. A bi-directional converter facilitates the transportation of electricity to the turbine's batteries over long distances without significant losses. The Darrieus-type turbines are shown to present no harm to the river ecosystem and aquatic fauna.
- Nanoflotation technology for oil sands water treatment
David Bromley, P.Eng., president of David Bromley Engineering, invented a cost effective "Nanoflotation" technology that reduces the energy required to filter water involved in oil sands mining operations by up to 65 per cent. The technology uses a concentrated ionically charged environment to separate colloidal solids from the fluid medium for removal. The process reduces carbon emissions during water treatment, and reduces the number of chemicals required to treat process water by 86 percent. Nanoflotation allows oil sands operators to reuse all process water, thereby reducing the size of tailings ponds and amount of offsite disposal from oil sands mining operations.
- Embracing the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system is recognized as the international mark of excellence for green building in over 140 countries. Outside of the US, Canada has the largest number of both LEED-certified and LEED-registered buildings in the world. As of March 2016, engineers have played a leading role in the creation of about 44 million m² of LEED New Construction (NC) buildings and about 24 million m² of existing building projects in Canada.
- Developing community solutions in northern Ontario
In July 2016, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada put out a request for proposals to study the economic sustainability of greenhouses in northern communities. The long distances that food must be transported, high rates of spoilage, limited availability and high cost of food products, has prompted engineers and engineering graduates, like Andreas Zailo to develop sustainable, hybrid solar/geothermal greenhouse models.
- Specialized robot to defuse landmines
Richard Yim, a University of Waterloo mechanical engineering graduate, started a company called The Landmine Boys to develop a robotic device for defusing landmines without human interaction. Based out of Velocity, Waterloo's startup incubator, the team has developed a portable excavator that safely digs up landmines while stabilizing the detonator to prevent an explosion. The robot then cuts the landmine open to steam out the TNT explosives inside.
- Innovation in industrial measurement
Founded in 1953 by George Kelk, P.Eng., KELK (now Vishay Precision Group Canada) is a Canadian company specializing in the design and manufacture of electronic measurement equipment used mainly in steel and aluminum rolling mills, paper mills and mining applications around the world. To create his custom-engineered sensors, Kelk applied the experience he acquired while working on strain gages for the stress testing of jet engine turbines in the Orenda jet engines division at AVRO Canada. To this day, Canada is known to produce the toughest and the most precise tension sensors for use in the harshest steel mill environments around the world.
- Industrializing Canada's agricultural-based economy
Civil engineer C.D. Howe relocated from Massachusetts to become Dalhousie University's first professor of civil engineering. Between 1916-1935, he designed grain elevators that were quicker and more economical to build than competitor models. His design for the Dominion-Howe unloader further increased efficiency by significantly reducing the amount of time required to empty a grain car.
Professional engineers’ roles in Fort McMurray Wildfire Response
When wildfires devastated the Fort McMurray region last spring, Alberta professional engineers and professional geoscientists played a crucial role in the response. Professional engineers assisted with recovery efforts for essential services, including natural gas, electricity, and water; took on roles as auxiliary firefighters; helped assess infrastructure damage; and were part of the rebuilding efforts. When it was safe, for instance, professional engineers helped get oil sands facilities back up and running to lessen the disaster’s economic impact.
Rehabilitation of the Government Conference Center, Ottawa
OSPE member and mentor Lisa Nicol, P.Eng., is a partner at John G. Cooke & Associates Ltd. Consulting Engineers in Ottawa. The company is working on a project that will allow the Government Conference Center to be repurposed as the temporary home of the Senate while renovation work continues on Parliament Hill. The project, which is scheduled to be completed by September 2018, and features several new floor plates, a new addition, and has been seismically upgraded to the current Building Code. Finding creative ways to use existing buildings brings new life to the structure and is a fantastic example of how engineering contributes to the improvement of community and society.
- Seismic Resilience of Infrastructure
University of Toronto civil engineering professor Constantin Christopoulos, P.Eng., is developing self-centering seismic resistant systems that will make built infrastructure more resilient to the effects of severe winds and earthquakes. Christopoulos has pioneered the development of new self-centering and energy absorbing systems that aim to eliminate damage to structures when subjected to extreme meteorological hazards. His research also explores areas such as the use of steel castings to enhance the seismic performance of infrastructure, seismic isolation and energy dissipation strategies and vibration-based health monitoring of structures.
The golden era of engineering in Ontario
In the 1950s, Ontario’s civil engineers helped design and build much of the infrastructure that continues to define our province,
municipalitiesand way of life. In a very short period of time, engineering graduates, such as the 1951 Queen’s University civil engineering class (pictured below) designed and built sewage and wastewater treatment plants, sanitary landfills, power plants, power lines and major roadways like four-lane express highways, which continue to be extended, improved upon and repaired by engineers today.
OSPE members Bob Goodings, P.Eng., and Bill Goodings, P.Eng., photographed with their classmates after receiving their iron rings in 1951.
- The Distillery District
Toronto's Distillery District, now a national historic site and restored tourist destination, was once the fully operational Gooderham and Worts Distillery. The entire district was primarily designed by David Roberts, Sr., a civil engineer, and his son David Roberts, Jr., an architect. In 1858, David Roberts, Sr. began constructing the Great Stone Distillery, which was considered the most ambitious industrial building erected in the city at the time. Roberts introduced novel infrastructural designs and materials, including the use of red-brick and panel-and-pier construction. He also managed the entire construction process, oversaw the distillery's steam-powered machinery and introduced new manufacturing and purification processes.
- The Trans Canada Pipeline
The TransCanada Pipeline is a system of natural gas pipelines that extend from Alberta to Quebec and into parts of the United States. Thanks to the influence of C.D. Howe, P.Eng., TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. began constructing the pipeline along an all-Canadian route in the early 1950s. Engineers built the pipeline through even the most arduous sections of terrain, including the 1,090-kilometre-long section through the Canadian Shield, which required precise blasting procedures. For two decades, the TransCanada Pipeline was considered the longest in the world. Today, pipeline engineers continue to maintain the integrity of the pipeline, managing re-coating processes, safety inspections, the evaluation of geotechnical hazards, ground stability, excavations and more.
- The St. Lawrence Seaway
The St. Lawrence Seaway links the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River with the Atlantic Ocean, making it the longest deep-draft navigation system in the world. Four of the canals on the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River were completed by The Royal Engineers as early as 1783. The seven locks built between Montreal and Lake Ontario, alone, are recognized as one of the most challenging feats of engineering in history. The engineering behind the St. Lawrence Seaway also includes the construction of bridges and tunnels; the creation of Lake St. Lawrence; and the relocation of highways and residential communities.
- The first NRC wind tunnels
During his time with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), mechanical engineering graduate George Klein conducted critical wind tunnel research and aeronautical studies that helped progress Canada's aviation manufacturing industry, as well as the construction of streamliner locomotives, bridges and buildings. Klein's contributions to the construction of the "nine-foot wind tunnel" improved the assessment of new products and processes. For instance, his closed-circuit Göttingen design reduced energy use and helped control the effects of external variables during testing.
- The Union Station Train Shed Project
Every day an average of 200,000 commuters pass through Toronto's Union Station, which is Canada's busiest passenger transportation hub. Metrolinx and The City of Toronto began the Union Station Revitalization Project in 2010 to optimize the station's operations capacity. Engineers, heritage architects and Parks Canada have collaborated to responsibly update this designated heritage structure, blending innovative design and historic structural features. Learn more about some of the engineering challenges that the team encountered in this OSPE blog post.
- Restoring water security to Constance Lake First Nation
Many First Nations across Ontario cope with boil water advisories, aging water treatment infrastructure and poor surface-based drinking water supplies. Engineers play an important role in establishing facilities like the Constance Lake Water Treatment Plant, which permit sustainable maintenance costs and operational requirements. The Constance Lake Water Treatment plant features innovative technologies like greensand filtration equipment that address unsafe levels of iron and manganese in the groundwater supply. OSPE member Wesley Bova, P.Eng., discusses his role in the development of the plant in this OSPE blog post.
- Revolutionizing the steel-making industry
Retired Canadian engineer Gerald Heffernan pioneered a more efficient and cost-effective process to produce steel. Referred to as mini-mill steel manufacturing, Heffernan's innovative process combines continuous casting with the use of enhanced electric arc furnaces. This self-contained practice allows mills to recycle scrap metal and does not require the use of coke ovens and blast furnaces, thereby mitigating harmful environmental effects. Heffernan was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1987 for his efforts.
- Anchoring high rises into moving ground
Glaciers that once stood where Toronto exists today pressed the Earth's crust into the soft mantle beneath it. Today, the mantle continues to rebound, causing Toronto's skyline to raise an amount roughly equivalent to the thickness of a nickel, every year. As a result, anchoring high rises into moving ground is a challenge for the city's engineers and required specialized building techniques to accommodate. Check out Strip the City's video clip: 5:15 - 9:00 minute mark.
- Building protection during times of conflict
The Fortress of Louisbourg marks a 1713 French settlement on Cape Breton Island that was fortified to protect against threat of British invasion. Parisian military engineer, Jean-Francois du Verger de Verville, originally designed this National Historic Site, including the
citadelbarracks, and drew the first plan of the town. Verville shrewdly selected the location so as to take advantage of its natural barriers within his design.
- Creating the world's first underwater pedestrian tunnel
The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Pedestrian Tunnel is the world's first underwater pedestrian tunnel to an airport. During the tunnel's construction, it was the first time that a seven-drift arch pre-support excavation technique was used in Canada. The use of seven smaller, concrete-filled tunnels that arch over the main tunnel allowed excavation to continue under the crown while enabling the tunnel to hold its shape. This feet of engineering rests 100 feet below Lake Ontario's Western Channel and is 260 metres in length.
- Accommodating urban population growth
architectsand developers are helping accommodate urban population growth, while reducing land usage, by supporting vertical development. Canada is currently ranked seventh in the world and second in North America based on the number of completed buildings standing at 150 metrestall and higher.
- Building the tallest tower in the world (between 1976-2010!)
Toronto's CN Tower held onto its title as the world's tallest tower, building and freestanding structure from 1976-2010. The 553.33-metre-tall phenomenon was built to last, harnessing innovative engineering techniques that include a hexagonal concrete core with embedded post-tension cables and a centre of gravity less than 61 metres from the ground.
- Creating the world's first fully retractable roof
The Rogers Centre or "Skydome" is recognized as the world's first fully retractable
roof,and is made up of four panels–three of which open in a smooth, circular motion. Although the roof covers a whopping 8 acres and weighs 11,000 tonnes, this feat of engineering nonetheless opens and closes in only 20 minutes.
- Conserving Canada's history
A heritage preservation movement has developed in many Canadian cities. From national parks to historical forts and
waterfrontrevitalizations, engineers work closely with multi-disciplinary teams of professionals like architects, archaeologists and historians to adhere to the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. Engineers can help balance the conservation of various structures and materials, with the smooth integration of modern updates and sustainability interventions.
Milica Radisic, P.Eng., Ph.D., Engineering Cardiac Tissues to Fight Heart Disease
OSPE Board Director Milica Radisic, P.Eng., is making waves in the fields of cardiac tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In her lab at the University of Toronto Engineering, Dr. Radisic and her team transform human stem cells into miniature, beating heart tissues as well as liver tissue that can metabolize certain drugs. Dr. Radisic is the co-founder of a start-up company called TARA Biosystems, which is focused on the use of engineered tissues in drug development and testing. In the future, these functioning tissues could be implanted back into the body to repair organs damaged by disease or injury.
Learn more about Dr. Radisic’s revolutionary work in the September 2016 issue of The Voice magazine.
- Pre-eminent advocate for the advancement of women in engineering
Dr. Monique Frize, P.Eng., was the first woman to graduate from the University of Ottawa with a degree in electrical engineering. A renowned researcher in the field of biomedical engineering, Dr. Frize has more than 250 peer-reviewed publications on subjects like medical imaging, biomedical instrumentation and ethics. Throughout her career, she also worked in developing countries like Bangladesh and Haiti, helping manage their medical devices. Dr. Frize, who wrote a book about the experiences of pioneering women in engineering, has always championed the advancement of women the profession, and in 1993, she was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada, the country’s highest civilian honour.
- Health technologies for self-care of complex chronic conditions
Biomedical Engineer Dr. Joseph Cafazzo, P.Eng., Director of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, designs and evaluates self-care technologies for patients with complex chronic conditions. For instance, Dr. Cafazzo and his team have developed a mobile phone self-management system for adolescents with type 1 diabetes called bant. This application uses Bluetooth to automatically translate blood sugar readings to patients' iPhones, identifies trends and uses social media and games to incentivize young patients to take their readings regularly.
- The first microsurgical staple gun
Mechanical engineering graduate George Klein, who was inducted into the Canadian Science and Engineering Hall of Fame, was a co-inventor of the first microsurgical staple gun. This microsurgical suturing device helped envelope and reconnect severed blood vessels, arteries and veins. Though outdated by today's medical standards, the tool was used in hundreds of experimental surgeries in the 1960s and 1970s.
- Spearheading pacemaker technology
John Hopps, P.Eng., is considered the Father of Biomedical Engineering in Canada. Hopps produced an electrode that could stimulate the lining of the heart and shock irregular heart contractions into a normal rhythm, without opening a patient's chest. The early pacemaker was too large for implantation, but in 1958, the pacemaker was implanted into a human for the first time.
Improved Hydraulic Air Compressor for deep mining
On June 21, OSPE visited Dynamic Earth in Sudbury to witness the unveiling of a readapted Hydraulic Air Compressor (HAC) demonstrator, which is designed to cool the air and improve ventilation in ultra-deep mines. The 100-foot-tall industrial scale system builds on the technology of a hydraulic air compressor plant designed by Canadian engineer Charles Havelock Taylor in 1910 for the Cobalt mining camp in Ontario. The new technology similarly uses intake pipes at the top of the shaft to plunge air into contained water with such force that it compresses the air, so that it can be piped to mines to provide pneumatic power. The new technology will, however, also attempt to address limitations of this type of system by, for example, exploring how salts can reduce the amount of oxygen that remains dissolved in the water reserves.
- Roy Slack, P.Eng., and Cementation Canada’s focus on value-added engineering
OSPE member Roy Slack, P.Eng., President of Cementation Canada Inc., was recently appointed Incoming President Elect of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. Slack has helped shape the development of northern Ontario. Rather than outsourcing engineering projects, Slack established a collaborative contractual model where in-house engineering professionals work closely with a technical team to support the contracting division. Cementation has been responsible for noteworthy projects such as the longest and largest diameter raise ever bored in the Canadian Shield. Under Slack’s leadership, Cementation was also one of three groups chosen by the Chilean government in 2010 to help rescue the 33 miners trapped underground when a San Jose copper-gold mine caved in. Slack has also influenced technical innovations in mechanizing mine shaft sinking, increasing productivity and decreasing construction cost, while making operations safer.
- SNOLAB in Lively, Ontario
SNOLAB is an international science facility located two kilometres underground in the Vale Creighton mine near Sudbury, Ontario. The high standard of cleanliness and great depth at which SNOLAB is located, create an environment of ultra-low radioactivity that allow engineers, chemists, physicists, microbiologists and other science and technology professionals to study rare interactions and weak processes. The programme is currently focussed on sub-atomic physics, neutrino and dark matter physics. The facility was equipped with feature advanced IT systems, state-of-the-art electronics labs, clean-rooms, detector cavities, chemistry labs, ladder labs, cyropits and more. For an inside perspective on SNOLAB, check out our interview with OSPE member Mark Hodak, P.Eng., Executive Project Manager, SNOLAB, and Lead Commissioning Engineer of key elements of SNO+ operational processes.
- The Detour Lake Mine
The Detour Lake mine, located in northeastern Ontario, is one of the largest gold-producing mines in Canada. Exploration continues on this large-scale open pit mine, which is estimated to contain a reserve of at least 16.4 million ounces of gold. The mine's facilities use state-of-the-art technology and masterfully engineered processes to minimize the environmental impacts of the operation and protect nearby wildlife. For example, the Detour Lake mining operation's conventional gravity, cyanidation and carbon-in-pulp processing facility recycles its cyanide solution to reduce operating costs and consequences.
- Bringing the industrial Internet of Things to the mining industry
Edmonton-based company Scanimetrics is bringing the industrial Internet of Things into the mining space by using wireless sensors that can be fitted to anything (a person, a vehicle, a tool) in the harshest of conditions to monitor operations from thousands of miles away. Sensor pods run off a battery that can last up to a year on one charge and transmit to a repeater, data capture unit or Internet gateway. Scanimetrics then analyzes the data and turns it into digestible visualizations.
- The Role of Engineers in Policy Advocacy
Manitoba-based Eric Hinton, P.Eng., is a driver of leading-edge #mining solutions and was the 2016 recipient of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum's Mining Engineering Outstanding Achievement Award. Hinton is the co-owner of three important patents concerning the operation of underground autonomous loading equipment, 3D mapping of rock faces, and analyses of rock fragmentation.
Bridgit – a construction punch list solution
Lauren Lake, a structural engineering graduate from the University of Western, is the co-founder and Chief Risk Officer at Bridgit. Bridgit is a mobile app and web platform for the construction industry that allows real-time communication between the general contractor and subcontractors to decrease the number and cost of delays on-site. By April 2016, the startup had raised $2.2M in seed financing, which was used to hire additional software engineers and expand sales into the United States. Bridgit won season two of the Business News Network’s show “The Disruptors,” and was the only Canadian company selected for Google Demo Day – Women’s Edition, which the company also won. Lauren is an active mentor for young women in the construction and STEM fields.
- The Royal Canadian Mint – A high-tech world leader
The Royal Canadian Mint’s headquarters in Ottawa and manufacturing plant in Winnipeg, together, represent one of the world’s most sophisticated minting operations. Not only are the facilities equipped with advanced coin production technologies, the in-house research and development team continuously innovates to identify new applications for procedures and machines. The Royal Canadian Mint’s team of engineers helped produce the first and largest 9999 fine gold bullion coin, and have patented cost-saving plated coin technology, as well as a locking mechanism for high security bi-metallic coinage. They also have patents pending for coloured coin technology, hologram technology, and silver and gold refining processes. The most recent venture is incorporating fluorescence, so coins glow in the dark.
- Precursor to the modern trackball
The precursor to today’s computer mouse trackball was invented by Canadian engineers Tom Cranston and Fred Longstaff, along with British electrical engineer Kenyon Taylor, following World War II. The original trackball was created as part of a radar plotting system and was intended to better coordinate target data displayed on the cathode ray tube (CRT) display they were developing. Their trackball device used a five-pin bowling ball held by a socket with sensors that could detect the movement of the ball using X-Y axis orthogonal outputs. Of course, the trackball has since evolved into a much higher precision and more compact device.
Luke Anderson, P.Eng., and the StopGap Foundation
After sustaining a high-level spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed, Luke Anderson, P.Eng., realized he could apply his background in civil engineering to help conquer inaccessibility in our built environment. In 2011, he and a team of volunteers started supplying Toronto businesses with deployable wooden ramps that would allow all patrons equal access to these establishments. Today, with over 800 StopGap across Canada, StopGap uses specialized computer programming and 3D-modelling software to design and build customized ramps for a wide variety of step configurations. Read more about StopGap in this article from OSPE’s The Voice magazine.
Photonic devices for more convenient cloud computing
Electrical engineering and engineering science graduate Joyce Poon is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto. Her research goal is to “invent photonic devices and circuits that are ultra-compact, low-power, and high-speed,” to make cloud computing more convenient. Most local networks and server farms still rely on copper wire for cloud computing, which can slow communications and generates significant heat. Poon and her team are working to develop more practical and affordable devices for short optical communication links that will enhance the speed of these servers and reduce the energy required to cool them.
- The 56K Modem
In 1990, University of Toronto and Sanford University alumnus Dr. Brent Townshend applied his education in engineering physics and electrical engineering to launch a company in Montreal called Townshend Computer Tools, which manufactured computer audio interfaces. To produce high-quality audio recordings, these signal processors required faster download speeds, so during the mid-1990s, Dr. Townshend patented the fastest modem technology for data transfer over telephone lines. His technology represented a 66 per cent improvement
overthe performance speed of existing modems.
- The modern-day zipper
Swedish-born electrical engineer Gideon Sundbäck invented the modern-day zipper in 1913. Sundbäck's "Hookless No. 1" mounted facing teeth on a piece of tape, hooking them together using a slider. A year later, he improved his design by introducing interlocking teeth. Sundbäck then developed the manufacturing process required to make the zipper in St. Catherines, Ontario, where he also opened one of the first zipper factories.
- The Storable Tubular Extendible Member (STEM) Antenna George Klein, a mechanical engineering graduate from U of T, developed the retractable Storable Tubular Extendible Member (STEM) radio antenna, which was incorporated into more than 100 innovations, including the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo spacecrafts. The antenna, which could be reeled in and unrolled on command, extended up to 45
metresin length, greatly surpassing its 6-metre-long predecessor. Klein later worked on gear design for the first Canadarm.
- George Klein and the First Electric Wheelchair
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, George Klein was a mechanical engineering graduate from the University of Toronto who worked for the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) for 40 years. Throughout his career, Klein was a key player on multi-disciplinary teams that were responsible for more than 1,000 innovations, including the first electric wheelchair. Klein's electric wheelchair featured a joystick, tighter turning systems and separate wheel drives, which remain key components of modern electric wheelchairs.
- Universal Standard Time
Civil engineer Sir Sandford Fleming invented Universal Standard Time in 1885, introducing 24 global time zones, each 15 degrees of longitude in width and one hour of solar time apart. Given the expansion of the railway and rapid pace at which passengers could travel greater distances, Fleming realized the need for a standardized system of timekeeping. No longer would major
centresneed to set their own clocks based on local astronomical conditions.
- The Pacific Cable Station
In the 1870s, Canadian civil engineer Sir Sandford Fleming proposed the creation of a submarine cable that would facilitate direct communication between Britain and Australia via Britain's colonies, including Canada. The engineering firm Clarke, Ford and Taylor was responsible for carrying out the project, including drawing up the plans and specifications of the cable stations.
- Advancing the movie-going experience
The IMAX film format and projection system was co-founded by a team of four Canadians, including Ontario's William Shaw, P.Eng. The IMAX system facilitated the recording and display of images of far greater size and resolution than conventional systems, and only required one powerful projector. IMAX technology was innovative in its use of specialized cameras, wide screens, and 70mm film stock—which is ten times the size of that used in a regular theatre.