A.O. Wheeler

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A.O. Wheeler, ALS
Received ALS Commission in 1911
Known for Served as a lieutenant with the Dominion Land Surveyor Intelligence Corps

Arthur Oliver Wheeler was born May 1st, 1860, in Kilkenny County, Ireland and came with his parents to Canada at the early age of 16.

His father was Captain Edward Oliver Wheeler; his mother, Josephine Helsham Wheeler; his first wife, Clara Macoun, daughter of John Macoun, one time assistant director of the Geological Survey of Canada; his second wife, Emmeline Savatard of Darwen, England. He had but one child- a son, Edward Oliver, who later was knighted, was Surveyor General of India, and was awarded the Military Cross.

Mr. Wheeler received his education in Dublin, Ballinasloe College, Galway, and in Dulwich College, London, England.

Upon his arrival in Canada, he at once took up the profession of surveying, serving apprenticeship with Ryley & Hamilton, and with Elihu Stewart of Collingwood. With the former, he spent the year 1876 in surveys in the Bruce Mines area of Ontario. The year 1878 was a notable one for him, for with Mr. Stewart on Indian Reserve surveys in Canada's new west, he received an introduction to that part of Canada that was to claim so much of his later life.

He obtained his OLS on July 8th, 1881, his DLS and MLS, in 1882, his BCLS in 1891, and his ALS in 1911. In 1929, he was made an honorary member of the Dominion Land Surveyors' Association, later to become the Canadian Institute of Surveying.

During 1883 and 1884, he was engaged in the west on township and townsite surveys for the Dominion Government and the Canadian Pacific Railway. Then in 1885 came the Riel rebellion, and throughout this he served as a lieutenant with the DLS Intelligence Corps. With the rebellion over, he again returned to survey practice with the Department of the Interior, his first chief being the late Dr. Deville, who trained him in photo-topographical surveying. This specialized type of surveying was to claim much of his later years.

In particular, he was thus active in connection with irrigation and topographical surveys in Southern Alberta, in the Crow's Nest area, and in the Selkirk Range. Likewise he used it in the Yukon-Alaska area, in 1903, assembling data for reference to the Commission that established the international boundary between Canada, Yukon and the USA's Alaska. In 1913, he was British Columbia's commissioner on the establishing of the interprovincial boundary between that Province and Alberta. His professional work ended with 1926 - his age then being 66.

His mountain experience had made him an enthusiastic "Alpinist;" he founded the Alpine Club of Canada and as president, director, or honorary president, was a member thereof to his death. He was also an honorary member of the Alpine Clubs of England, of France and of America.

He died March 20, 1945.

On his gravestone, it reads "sic itur ad astra." Virgil’s phrase in Aeneid which the literal meaning is “thus you shall go to the stars,” but the poetic, metaphorical meaning is “thus is immortality gained.” We might read it as “and you shall go to the stars” or perhaps, “and you shall live forever.”