G.E. (Gordon) McLaren

From Alberta's Land Surveying History
Jump to: navigation, search
Gordon McLaren, ALS
McLarenGE.jpg
1965-1982
Known for Served with NATO, also a British Columbia Land Surveyor

Gordon McLaren was born in 1932 in Lashburn, Saskatchewan, the youngest of thirteen children. He spent the first eleven years of his life on the family farm ten miles north of Maldstone. 1943 saw his family move to Victoria, British Columbia and his formal education ended with graduation from Victoria High School in 1949.

Gordon entered the surveying field as a junior draftsman with the British Columbia Civil Service and moved to field work with the Topographic Division soon thereafter in 1949.

Gordon enlisted in the Canadian Scottish Regiment in 1951 and completed basic training at Camp Valcartier, Quebec. He served with NATO in the British Zone of West Germany and reached the rank of lance-corporal.

Gordon married Dorothea Shartman of Hanover, West Germany on November 6, 1953. The couple moved to Victoria in February 1954 and had three daughters.

Gordon rejoined the Topographic Division and spent the next two years working on projects including the construction of field towers for observation stations in the Fort St. John, Fort Nelson, Alberta boundary area of British Columbia. These bush-built type towers were necessary to assist triangulation control for mapping and for petroleum and natural gas permits.

The field season of 1955 found him a member of the crew responsible for tying Alaska Highway monuments into the tower triangulation, checking discrepancies between sections of the BC/NWT boundary and running a 50 km traverse from the BC/Alberta boundary to application posts near Stoney Lake on the Monkman Pass Road. He successfully completed his preliminary exams in April, 1955 and started articling under Frank Speed, BCLS.

Gordon joined McElhanney in 1956 and received his BCLS commission in April 1958. From this time forward to 1963, his responsibility ranged over a variety of legal, engineering and control projects including location and rights¬of-way for many hundreds of miles of pipeline throughout BC. The establishment of preliminary control for the alignment of the 19 km Granduc Mine Tunnel in northwest BC was one of his most interesting projects as a manager. This was the first major tunnel to be controlled by EDM and trigonometric levelling with all transport by helicopter. In 1960, he obtained his Dominion Land Surveyor Commission.

In 1963, Gordon took his well-rounded experience and knowledge into the world of private practice and established McLaren & Associates along with partners Gary Dawson and Monty Exton. His conscientious, hard working, and uncomplaining attitude is remembered by Gary Dawson. While cutting a traverse line through the bush in the Quesnel Lakes area, Gordon accidentally subdivided a large beehive with his machete. Being somewhat annoyed, the angry, buzzing residents streamed out of their decimated domicile and launched a concentrated attack on the head and face of their protagonist, Gordon. As Gary watched, Gordon's face swelled to balloon size, and thoughts of a short working day were prominent in his mind. However, such was not to be. After a short smoke break, Gordon carried on semi-blindly for the rest of the day.

McLaren & Associates were involved in a great variety of projects including all surveys for the WESFROB iron-copper mine at Tasu on the west coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands Commissions as an Alberta, Washington State and Alaska Land Surveyor were added to Gordon's growing professional qualifications during these years. Rumour has it that the only studying he did for the Washington exams was on the two-hour train ride to Seattle.

Gordon received his ALS commission in May 1965.

Gordon was appointed Project Manager of a major overseas project, REAP (Resource Evaluation Aerial Photography) in the Republic of Indonesia. The appointment was for the duration of the project, 1979 to March 1981.

Gordon McLaren accepted the promotion in June 1981 to manager of the legal and engineering survey division of McElhanney's Calgary office and continued until his tragic death on September 17, 1981.

Gordon's professional and business associates have lost a quiet, conscientious and diligent surveyor. We all join with his family to mourn his untimely death.

Lyle E. Ford, ALS, SLS