J.S. Leitch

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John Strickland Leitch, ALS
Known for Also an Ontario Land Surveyor and Dominion Land Surveyor

John Strickland Leitch was born in Cornwall, Ontario, in 1882. He was a son of the Honourable Justice James Leitch, KC, member of the Supreme Court of Ontario, and Elizabeth Strickland Leitch. He was educated at the Cornwall public and high schools and at the Royal Military College, Kingston, from which he graduated with honours in 1902.

His early engineering experience included work for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (now the CNR) on the first exploratory surveys in North-Western Ontario between Lake Nipigon and Lac Suel followed by construction work on the Lake Superior Branch from Fort William to Sioux Lookout, the main line of the railway along the north bank of the Skeena River to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, and later on the Regina-Melville-Yorkton-Canora Branch of the railway in Saskatchewan.

In 1911 Mr. Leitch entered the land surveying business in Calgary, obtaining his DLS and ALS He established his own practice which he continued until 1915. He then moved to Toronto and obtained his OLS In 1916, Mr. Leitch joined the engineering staff of the Department of Public Works in the Province of Ontario and later was appointed the bridge and construction engineer in the Department of Northern Development. In this position, he was responsible for the design and construction of many highway bridges in Northern Ontario, notably on Highway Number 11.

In 1927 Mr. Leitch established the Leitch Construction Company Limited in Toronto, which specialized in bridges, docks, overhead crossings and highway construction. His company carried out many contracts throughout Ontario until highway work came to a halt during the war and, afterwards he returned to the practice of land surveying and specialized in subdivision work until he retired in 1963.

Mr. Leitch took an active part in the incorporation of the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario in 1922 and he was honoured by the Association as a founding member on the fiftieth anniversary of that Association. Mr. Leitch published a number of articles of a technical nature in engineering journals and he also wrote accounts of his early working experiences in Northern Ontario and British Columbia. These appeared in various publications including The Engineering Journal, The Ontario Land Surveyor and The Beaver.

Mr. Leitch was married to the former Jennie MacKinnon of Finch, Ontario, who predeceased him in 1967.

Their children were the late John MacKinnon Leitch, B.A.Sc., OLS, who died in 1970 and Jeanne Elizabeth Leitch, M.A., who lived in Toronto. He was a member of Calvin Presbyterian Church for many years.

Mr. Leitch was proud of the fact that he could look back over sixty years of active practice. He often said that he considered each new job was just another adventure and he thoroughly enjoyed his long career as a civil engineer and land surveyor.

Source: Association of Ontario Land Surveyors