Member Biography

Fred Victor Seibert

(1885.11.05 - 1966.03.22)
Commission #051

F.V. Seibert died at Victoria, BC, on March 22, 1966. Fred Seibert was one of the better known Canadian surveyors, having been with the federal government and subsequently with the Natural Resources Division of the Canadian National Railway.

He was born at Port Elgin, Ontario, matriculated from the Port Elgin Collegiate Institute and registered in 1903 in the '06 class of civil engineering at the University of Toronto.

After completing the first year of university, he interrupted his academic training and spent three years on lumbering work. Ernie Martindale, a long-time friend of Fred's, writes of this period as follows:

Fred recalled to me last fall how I and others had helped him brush up on his first year's work, which had become hazy after such a long period of separation. We continued the same course together, graduated at the same time, took our preliminary DLS examinations together and received our first employment as articled pupils at the same time. We went out to Edmonton together in the spring of 1909, and I saw him off to his job with Mr. J. MacFarlane, DLS, trudging in the mud behind a pack pony on the Stony Plains trail. Our party (A.W. Ponton's), returning down the fifth meridian trail, reached Wabasca the same day, in September 1910, that Fred, with Mr. A.H. Hawkins' party, arrived from the West - both parties on the way out to Edmonton. Fred, Bruce Waugh and I came east together. We wrote the same DLS exam, and were closely associated in the old Topographical Surveys Branch and the former National Development Bureau until Fred left for Winnipeg to join the Canadian National Railway as Western Superintendent of Natural Resources; and we have been the best of friends throughout.

Bruce Waugh, also a friend of Fred Seibert’s, writes of their experiences in surveys:

It was in 1910 that I first met Fred, at Wabasca in northern Alberta. We were on our way back to Edmonton after a fourteen-month spell on a survey of the fifth meridian and the twenty-eighth baseline.

He enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in 1917, being still in training at the end of hostilities. After World War I, he was, I believe, in charge of that experiment in clearing land by controlled fires, which didn't prove to be too successful. After that he had some part of a roving commission concerning the survey parties making stadia traverses of the Mackenzie River. The task he had was to have the Hudson's Bay Company locate food caches, during the winter of 1921-1922, along the route to the sixth meridian northward from the 60th parallel. He and the late Max Cameron started out from Providence and travelled south about 100 miles overland to locate the meridian. When they calculated that they must be getting close to the 60th parallel they climbed a tree on a slight ridge to see what might be seen and, lo and behold, three or four miles to the south of them they could see a cut-line and they were exactly on it. Anyway, that is the story and I believe it. Max was with me when we made a survey the following summer and, when we arrived at the starting point of our survey, Max immediately headed north from our camp and located the first food cache.

Fred Seibert had many affiliations. He was a former member of the advisory board of the Alberta and Northwest Chamber of Mines; a director of the Boy Scouts of Manitoba; past president of the Winnipeg Rotary Club and the Manitoba Chamber of Mines; past chairman of the technical bureau, Winnipeg Board of Trade; Past chairman of the Soil Products Research Committee, Manitoba Industrial Development Board, and a member of the Alberta Research Council governing body.

He was survived by his wife Winnifred; a daughter, Mrs. Sydney (Helen) Larman, Winnipeg; a brother, Herbert, Edmonton, and two sisters, Mrs. Thomas (Florence) Atkinson, Edmonton, and Mrs. Lorne (Marguerite) Akins, St. Albert, Alberta.

From "Canadian Surveyor Supplement, June 1966"

Association of Ontario Land Surveyors Committee on Biography