This article is over 5 years old and may contain outdated information.

People & Culture

Massey Medal winner's lasting legacy

  • Sep 30, 2014
  • 166 words
  • 1 minutes
Left to right: Alberta Lt.-Gov. Donald Ethell, Derald Smith (with his Massey Medal), Nancy Smith and Linda Ethell Expand Image

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society remembers the late Derald Smith, an outstanding geographer and the 2014 Massey Medal winner, for his exploration and explanation of Canadian landscapes. The Society was saddened to learn that Smith died on June 18 at age 75, after a brief battle with cancer.

Smith was internationally recognized for his work in identifying and mapping the effects of glaciation in western and northern Canada, and discovered the processes and deposits of river systems that create oil and gas reservoirs. He was also a pioneer in the application of ground-penetrating radar, and his research has helped Alberta’s oil and gas exploration and development. Smith’s work also helped the oil and gas industry to reduce the environmental footprint of deep-oil extraction sites.

Perhaps his biggest impact, though, was as a teacher. At the University of Calgary, Smith taught his geography students to see the “the big picture” in a way that helped them apply geography to their everyday lives.


Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Related Content

People & Culture

Kahkiihtwaam ee-pee-kiiweehtataahk: Bringing it back home again

The story of how a critically endangered Indigenous language can be saved

  • 6310 words
  • 26 minutes

People & Culture

Placing the Pandemic in Perspective: Coping with curfew in Montreal

For unhoused residents and those who help them, the pandemic was another wave in a rising tide of challenges 

  • 2727 words
  • 11 minutes
A crowd of tourist swarm on a lakeside beach in Banff National Park


Smother Nature: The struggle to protect Banff National Park

In Banff National Park, Alberta, as in protected areas across the country, managers find it difficult to balance the desire of people to experience wilderness with an imperative to conserve it

  • 3507 words
  • 15 minutes

People & Culture

How Indigenous Peoples are leading the way on global biodiversity protection

Indigenous knowledge allowed ecosystems to thrive for millennia — and now it’s finally being recognized as integral in solving the world’s biodiversity crisis. What part did it play in COP15?

  • 2404 words
  • 10 minutes