Henri-Marc Ami

1858-1931

Canadian geologist and paleontologist

Ami lived at 453 Laurier Ave. E. between 1907 and 1921. Son of a Swiss protestant missionary and a French mother, Ami studied geology at McGill University under the renowned William Dawson before joining the Geological Survey of Canada in 1882 where he worked until 1911. As one of three hockey-playing McGill recruits joining the ranks of the Survey in 1882, he helped strengthen the ranks of the fledging Ottawa Hockey Club (the ancestor to the Senators) and help popularize the sport in Ottawa.

LAC MIKAN 3423702, Oct 1897
Photo credit: Topley Studio

A brilliant scientist in his own right, Ami was elected to the Royal Society in 1900. Independently wealthy (thanks to his wife), he was able to retire relatively young to pursue his interest in paleontology although he returned to government service at the outbreak of the War to create an inventory of Canada’s mineral resources that could support the war effort.

A great grand-daughter of Henry Bate, Betty, remembers that, as a child, she and her cousins would sometimes find fossils along the riverbank in Strathcona Park. They would save these in order to show them to Dr. Ami. He in turn sometimes took a group of children to his office by streetcar to show them more fossils and rocks. At the time, young Betty thought that Dr. Ami must have been very wealthy to afford the 5-cent fare for each child in the group!

After the War, Ami lived in France where he conducted archaeological digs on Stone Age sites in the Dordogne with the support of the French government and the Royal Society of Canada.

Ami died in France but is buried at the Beechwood cemetery.

Sources

http://www.shpfqbiographies.sitew.ca/fs/Root/cr9c6-AMI_Henri_Marc_biogr_vf.pdf

http://www.beechwoodottawa.ca/sites/default/files/2019-04/Historical-Portraits-Booklet-EN-2017.pdf

http://www.beechwoodottawa.ca/sites/default/files/2019-04/Historical-Portraits-Booklet-EN-2017.pdf

Betty Bate remembers, IMAGE article

Paul Kitchen

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