The Honorable Catherine McKenna unveiled a plaque at the Museum of Nature in honour of John Macoun who collected and catalogued Canada’s flora and fauna.

Photos and text by Diane Lepage

On Saturday June 23th 2018, The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minster of the Environment and Climate Change and the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, held a ceremony at the Canadian Museum of Nature on McLeod Street in Ottawa to commemorate John Macoun’s national historic significance. A bronze plaque from the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada was unveiled during the ceremony.

Jennifer Doubt, curator of the National Herbarium of Canada.

Four years ago Michael Leveillée, a teacher at the St-Laurent school and the person behind the Macoun Marsh at Beechwood cemetery, proposed that John Macoun (1831-1920) be designated a person of national historic significance for his impressive contribution to botanical work. This designation recognizes persons who have marked and shaped Canada.

John Macoun, a field naturalist and scientist, was the first person to survey, document and categorize the Canadian flora in a systematic manner. He devoted his life to collecting botanical specimens that later formed the core of Canada’s national collection.

Jennifer Doubt, curator of the National Herbarium of Canada at the Canadian Museum of Nature, spoke about John Macoun’s work in exploring, collecting and cataloguing Canada’s flora and fauna. He made an enormous contribution to Canadian botany. Catherine McKenna spoke about the need to recognize this Canadian who made a difference.

It was fitting to recognize John Macoun’s legacy at the Museum of Nature on McLeod St, site of the former Victoria Memorial Museum which was built to house his collections.