A.14 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) is a national, non-profit, charitable organization devoted to the advancement of astronomy and related sciences. It will be 150 years old in 2018.  

You can find more about them by visiting their web page at https://www.rasc.ca/home-page   .

Official logo of the Society


In the mid-nineteenth century, in the bustling Lake Ontario port city of Toronto, there were no professional astronomers. Many inhabitants of the city, however, were keenly interested in sciences and current developments in them. On December 1, 1868 The Toronto Astronomical Club met for the first time, at the home of Andrew Elvins. He had moved to Toronto from Cornwall, England and worked as a cutter at clothing store. The club “having for its object the aiding of each other in the pursuit of astronomical knowledge.”

Thousands of meteor sightings of the Leonid showers made in Toronto in November 1867 and 1868 had doubtless encouraged the club to continue its work. In May, 1869 the word “Club” was changed to “Society.” Written records were kept for the first year, until the secretary moved away.

On March 10, 1890, the organization was incorporated as The Astronomical and Physical Society of Toronto (incidentally, the year the British Astronomical Association was founded).

 In early 1903, the King of the Dominion, Edward VII of England, was petitioned through official channels to allow the Society to adopt the “Royal” style. On the 27th of February the Society was informed that “His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to grant permission to the Toronto Astronomical Society to adopt the title of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada” (the change was enacted in a provincial court on March 3, 1903)

The change of name in 1903 led immediately to the concept that the Society should not be limited to Toronto, but should become national in scope. The second Centre to be established was that of Ottawa, Ontario in 1906, where the Dominion Observatory was being set up. The Victoria, British Columbia chapter was formed in 1914 with Vancouver, British Columbia following in 1931. As of 2017 there are 29 chapters from coast to coast to coast.   



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Douglas College Astronomy 1105 Copyright © 2017 by Douglas College Department of Physics and Astronomy, Open Stax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.