J. Keith Fraser

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John Keith Fraser
Born 1922
Nationality Canadian
Fields Physical geographer
Institutions Geographical Branch, Department of Mines and Technical Surveys, Ottawa
Alma mater Clark University
Known for President of the Canadian Association of Geographers;
Executive secretary, publisher and general manager of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society
Notable awards Award for Service to the Profession of Geography

Dr. John Keith Fraser (born 1922) is a Canadian physical geographer. He served as president of the Canadian Association of Geographers, as well as the executive secretary, publisher and general manager of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.


Fraser is a veteran of World War II, serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force/Royal Air Force.[1]

In 1955, he received a M.A. degree from the University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. in 1964 from Clark University; his dissertation was entitled The physiography of Boothia Peninsula, Northwest territories a study in terrain analysis and air photo interpretation of an Arctic area.


After the war, Fraser had a career as a Canadian government employee with the Geographical Branch, Department of Mines and Technical Surveys, Ottawa, publishing articles after many of his field assignments.

One of his first assignments, in the late 1940s, was as an observer on tugs in the Mackenzie River, and on Hudson's Bay Company vessels in the western Arctic Ocean.

In 1951, he assisted geomorphologist J. Ross Mackay in investigating Amundsen Gulf's Darnley Bay area. After reviewing recent aerial photographs and old maps, Fraser determined that the Rivière La Roncière-le Noury, charted by French Missionary Oblate Émile Petitot in 1875 but considered nonexistent decades later by explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, did exist. Though there were errors in the placement of the Roncière's mouth at Franklin Bay, the Roncière was the same river as the partially mapped Hornaday River by Andrew J. Stone in 1899.[2][3][4]

The following year, he participated in the Canadian Ice Distribution Survey. In 1953, Fraser studied the central Arctic coast around the Boothia Isthmus. In 1954, he the department's representative to the Aklavik Relocation Survey team in the Mackenzie Delta, and in 1955, he studied the southeastern coastline of Victoria Island. 1956 found him studying the south coast of King William Island and Sherman Inlet.[3]


Fraser became a Fellow and director of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 1959. In 1982, he was appointed executive secretary, publisher and general manager. A new publisher arrived in 1988, but Fraser continued in his other two roles until 1990.[5] In that same year, the Society established the Fraser Leadership in Northern Studies program in his honor.[6]

He became a Fellow of the Arctic Institute of North America in 1960.[7]

In 1975, Fraser received the Award for Service to the Profession of Geography from the Canadian Association of Geographers.[8] Six years later, he served as president of the Association.[9]

Partial works


  1. "World War II Veterans and Geography in Canada". cag-acg.ca. http://www.cag-acg.ca/en/war_veterans.html. Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  2. Davis, Richard Clarke (1996). Lobsticks and Stone Cairns: Human Landmarks in the Arctic. University of Calgary Press. 153-154. ISBN 1895176883. http://books.google.com/books?id=CKisKFb0YKYC&pg=PA153&lpg=PA153&dq=riviere+la+ronciere-le+noury+%09++Hornaday&source=bl&ots=v56KryyM6P&sig=k6kC1ke9QRO92e9j8uFhBFOHQW8&hl=en&ei=z0GwSYD7F4r2sAOgodiHAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result#PPA153,M1. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fraser, J. Keith (1957). "Activities of the Geographical Branch in Northern Canada, 1947-1957". Arctic (ucalgary.ca) 10 (4). http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic10-4-246.pdf. 
  4. Fraser (1952), p. 1
  5. Collin, Arthur E. (November 4, 2004). "Alexander T. Davidson". rcgs.org. http://www.rcgs.org/awards/camsell_medal/winner_camsell2004.asp. Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  6. "Introducing GIS to students in Nunavut". ArcNorth News (esricanada.com) 6 (3). 2003. http://www.esricanada.com/documents/ann-vol6-3-introducing-gis-to-students.pdf. Retrieved esricanada. 
  7. "Canadian Fellows". ucalgary.ca. http://www.arctic.ucalgary.ca/index.php?page=canadian_fellows. Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  8. "CAG Awards Recipients". regionalscience.org. http://www.regionalscience.org/index.php/CRSA/. Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  9. "THE ORIGINS OF THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF GEOGRAPHERS". cag-acg.ca. 2007. http://www.cag-acg.ca/en/origins_of_cag.html. Retrieved 2009-03-09.