Sanson, Norman

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Sanson, Norman

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Norman Bethune Sanson, 1862-1949, was a naturalist, meteorologist and museum curator at Banff, Alberta, Canada. Born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of a prominent clergyman, he developed a life-long interest in natural history as a boy. Sanson came west in 1885 to fight in the Riel Rebellion as a member of the Queen's Own Rifles. In 1892, Sanson came to Banff as an accountant for the Sanitarium Hotel. He also did book-keeping for other local businesses and handled the town's weather reports. In 1896 he was appointed curator of the Park Museum and also worked as zookeeper for the Banff Zoo. From 1896 until 1931, Sanson was meteorological officer and curator of the Park Museum. In 1903 an observatory was built on Sulphur Mountain on a site chosen by Sanson. During the period 1903-1931, Sanson made one thousand ascents of Sulphur Mountain to collect weather records. In 1948, the Dominion Government acknowledged his many years of service by naming a peak on the mountain for him. As a nature enthusiast, Sanson was well-known both in Banff and beyond. He was an avid collector of flora and fauna, both privately and through his job as museum curator. Sanson was an active member of the Alpine Club of Canada, the Skyline Hikers of the Canadian Rockies and the Banff Rotary Club. He was a warden of St. George's Anglican Church and a supporter of the Canadian Bible Society. He was active in community events such as the Banff Winter Carnival, for which he organized and led the snowshoeing events. An ardent mountain traveller, he enjoyed both hiking and snowshoeing. Following retirement, Sanson toured extensively on foot throughout Britain and Europe.

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Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Archives and Library

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