Sir Charles Edward Saunders Botany

Chemist; Cereals Experimentalist: Developed Marquis wheat for the Canadian West

The Story

Charles Saunders was educated at University of Toronto and Johns Hopkins University. Briefly a professor of chemistry, he studied music and teaching of voice for nine years until his father, William Saunders, who had created Canada’s Dominion Experimental farms in 1886, appointed him as experimentalist there in 1903. Over a period of 19 years, Saunders developed Marquis wheat, the strain that made Canada famous for its hard red spring wheat, which matures early, produces high volume, and is excellent for bread. Saunders also applied his single-line breeding methods to barley, oats, peas, beans and flax and introduced several new excellent varieties of each kind of crop. In 1922, Saunders’ health broke down and he moved to Paris where he studied French literature for 3 years. He was knighted in 1934.

Sources: The Canadian Encyclopedia 1988

The Person

February 2, 1867
London, Ontario
Date of Death
July 25, 1937
Place of Death
Toronto, Ontario
Last Updated
October 15, 2001

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