In 2011, the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN – Centre d’études nordiques) celebrated 50 years of excellence in northern research. In 1961, Université Laval and the Québec government joined forces to establish the Centre by ministerial decree. Celebrations to underscore this half century of research took place throughout the year and reflected the breadth and vitality of CEN activities. The CEN has grown from a dozen researchers in its beginnings to over 50 in 2011, and from a handful of students to more than 180, emphasizing one of CEN’s foremost missions to train highly qualified personnel in the analysis and management of cold region ecosystems and geosystems. CEN staff comprises over 40 research associates, assistants, and managers.
A series of events also underscored the CEN’s 50th anniversary, such as public lectures held throughout Québec, Canada, and abroad via CEN’s partners such as SCANNET (www.scannet.nu).
The first celebration highlighting CEN’s 50th anniversary took place during the annual Colloque on February 9th and 10th at Université Laval. For the occasion, CEN had the honour of welcoming its founder, Louis Edmond Hamelin, who gave a historic account of the CEN’s establishment at Université Laval by ministerial decree and its first stations in the North. The plenary speaker was the internationally renowned paleoclimatologist Valérie Masson-Delmotte followed by Marcel Babin, holder of the prestigious Canada Excellence Research Chair in Remote Sensing of Canada's New Arctic Frontier and director of the program Takuvik (a joint Université Laval / CNRS laboratory), Jean Carignan geochemist and codirector of Takuvik, and professor Frédéric Laugrand, anthropologist specializing in northern populations and retiring Director of the Interuniversity Centre for Aboriginal Studies and Research (CIÉRA). Another notable event which took place during the Colloque was the throat singing performed by Marie Belleau and Lisa Koperqualuk, two Inuit.
The Colloque closed with the announcement of CEN photo contest winners. The theme of the photos submitted by all members was « CEN field research, from southern Québec to northern Nunavut ». Ten prizes of $100 from www.amazon.ca were attributed to the finalists of the Photo Contest. The top three received an additional $100 in cash. The jury consisted of Geneviève Allard, Stéphane Boudreau, Luc Cournoyer, France Dufresne, Nathalie Racine, Pascale Ropars, and Émilie Saulnier-Talbot.
First prize, Reinhard Pienitz – Drained Lake, Baffin Island, Nunavut (August 2010) Second prize, Arnaud Tarroux, Bylot Island (May 2008) Third prize, Martin Sirois - Bylot Island (August 2006) Finalist, Sébastien Bourget - Ward Hunt Island (July 2010) Finalist, Clément Clerc – Amundsen Gulf (March 2008) Finalist, Francis Gauthier – Bride’s Veil, La Martre (July 2010) Finalist, Mélanie Jean – Boniface River (August 2009) Finalist, Emmanuel L'Hérault – Salluit (June 2008) Finalist, Marie Lionard – Ward Hunt Island (July 2010) Finalist, Nicolas Rolland – Great Plain of Koukdjuak, Baffin Island (July 2010)
The Colloque was also an opportunity to inaugurate its mobile exhibit entitled: Le Centre d’études nordiques : 50 ans de rayonnement. The exhibit highlights CEN’s history, its mission and research themes as well as showcases the CEN Network, our vast network of climate and research stations spanning over 4000 km from southern Québec to the High Arctic desert. The exhibit illustrates the broad scope of CEN’s research activities and the dynamic nature of the Québec researchers.
First hosted at Université Laval’s library, the exhibit then moved on to be presented at the Centre Eau-Terre-Environnement de l’Institut national de recherche scientifique (INRS-ETE) over the summer with a stop at Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR). The exhibit will be presented at the International Polar Year Conference - From Knowledge to Action in Montreal in April. Its final destination is the Community Science Centre at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik planned for May 2012. Here, the mobile exhibit will be part of a larger, permanent exhibit at the Centre which will be inaugurated in spring/summer 2012.
The year was also busy finishing the upgrades of CEN research stations across the eastern Canadian Arctic, from Radisson in James Bay to Ward Hunt Island off the northern coast of Ellesmere Island. This work was accomplished thanks to the financial support provided by the Arctic Research Infrastructure Fund (ARIF) from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
On August 2nd 1961, the ministerial decree was signed to finalize the establishment of CEN and its research activities in the North. On this day in 2011, CEN’s tenth research station was inaugurated. This station is a mobile station – a research vessel named after the founder, the Louis-Edmond-Hamelin. The 26 foot aluminum boat (a Silver Dolphin) is the CEN’s first mobile station and is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments to map river beds, lake bottoms and ocean floors. The small vessel has the advantage of being able to cruise in waters less than 2 metres deep and can be easily transported by land to various inland lakes and reservoirs.
CEN has published a special issue in commemoration of CEN’s first 50 years in Ecoscience. The issue includes an overview of terrestrial work out of our station at Whapmagoostui-Kuujjuarapik, a review of work on the Great Whale River and coastal Hudson Bay, articles pertaining to aquatic ecosystems of the Arctic, dendrochronology, and wildlife and tundra ecosystem dynamics. The research topics examined in this issue represent a subset of the wide array of research disciplines studied by the CEN.
Here are some of the major articles you will find in this special issue:
Vincent, W.F., Côté, S.D., Bernier, M., 2011. Special issue - Introductory remarks: From boreal forest to High Arctic Desert: A theme issue commemorating 50 years of research by the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN) in Eastern Canada, 18 (3) : iii-iv.
Payette, S., Saulnier-Talbot, É., 2011. Un demi-siècle de recherche au Centre d’études nordiques : un défi de tous les instants. Écoscience, 18 (3) : 171-181.
Bhiry, N., Delwaide, A., Allard, M., Bégin, Y., Filion, L., Lavoie, M., Nozais, C., Payette, S., Pienitz, R., Saulnier-Talbot, É., Vincent, W.F., 2011. Environmental change in the Great Whale River region, Hudson Bay: Five decades of multidisciplinary research by Centre d’études nordiques (CEN). Écoscience, 18 (3) : 182-203.
Rautio, M., Dufresne, F., Laurion, I., Bonilla, S.E., Vincent, W.F., Christoffersen, K., 2011. Shallow freshwater ecosystems of the circumpolar Arctic. Écoscience, 18 (3) : 204-222
Gauthier, G., Berteaux, D., Bêty, J., Tarroux, A., Therrien, J.-F., McKinnon, L., Legagneux, P., Cadieux, M.-C., 2011. The tundra food web of Bylot Island in a changing climate and the role of exchanges between ecosystems. Écoscience, 18 (3) : 223-235
Vincent, W.F., Fortier, D., Lévesque, E., Boulanger-Lapointe, N., Tremblay, B., Sarrazin, D., Antoniades, D., Mueller, D.R., 2011. Extreme ecosystems and geosystems in the Canadian High Arctic: Ward Hunt Island and vicinity. Écoscience, 18 (3) : 236-261
The 50th anniversary was covered by several press releases which are listed below.
Slideshow of Louis-Edmond Hamelin's conference (pdf - 1.99 Mo) Colloque annuel du CEN, Université Laval, Février 2011
Le Centre d’études nordiques a 50 ans Au Fil des événements, 17 février 2011
Le Centre d’études nordiques a 50 ans MédiaTerre, 21 février 2011
Recherche nordique : Le Centre d’études nordiques (CEN) célèbre ses 50 ans UQAR-Info, 18 février 2011
Reportage journalistique étudiant « Les 50 ans d’existences du Centre d’études nordiques ». Angle neuf 2011, Émission 3 –Partie 2.
Exposition : Le Centre d’études nordiques : 50 ans de rayonnement Bibliothèque de l’Université Laval, 5 mai 2011
Centre d'études nordiques: un petit navire de recherche pas banal Le Soleil, 3 août 2011
L'INRS accueille l'exposition du Centre d’études nordiques (CEN). Webzine planète INRS.ca , 5 juillet 2011
50 ans du CEN (cahier spécial 50e du CEN) Le Devoir, 6 août 2011
50e anniversaire du CEN : Journée de conférences sur la nordicité. Webzine planète INRS,ca, 1er septembre 2011
Regard sur la recherche Nord? Texte de conférence de M. Louis-Edmond Hamelin (pdf - 2.61 Mo) INRS-ETE, 1er septembre 2011
L’UQAR célèbre les 50 ans du Centre d’études nordiques Progrès-écho, 14 septembre 2011
L’UQAR célèbre les 50 ans du Centre d’études nordiques UQAR-Info, 14 septembre 2011
De la forêt boréale au désert du Haut-Arctique (numéro spécial 50e du CEN) Écoscience, volume 18, no3, 2011