CanaColl logo Canacoll: A foundation supporting the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes (CNC)

Dr. Edward C. Becker

by G.A.P. Gibson
Ed Becker portrait

CanaColl's Founder

Our Founder and driving force behind CanaColl for over 35 years was Dr. Edward C. Becker (1923–2008), affectionally known as "Bug Doc" to his friends and colleagues. Ed was a world renowned research scientist employed for 28 years (1952–1980) by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada at the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes (CNC). Following his retirement Ed continued as an Honorary Research Associate at the CNC for another 28 years until his passing.

In the early 1970’s Ed came up with the unique concept of establishing a private, non-profit foundation "to advance taxonomic research on the Canadian National Collection of Insects". This vision resulted in CanaColl, which was incorporated December 5, 1972, as a Registered Canadian Charity (#118828219RR0001). Ed was both a Director and President of CanaColl from 1972 until 2008.

Because of CanaColl, over 460 person weeks of curation and research at the CNC by specialists from around the world have been funded through 431 grants (to the end of 2010), plus additional miscellaneous activities such as collecting, sorting, and preparation of specimens.

In 1984 Ed received an unprecedented "Canada Commemorative Award" from the honourable Eugene Whalen, then Minister of Agriculture, in recognition of "his outstanding effort in originating and fostering the CanaColl Foundation". The award praised the "fruitful partnership [between CanaColl and AAFC] amidst current constraints in science policy". The outstanding contributions of Ed were also acknowledged through the "Queen’s Silver Jubilee Medal" in 1978, and his election as a "Fellow of the Entomological Society of Canada" in 1974 and "Honorary Member of the Entomological Society of America" in 1997.

In addition to CanaColl and his many scientific papers, Ed also contributed to the entomological community as treasurer of the Entomological Society of Canada (1961–1985), Section A representative for the Entomological Society of America (1982–1984), Editor of the Coleopterist’s Bulletin (1983–1990), and President of the Coleopterist’s Society (1971–1972).

Additional information on the life, work and many contributions of Ed can be found through obituaries published by The Ottawa Citizen [archived], The Entomological Society of Canada and The Coleopterist’s Society.