City Departments

Hall of Fame Members

Dr. Otto Julius Klotz

Dr. Otto Julius Klotz

Inducted 1999

Dr. Otto Julius Klotz was born in Preston on 31 Mar 1852 a son of Otto Klotz, himself described as "Waterloo County's most public spirited citizen of the 19th century" and a member of the Cambridge Hall of Fame. Otto Julius Klotz proved himself an able student and in April 1866 began studies at the Tassie School in Galt. Three years later he entered the University of Toronto where he studied mathematics, astronomy and general science. Upon graduating he enrolled at the University of Michigan whence he graduated in 1872 with a degree in civil engineering. He returned immediately to Canada and established a private practice as a surveyor and engineer. In 1877 he passed the examinations of the Dominion Topographic Survey and two years later was appointed as a contract surveyor for the federal government. In the early 1880's the feasibility of a Hudson Bay route from western Canada to Europe had come up and the government decided to undertake an extensive investigation of ice and weather conditions along Hudson Strait and in the Bay. Mr Klotz was placed at the head of the expedition that performed a survey of a 2000 mile section from the South Saskatchewan River to York Factory on the Bay. Following this task he performed surveys connected with the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway and with the determination of the boundary between Alaska and British Columbia. This latter survey involved extensive astronomical observations and he was the first man whom the Department of the Interior designated as Astronomer. In 1902 with the completion of the All Red Cable Route connecting Canada and Australia, Mr Klotz was entrusted with the oversight of a longitude campaign connecting the two countries. This task occupied him for two years and was completed with an accuracy that was widely noted and praised. He is credited with the accurate measurements of the heights of notable peaks in the Rockies and with the first astronomical girdle of the world on the completion of the all-red cable. In 1905 with the completion of the new Dominion Observatory in Ottawa, Mr Klotz was named the Assistant Dominion Astronomer. He was a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of England, President and Fellow of the Astronomical Society of Canada, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Honorary President of the Dominion Land Surveyors and President of the Ontario Surveyors' Association. He has been called the father of the Public Library in Ottawa and was the founder of the Ottawa University Club. He was also an honourary member of the Astronomical Association of Mexico and of the New Zealand Institute. In 1917 Mr Klotz became the Dominion Astronomer, a position he held until his death, in Ottawa, on 28 Dec 1923.

View other Hall of Fame Members.

Related Documents

Hall of Fame Application Form The City of Cambridge Hall of Fame induction ceremony takes place annually. The period for submitting nominations for induction to the Cambridge Hall of Fame in 2017 is now OPEN. Please submit nominations to the Cambridge Archives via email at, in person or by mail to 46 Dickson Street Cambridge, Ontario P.O. Box 669 Cambridge N1R 5W8. 2012-11-12 PDF 102Kb