“Towards the latter end of November, 1860, a proposal was made to organize a Botanical Society. There being no such Institution in operation in Canada, it was thought that much benefit might result from its establishment.”
So begins the first volume of the Annals of the Botanical Society of Canada, published in 1861 following the Society’s founding in Kingston, Ontario in 1860.
The Society—founded by members of the Queen’s College (now Queen’s University) natural history department—welcomed men and women as equal members and met regularly in Kingston. One hundred people attended the first meeting in January 1861, despite temperatures of –20 Celsius! The following month, 200 people were in attendance, including a young woman named Catharine (Kate) Crooks. She joined the Society on that occasion, along with her brother-in-law, Alexander Logie. Crooks and Logie had travelled from Hamilton, Ontario—southwest of Toronto—and presented the Society with a flora of Hamilton.