Fonds MS-48 - Cyril Geoffrey Wates fonds

Remains Of Indian Bath House
Open original Digital object

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Cyril Geoffrey Wates fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material - photograph

Parallel title

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Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

  • Source of title proper: Title based on name of creator.

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Reference code


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Statement of scale (cartographic)

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Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1916 - 1946 (Creation)
    Wates, Cyril Geoffrey

Physical description area

Physical description

12 cm of textual records. - 178 photographs

Publisher's series area

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1883 - 1946)

Biographical history

Cyril Geoffrey Wates was born in Brixton, greater London, England on July 18, 1883. He immigrated to Canada and worked for the City of Edmonton Municipal Telephone System, 1909-1946, eventually rising to Maintenance Foreman. He was an enthusiastic participant in the worlds of music, mountaineering, astronomy, and writing. He was choirmaster of St. Stephen's Anglican Church and composed many songs, including a comic operetta, "The Telephone Girl and the Toff".

He joined the Alpine Club of Canada in 1916, participated in twenty summer camps, and climbed more than fifty peaks, including the first ascent of Mount Geikie in 1924. He was chairman of the Edmonton Section, 1925 and 1932-1935, western vice-president and president, 1938-1941. He received a Fellowship in the Canadian Geographic Society in 1939. He was also responsible for the publication of an Alpine Club songbook, Songs of Canadian Climbers, and the construction of an alpine hut in the Tonquin Valley, now named for him and a colleague, E.R. Gibson, the Wates-Gibson Hut.

He was regarded as one of Canada's most outstanding amateur astronomers, building several telescopes, including a 12.5 reflector that he presented to the University of Alberta in 1942. He served as President of the Edmonton Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, 1938 and received the Chant Medal from the society "for outstanding amateur contribution to astronomy in Canada". His writing included professional reports in telephone engineering, articles relating to his mountaineering and astronomical interests, stories and plays, including a series of science fiction short stories and a novel, published in Amazing Stories, 1927-1930.

He was married twice, first to Alice Reeves, sister of the Edmonton photographer Gladys Reeves, from 1923 until her death in 1943; secondly to Helen Adela Burns, from 1944 until his death in Edmonton, February 2, 1946.

Helen (Burns) Wates was born in Caledonia, Ontario on December 21, 1899. She moved to Edmonton, Alberta where she was a school teacher and vice-principal, 1921-1959. She was an active mountaineer, including in her achievements the first ascent by a woman of Mount Edith Cavell and was also active in the girl guide movement, St John's Ambulance Brigade, and the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service in World War II. Helen (Burns) Wates died on September 20, 1974.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This fonds consists of publications, plays, and newspaper articles written by Cyril Wates, as well as assorted correspondence and records relating to the Edmonton chapter of the Alpine Club of Canada. The fonds also contains an article and correspondence of Helen Adela (Burns) Wates, as well as photographs of Helen Adela (Burns) Wates' family, ca. 1870-1880, Cyril Wates' telescope, 1942 and mountain climbing activities, ca. 1924-1938.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

This fonds was donated to the City of Edmonton Archives by Helen (Burns) Wates in 1968.


The photographs were assigned item numbers with the prefix EA-41.

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

There are no restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright may apply.

Finding aids

Photographs have been described at the item level and are available in the Reference Room.

Associated materials

Related materials


No further accruals are expected.

General note

This MS was first known as the Cyril G. Wates fonds, then known as Helen Wates fonds.
Material formerly in MS-66 (Alpine Club of Canada) has been repatriated to MS-48.

General note

Accession number: A68-92

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Institution identifier

City of Edmonton Archives

Rules or conventions

Rules for Archival Description (RAD)
Archives Society of Alberta Subject Terms



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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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Physical storage

  • Box: MS Room
  • Box: Library