Thomas Blakiston

Thomas Blakiston traveled the world pursuing adventure and his scientific interests. In 1858 he travelled west with the Palliser Expedition as the expedition explored and mapped the western plains. Blakiston came along as the magnetic observer with a special assignment to explore the southern passes of the Rockies in order to determine if there was a feasible route for a transcontinental railway. Lieutenant Blakiston was certainly gifted but he may have been difficult to work with. He certainly had his differences with John Palliser, the leader of the expedition. During the expedition, Blakiston left a letter for Palliser saying he was going off on his own to explore and, in Blakiston’s own words, “threw off his command”. He traveled down the eastern edge of the Rockies, along the route of the present day Highway #22 from Turner Valley to the Crowsnest River and into the southwest corner of Alberta. Along the way he named the Livingstone Range and Gould Dome. He thoroughly explored the Kootenay Passes area, and later travelled over South Kootenay Pass, following Blakiston Creek past what is now Mount Blakiston to the series of lakes which he named Waterton.

Although he carried out his issued instructions regarding his exploration objectives and used expedition men, horses, and supplies, Blakiston refused to hand over his observations, and maps for the Expedition's records. Returning to England in 1859 he submitted a separate report on his own personal findings.

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