Louis-Edmond Hamelin

Louis-Edmond Hamelin, OC, GOQ, geographer (born 21 March 1923 in Saint-Didace, QC; died 11 February 2020 in Quebec City, QC).



After studies in economics, Louis-Edmond Hamelin turned to geography and earned a doctorate in Grenoble under the direction of Raoul Blanchard. Later he received a doctorat d'État from the Sorbonne. A geography professor at Université Laval, he introduced new concepts and numerous neologisms to better express the Québecois geographic reality. His research quickly led him to the world of Nordicity: its state, polarity and people. In 1961, he founded the Centre for Northern Studies where he produced many and varied publications. Several works by Hamelin treat the subject of cold countries, including the periglacial, the Canadian north and of course, Canada.

An ardent researcher, he touched on almost all fields of geography. In physical geography, as well as the periglacial, he tackled geomorphology and hydrology. In human geography, he was deeply interested in Indigenous peoples, their environment and living conditions. An outstanding teacher, he trained several generations of Québécois geographers, while holding influence abroad. He was a university administrator of high calibre, alternately department head at the research centre and rector of the university in Trois-Rivières. He was a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories and received numerous distinctions, including the Prix du Québec and a Governor General’s award in 1976.


Further Reading

  • Daniel Chartier and Jean Désy, La nordicité du Québec. Entretiens avec Louis-Edmond Hamelin (Québec : Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2014).