Sir Sandford Fleming’s achievements were a combination of science and art. The diploma of the Toronto Mechanics’ Institute, which he designed in 1850, reflects these two life-long interests, as does the original logo of the Royal Institute of Canada, which he created the same year.
Toronto’s Palace of Industry, designed with his colleague Collingwood Schreiber, was another major achievement. Inspired by the Crystal Palace built for London’s Great Exhibition in 1851, this impressive building combined civil engineering techniques, a mastery of iron construction and great formal beauty.
The tireless worker and the visionary was also… an inventor. In 1847, Fleming registered a method for propelling locomotives with the Canadian Patent Office. While this project did not lead to anything, it reflects Fleming’s inventiveness.
While drawing a map of Toronto, he also invented a floating tool to measure distances over water.