Prolific and much-decorated UBC geographer and author Olav Slaymaker--surely one of the most memorable names in B.C. literature--wasn't be able to attend the investiture ceremony for his Order of Canada in May of 2015 because he was off in Siberia, doing whatever it is that venerable geography professors do. With degrees from Cambridge and Harvard, Slaymaker is the author or editor of a dozen books and an expert on climate change in cold climates. Officially retired since 2004, Slaymaker still specializes in the sustainability of mountain environments, alpine hydrology and geomorphology, lacustrine sedimentation and the human impact on geomorphic and hydrological processes. He shares an office with heavyweight geographer, Cole Harris, who is arguably better-known beyond academe, but his name isn't as much fun to say.

Slaymaker has also been a Visiting Professor at the Department of Geography and Regional Research at the University of Vienna, Austria, teaching numerous courses in physical geography and geomorphology in Vienna and leading three regional field courses for their Master's students.

Prior to retirement, Dr. Slaymaker was also a Senior Fellow of St. John's College, a residential international graduate student college on the UBC campus, and co-editor of The Canadian Geographer, published by Blackwell, and of Catena, an international interdisciplinary journal of geomorphology, hydrology and soil science published by Elsevier.


Ph.D. Geography, Cambridge University (1968)
A.M. Geology, Harvard University (1963)
B.A. Geography (Honours), King's College, Cambridge University (1961)

Awards and distinctions

Member of the Order of Canada (2015)
Fellow of the British Society for Geomorphology (2013)
Honorary Recipient of the UBC Dean of Arts Award (2012)
Doctor of Science honoris causa University of Wales (2007)
Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, UBC (2005-2006)
Honorary Lifetime Fellow, Japanese Geomorphological Union (2005)
David Linton Award, British Society for Geomorphology (2003)
Graduate Student Prize in my name: The Olav Slaymaker Prize of the Canadian Geomorphological Research Group
Graduate Student Scholarship in my name: The Olav Slaymaker Fellowship in Environment, Liu Institute for Global Studies, UBC
Award for Service to the Profession, Canadian Association of Geographers
Certificate of Merit, Japanese Geomorphological Union
Member, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
Killam Senior Research Fellowship
Visiting Erskine Fellowship
Frank Knox Fellowship
Fulbright Scholarship


Slaymaker is an Order of Canada recipient and the co-author or editor of:

French, H.M. and Slaymaker, O. (eds.), 2011. Changing Cold Environments: a Canadian Perspective. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester.

Slaymaker, O., Spencer, T. and Embleton-Hamann, C. (eds.), 2009. Geomorphology and Global Environmental Change. Cambridge University Press

Slaymaker, O. and Kelly, R. 2007. The Cryosphere and Global Environmental Change. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford

Owens, P. and Slaymaker, O., (eds.), 2004. Mountain Geomorphology. Arnold: London.

Slaymaker, O. (ed.), 2004. Fluvial Geomorphology. Volume 1 in a 7 volume series; Evans, D.J.A., (series editor). Critical Concepts in Geomorphology. Routledge: London and New York.

Hassan, M.A., Slaymaker, O., and Berkowicz, S.M., 2000. The Hydrology - Geomorphology Interface. I.A.H.S. Publication 261: Wallingford, 326, pp.

Slaymaker, O. (ed.), 2000. Geomorphology, Human Activity and Global Environmental Change. Wiley: Chichester, 322 pp.

Slaymaker, O., and Spencer, T., 1998. Physical Geography and Global Environmental Change. Addison Wesley Longman: Harlow, 292 pp.

Slaymaker, O. (ed.), 1996. Geomorphic Hazards. Wiley: Chichester, 205 pp.

Slaymaker, O. (ed.), 1995. Steepland Geomorphology. Wiley: Chichester, 283 pp.

Slaymaker, O. (ed.), 1991. Field Experiments and Measurement Program in Geomorphology. Balkema and UBC Press: Vancouver, 224 pp.

H.M. and Slaymaker, O. (eds.), 1983. Canada's Cold Environments. McGill-Queens: Montreal, 340 pp.

Co-editor of:

Mountain Geomorphology: Geomorphological Processes in the Canadian Cordillera (Vancouver: Tantalus Research, 1972), with H.J. McPherson.

[BCBW 2015]