Keith Downey (agricultural scientist)

Richard Keith Downey, OC SOM FRSC (born January 26, 1927) is a Canadian agricultural scientist and, as one of the originators of canola, became known as the "Father of Canola".

Richard Keith Downey

Born (1927-01-26) January 26, 1927 (age 95)
Occupationagricultural scientist

Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, In 1951 he received a B.S.A. and in 1952 an M.Sc. from the University of Saskatchewan. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1961. In 1951 he started working for Agriculture Canada, becoming in 1993 a Senior Research Scientist Emeritus. In 1993, he started his own firm and is president of Canoglobe Consulting Inc.[1]

He worked with Baldur Stefansson to develop a variety of rapeseed that could be used as an edible oil.[2] This is known as canola and is one of Canada’s top edible oils and one of the largest oilseed crops in the world. He is the breeder and co-breeder of 13 rapeseed/canola varieties and five condiment mustard varieties.

In 1998, "Downey Street" at a research and development park in Saskatoon was named in his honour.


  • 1963 Bond Gold Medal, American Oil Chemists’ Society
  • 1968 Public Service Merit Award, Government of Canada
  • 1971 Honorary Life Membership Canadian Seed Growers’ Association
  • 1973 Grindley Medal, Agriculture Institute of Canada
  • 1975 Honorary Life Membership Saskatchewan Rapeseed Growers’ Association
  • 1975 Royal Bank Award, Royal Bank
  • 1976 Officer, Order of Canada[3]
  • 1976 Fellow, Agriculture Institute of Canada
  • 1977 Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal
  • 1979 Fellow Royal Society of Canada
  • 1982 Century Saskatoon Award, City of Saskatoon
  • 1986 Distinguished Graduate Award, University of Saskatchewan, College of Agriculture
  • 1990 Gold Medal, co-recipient, Professional Institute of Canada
  • 1992 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal
  • 1994 Honorary Doctor of Science, University of Saskatchewan
  • 1994 Clark-Newman Award, Canadian Seed Growers Association
  • 1995 J. Mcansh Award, Canola Council of Canada
  • 1995 Eminent Scientist Award / Groupe Consultatif International de Recherche sur le Colza
  • 1995 Médaille Chevreul / Association Francaise pour l’Etude des Corps Gras, France
  • 1996 Hall of Fame, Saskatchewan Agriculture Hall of Fame
  • 1997 Honorary Doctorate of Law University of Lethbridge
  • 1997 Recognition Award, Canadian Seed Trade Association
  • 2000 Honorary Life Membership Saskatchewan Agriculture Graduates Association
  • 2002 Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame
  • 2002 Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
  • 2016 Saskatchewan Order of Merit
  • 2017 Canola Influencer Award, SaskCanola


  1. ^ "Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame citation". Archived from the original on 2012-08-01.
  2. ^ " Profile : Richard Keith Downey". GCS Research Society.
  3. ^ Order of Canada citation