Born in Outremont, Quebec (now part of Montreal), he received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (B. Sc. A. ) in 1936 and a Ph. D. in Science in 1939 from the University of Geneva. From 1939 until 1942 he worked at the Montreal Botanical Garden. From 1943 until 1950 he taught at the Université de Montréal. From 1950 until 1955 he worked at the University of Michigan Botanical Gardens. From 1955 until 1961 he worked in the Faculty of Science and as the director of the Botanical Institute at the Université de Montréal. In 1961 he returned to the United States as the assistant director of the New York Botanical Garden and as a professor of botany and geography at the Columbia University. From 1972 until 1976 he was the Director of the Research Centre for Sciences and the Environment at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). In 1988 he was made a Professor Emeritus at UQAM, but he still worked there after mandatory retirement (in 1976, at 65 years old) to year 2004, aged 93.
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