George Barnston (c1800-1883) was both an important figure in the history of the Hudson’s Bay Company and a reputable Canadian botanist. He collected plants with Professor Macoun with much of his material now stored at McGill's herbarium.
George's son, James (1831-1858), was a medical doctor with a passion for botany. He was appointed to the newly established Chair of Botany at McGill in 1857. His untimely death a year later cut a promising career short. He had been the fist curator of the McGill College Herbarium and served as the curator of the Montreal Natural History Society.