The emergence and wide acceptance of plate tectonics has had a profound influence on the way we look at the Earth. Starting as a theory to explain similarities in coast lines across the Atlantic, plate tectonics has become a unifying theory in the earth sciences. In this paper, we describe the role of staff of the Geological Survey of Canada in the developing and refining of this theory. At the same time, we illustrate the effect plate tectonics has had on our understanding of the evolution of offshore eastern Canada. Of critical importance in this development was the unique data set collected by systematic surveying of this region, largely by the Geological Survey of Canada, making the Grand Banks of Newfoundland one of the best-studied offshore areas in the world. Plate tectonic theory not only offers a framework for the evolution of ocean basins, continental margins, and their sedimentary basins, but also for the assemblage of continents.