John Tuzo Wilson (1908–1993) was one of the greatest Canadian scientists of the 20th century. His contributions to Earth Sciences, leading the formulation of the theory of plate tectonics, have revolutionized our understanding of how the planet Earth works and evolved over the past 4 billion years. This 50th anniversary special issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences is dedicated in honour of John Tuzo Wilson, who inspired tens of thousands of students all around the world to study the Earth. This special issue contains 12 papers dealing with various aspects of the “Wilson Cycle” in the geologic record, plate tectonics, mantle plumes, and how John Tuzo Wilson accepted “continental drift” and formulated the theory of plate tectonics. The contributions have mostly been made by geoscientists who directly or indirectly associated with John Tuzo Wilson and have contributed significantly to the plate tectonics paradigm.