The Canadian Mineralogist has its roots in Contributions to Canadian Mineralogy (part of the University of Toronto Studies, Geological Series), which was founded in 1921 by Thomas Leonard Walker and was the leading publication of academic mineralogical research in Canada for many years.

Support for Studies was withdrawn in 1948, but Martin Peacock, who at the time was both responsible for editing Contributions and serving as President of the Mineralogical Society of America, persuaded his council to devote one of the six yearly numbers of American Mineralogist to Canadian papers; they were called Canadian Contributions. Canadian Contributions continued as part of American Mineralogist until 1955, with The Canadian Mineralogist coming into existence two years later, in 1957.

The Canadian Mineralogist is recognized to be the continuation of the earlier Contributions, and its volumes are numbered accordingly. The Contributions to Canadian Mineralogy, University of Toronto Studies have been designated as volumes 1 to 4 of The Canadian Mineralogist; the seven Contributions of American Mineralogist have been designated as volume 5; and thus the first volume published as The Canadian Mineralogist is volume 6.