Canada’s most famous Masons
1. Sir John Abbott (12 March 1821 – 30 October 1893): was Canada’s first native-born prime minister. He received a Bachelor of Civil Law degree from McGill College (now McGill University) in 1847, and was widely viewed as the most successful lawyer in Canada for many years, as measured by income. He began lecturing in commercial and criminal law at McGill in 1853, and in 1855 he became a professor and dean of its Faculty of Law, where Sir Wilfrid Laurier was among his students. He continued in this position until 1880. Upon his retirement, McGill named him emeritus professor, and in 1881 appointed him to its Board of Governors.
When Prime Minister Macdonald died in office, Abbott supported John Thompson to succeed him, but reluctantly accepted the plea of the divided Conservative party that he should lead the government, though he considered himself a caretaker prime minister for his seventeen months in office. He was one of just two Canadian Prime Ministers, the other being Mackenzie Bowell, to have held the office while serving in the Senate rather than the House of Commons.
During his term, there were 52 by-elections, 42 of which were won by the Conservatives, increasing their majority by 13 seats – evidence of Abbott’s effectiveness as prime minister. One year into his time as prime minister, Abbott attempted to turn the office over to Thompson, but this was rejected due to anti-Catholic sentiment in the Tory caucus. Suffering from the early stages of cancer of the brain, Abbott’s health failed in 1892 and he retired to private life, whereupon Thompson finally became Prime Minister. Abbott died less than a year later at the age of 72.
2. Sir Allan Bristol Aylesworth (27 November 1854 – 13 February 1952): was a barrister who achieved prominence when he was appointed postmaster General of Canada in 1905. He served as Minister of Labour in the Laurier Cabinet in 1905 and as Minister of Justice from 1906 to 1911. In the early 1900s, he was part of a Commission that argued the Alaskan/Canadian boundaries. In 1910, he acted as British Agent in the North American Coast Fisheries arbitration at The Hague. For that service he received a Knighthood and became Sir Allen Bristol Aylesworth K.C.M.G. (Knight Commander of St Michael and St George). He was called to the Canadian Senate in 1923 serving until his death in 1952.
3. Harold Ballard, (30 July 1903 – 11 April 1990): was a businessman and sportsman, owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL. He and his father designed and manufactured the world famous Ballard tube skate. Harold Ballard was an Olympic athlete who represented Canada as the 1928 flag bearer. He managed or coached several hockey teams to victories in both the Allan Cup and the Memorial Cup. In 1955, he was awarded the Order of Merit from the Ontario Hockey Association.
Few names in the Toronto sports scene stir emotions like the name of Harold Ballard who, during the 1962-63 season became one of three principal owners of Toronto Maple Leafs and, nine years later, became the principal owner and chief executive of Maple Leaf Gardens Limited, helping to bring the Stanley Cup to Toronto on three occasions. He became a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builder category in 1977. The financially failing Hamilton Tiger Cats of the CFL were given new life when Ballard became owner. The Tiger Cats went on to win the Grey Cup in 1986 after winning the and were Eastern Conference winners in 1980, 1984, 1985 and 1986. In 1987, he became a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Despite the intensity he displayed in his role as a powerful NHL owner, Ballard had a warmth and compassion for those less privileged than himself. He was always keenly aware of the need to help others, and during his lifetime, he helped many quietly and without fanfare, including the Timmy Tyke hockey tournament, Whipper Billy Watson’s skate-a-thon, the first Special Olympics in 1970 and many organizations devoted to helping physically disabled or underprivileged children. He was honoured by many including the Canadian Rehabilitation Council for the Disabled. He was perhaps one of the most philanthropic individuals of his time. His sense of personal responsibility toward society was expressed in the disposition of his own fortune, virtually all of which was left to The Harold E. Ballard Foundation, thereby creating one of Canada’s largest private philanthropies and geared to improving society and the lives of Canadians.
4. Richard Bedford Bennett (3 July 1870 – 26 June 1947) was a Canadian lawyer, businessman, politician and philanthropist, who served as Canada’s 11th Prime Minister, from August 7, 1930 to October 23, 1935. He served as Prime Minister during the worst years of the Great Depression.
Bennett retired to England in 1938, and on June 12, 1941, became the first and only Canadian Prime Minister to be elevated to peerage, to Viscount Bennett of Mickleham, in the county of Surrey, and of Calgary and Hopewell in the Dominion of Canada.
RB Bennett was particularly interested in expanding public awareness and accessibility to Canadian historical records, leading him to serve as president of the Champlain Society from 1933 until his death in 1947.
5. Sir Robert Laird Borden (26 June 1854 – 10 June 1937): was a lawyer, politician, and prime minister of Canada from 1911–20. The eighth prime minister of Canada, Borden was originally a Halifax lawyer and leader of the Liberal-Conservative Party 1901–20, and architect of the Conservative victory in the “Reciprocity Election” of 1911. He was also prime minister during the First World War and a leading figure in the achievement of “Dominion Status” and the transition from the British Empire to the British Commonwealth of Nations in Canada. Borden retired as prime minister in 1920. In his last years, he was recognized as an international statesman and firm advocate of the League of Nations while receiving many accolades for his work and contributions to Canada. He pursued a successful career in business and served as chancellor of Queen’s University after his tenure as Prime Minister.
6. Sir MacKenzie Bowell (27 December 1823 – 10 December 1917): was a newspaperman, militia officer, Orangeman, and politician. In 1848 he became a partner and Editor of the Belleville Intelligencer; and in 1859, a founding member of the Canadian Press Association. The chair for several years of both the board of school trustees and the grammar school board, he was a member and vice-president of the local board of agriculture and arts as well. In Hastings County, he helped organize the Belleville Volunteer Militia Rifle Company in 1857; he saw active duty at Amherstburg, Upper Canada, during the American Civil War, and at Prescott during the Fenian disturbances of 1866. Bowell was defeated in his bid for Hastings North in the provincial election of 1863 but elected for the same constituency to the new House of Commons in 1867, which he would hold for the next 25 years. He served as the 5th Prime Minister of Canada 1894-1896; also summoned to the Senate, serving there from 1892 to 1906. He was knighted in 1895. He promoted the completion of an Australia-North America submarine link and introduced legislation supporting Roman Catholic rights in Manitoba schools.
7. Samuel Bronfman (27 February 1889 – 10 July 1971): was a businessman who, in 1928, acquired Joseph E. Seagram & Sons of Waterloo. He renamed the company Seagram Co. Ltd. and built an empire based on the appeal of brand names, becoming an international distributor of alcoholic beverages.
In 1952, he established the Samuel and Sadie Bronfman Family Foundation, one of Canada’s major private granting foundations. Bronfman was President of the Canadian Jewish Congress from 1939 to 1962, and he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1967. In 1971, he helped to establish the Bronfman Building at McGill University. The building was named in his honour as appreciation for his donation to the university. The Bronfman family has continued its support of the university; in 1993 they created the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, and in 2002 donated the Seagram Building on Sherbrooke St. to McGill. The Bronfman Archaeology Wing of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Israel, is named for Samuel Bronfman and his wife.
8. Captain Arthur Roy Brown (23 December 1893 – 9 March 1944): was a WWI pilot who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. After entering the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915 as a flight sub-lieutenant, Brown set sail for England on November 22, 1915 and underwent further training at Chingford. On 2 May 1916, Brown crashed his Avro 504 emerging apparently unscathed, though next morning he experienced severe back pain as he had broken a vertebra. He spent two months in hospital and in September 1916 was posted to Eastchurch Gunnery School. In March 1917, Brown was posted to No. 9 Naval Squadron, flying coastal patrols off the Belgium. He was elevated to flight commander in February of 1918.
In what would become the most famous aerial combat of the World War 1, Brown’s flight encountered Jasta 11 on the morning of April 21, 1918. In the battle that followed, engaging a red Fokker DRI, he was officially credited with shooting down Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. For this action, Brown received a bar to his Distinguished Service Cross.
In 1919, Brown left the Royal Air Force and returned to Canada where he worked as an accountant, founded a small airline and became an editor for “Canadian Aviation” magazine. Credited with downing ten enemy planes, Brown was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross on 2 November 1917, with a Bar on 21 June 1918. A memorial plaque titled “Captain A. Roy Brown, D.S.C. 1893-1944”, was erected at the Carleton Place Public Library by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, in memory of Brown and in November 2012, the town further paid tribute to Brown with a prominent mural on main street and opened a museum dedicated to him.
9. Robert Butchart (30 March 1856 – 27 October 1943) was a Canadian businessman and a pioneer in the thriving North American cement industry. He was attracted to Canada’s West Coast by lime deposits, moving from Owen Sound, Ontario. In 1904 he developed a quarry and built a cement plant at Tod Inlet, Vancouver Island, to provide cement from San Francisco to Victoria.
As the limestone pits were exhausted, Robert Butchart’s wife, Jennie Butchart, brought tons of top soil in, and little by little, the quarry bloomed into the spectacular Sunken Garden. The renown of the Gardens spread, and by the 1920’s more than fifty thousand people visited each year. The Butchart’s christened the Gardens “Benvenuto”, Italian for “welcome.”
In 2004, the Gardens were designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
10. Henry Cockshutt (July 8, 1868 – November 26, 1944): was the 13th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. He started in the family business, Cockshutt Plow Company, in 1884, becoming treasurer in 1888, secretary-treasurer in 1891, and president in 1911. In 1889, he was elected to Brantford City Council as an alderman and was elected mayor in 1899. In 1906 he was president of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association. He fought during WW1 with the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
In the 1917 federal election he ran unsuccessfully as an independent candidate in the riding of Brant. In 1921, he was appointed lieutenant-governor of Ontario and served as King George V’s representative until 1927. From 1929 to 1944, he served as chancellor of the University of Western Ontario. In 1934, he retired as president of the Cockshutt Plow Company and became chairman of the board, which he held until his death.
11. Francis Michael “King” Clancy, (25 February 1903 – 10 November 1986): was a professional hockey player, coach, referee and executive. He played sixteen seasons in the NHL for the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs. He was a member of three Stanley Cup championship teams, two with Ottawa and one with Toronto, was named to the All-Star team and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958. In 1930, he played all six positions on the ice in one game including goalie while the regular goalie served a two-minute minor penalty. After retiring as a player, Clancy coached for several years before becoming a referee in the NHL. He was a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs executive from 1958 until his death in 1986.
12. Charles William “The Big Bomber” Conacher, Sr. (20 December 1909 – 30 December 1967): was a Canadian professional ice hockey forward who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings and New York Americans in the National Hockey League. He led the NHL five times in goals, and twice led in overall scoring. In 2013 he was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.
After his retirement, Conacher went into coaching, meeting with remarkable success: he led the junior league Oshawa Generals to four straight OHA Championships between 1941 and 1944, as well as three straight Eastern Canada amateur championships in 1942, 1943 and 1944, and the Memorial Cup Championship in 1944. The Charlie Conacher Humanitarian Award was an award named after him. It was given out to the NHL player who best exhibited outstanding humanitarian and public services contributions, and was awarded from 1968 to 1984.
13. Sir Arthur William Currie, GCMG, KCB (5 December 1875 – 30 November 1933): was a senior officer of the Canadian Army who fought during World War I. He had the unique distinction of starting his military career on the very bottom rung as a pre-war militia gunner before rising through the ranks to become the first Canadian commander of the four divisions of the unified Canadian Corps of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was the first Canadian to attain the rank of full general. Currie’s success was based on his ability to rapidly adapt brigade tactics to the exigencies of trench warfare, using “set piece” operations and “bite-and-hold” tactics. He is generally considered to be among the most capable commanders of the Western Front, and one of the finest commanders in Canadian military history.
14. William Grenville “Bill” Davis, PCCCQC (30 July 1929 -): was the 18thPremier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985. He was first elected to the Legislative Assembly in the 1959 provincial election at the age of 29. Davis won the seat by a surprisingly narrow 1,203 votes because the election took place soon after John Diefenbaker cancelled the Avro Arrow program leaving 14,000 out of work and most of whom resided in that riding. Davis served as a backbench supporter of Leslie Frost’s government before being appointed Minister of Education by Premier John Robarts. He was given additional responsibilities as Ontario’s Minister of University Affairs in 1964 and held both portfolios until 1971.
He established many new public schools, often in centralized locations to accommodate larger numbers of students. Davis also undertook dramatic revisions of Ontario’s outdated and inefficient school board system, reducing the 3,676 boards of 1962 to only 192 in 1967. He also created new universities, including Trent University and Brock University, and established twenty-two community colleges, the first of which opened its doors in 1966. He established the TVOntario educational television network in 1970.
Davis was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1985, and since his retirement from politics has served on numerous corporate boards. He was a keynote speaker at the 2004 Progressive Conservative leadership convention. Throughout his political career, Davis often remarked upon the lasting influence of his hometown of Brampton, Ontario where he is known as “Brampton Billy”.
15. John George Diefenbaker (18 September 1895 – 16 August 1979): was the 13th Prime Minister of Canada, serving from June 21, 1957 to April 22, 1963. He was the only Progressive Conservative party leader between 1930 and 1979 to lead the party to an election victory, doing so three times, although only once with a majority of seats in the Canadian House of Commons.
Diefenbaker was born in Neustadt, Ontario in 1895 but in 1903, his family migrated west to the portion of the North-West Territories which would shortly thereafter become the province of Saskatchewan. After brief service in World War I, Diefenbaker became a noted criminal defence lawyer. He contested elections through the 1920s and 1930s with little success until he was finally elected to the House of Commons in 1940. Diefenbaker was repeatedly a candidate for the PC leadership, finally gaining that position in 1956, on his third attempt. In 1957, he led the Tories to their first electoral victory in 27 years and a year later, spearheaded them to one of their greatest triumphs. Diefenbaker appointed the first female minister in Canadian history to his Cabinet, as well as the first aboriginal member of the Senate. During his six years as Prime Minister, his government obtained passage of the Canadian Bill of Rights and granted the vote to the First Nations and Inuit peoples. In foreign policy, his stance against apartheid helped secure the departure of South Africa from the Commonwealth of Nations, but his indecision on whether to accept Bomarc nuclear missiles from the United States led to his government’s downfall. Diefenbaker is also remembered for his role in the 1959 cancellation of the Avro Arrow project.
Diefenbaker’s performance as Opposition Leader was heralded but his second loss at the polls prompted opponents within the party to hold a leadership convention in 1967. He remained an MP until his death in 1979, two months after Joe Clark became the next Tory Prime Minister.
16. Thomas C. Douglas (20 October 1904 – 24 February 1986) was a Canadian politician and Baptist Minister, elected to the Canadian House of Commons for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in 1935. He left federal politics to become the Saskatchewan CCF’s leader and then the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961. His government was the first in North America to introduce the single-payer, universal health care program.
After setting up Saskatchewan’s medicare program, Douglas stepped down as premier and ran to lead the newly formed federal New Democratic Party (NDP), the successor party of the National CCF. He was elected as its first federal leader in 1961.
Douglas was awarded many honorary degrees, and a foundation was named for him and his political mentor Major James Coldwell in 1971. In 1981, he was invested into the Order of Canada, and he became a member of Canada’s Privy Council in 1984, two years before his death. In 2004, a CBC Television program named Tommy Douglas “The Greatest Canadian”, based on a Canada-wide, viewer-supported survey.
17. George Alexander Drew (7 May 1894 – 4 January 1973): was a Canadian conservative politician who founded a Progressive Conservative dynasty in Ontario that lasted 42 years. He served as the 14th Premier of Ontario from 1943 to 1948.
He was elected mayor of the City of Guelph in 1925 after serving as an alderman. In 1929 he left to become assistant master and then master of the Supreme Court of Ontario. As a practising lawyer, in 1931, he was appointed the first Chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission by the provincial Conservative government but was fired by the Liberal government of the colourful Mitch Hepburn after it came to power in the 1934 provincial election. In the 1943 provincial election, the Progressive Conservatives won a minority government, narrowly beating the social democratic Co-operative Commonwealth Federation. Drew won by responding to the mood of the times, and running on a relatively left-wing platform, promising such radical reforms as free dental care and universal health care. While his government did not implement either of these election promises, it did establish the basis for the Tory regimes that followed by trying to steer a moderate course. Drew’s government also introduced the Drew Regulation in 1944, which made it compulsory for Ontario schools to provide one hour of religious instruction a week.
Drew’s government insisted on spending $400 million in a ten-year program to standardize Ontario’s electricity system with the rest of North America thereby allowing the province to more easily import and export electricity – a necessary prerequisite for the province’s industrial development. “Colonel Drew” (as he liked to be called) won the 1948 federal Progressive Conservative leadership convention, defeating John Diefenbaker on the first ballot. Drew led his party in the 1949 and 1953 federal elections, before resigning in 1956 in poor health following a near fatal attack of meningitis. He was succeeded by John Diefenbaker.
He served as the first Chancellor of the University of Guelph from 1965 until 1971 and in 1967, “for his services in government”, he entered the newly created Order of Canada as a Companion.
18. Alexander Robert Dunn (15 September 1833 – 25 January 1868): was the first Canadian recipient of Victoria Cross. At 6’3″, Dunn sitting on a horse was an impressive figure. Born in York (later Toronto) in September of 1833, he attended Upper Canada College. At the age of 19, he purchased a commission in the 11th Hussars. Although he had a reputation as a strong disciplinarian, he was popular and respected by the men serving under him.
On October 25, 1854, in the Crimean War, Dunn led his men into “The Valley of Death” flanked by slopes on either side heavily defended by Russian troops and artillery. On that fateful day, 156 men were killed or listed as missing, 134 were wounded and 14 prisoners were taken. Of Dunn’s regiment of 110 cavalrymen, only 25 survived, two of whom had Dunn to thank.
While retiring from the scene, Dunn saw that Sergeant Robert Bentley from his troop was wrestling with his horse, which had been severely wounded, and the Russians had singled him out as a straggler. Three of them concentrated their efforts to knock him out of his saddle and were preparing to finish him off. Seeing his predicament, Dunn wheeled around and galloped through a maze of dead and dying, as well as rider-less horses charging about in all directions to rescue him. Prancing, side-wheeling, rearing his thoroughbred, he parried, thrusted and slashed at the assailants, felling them all in a matter of minutes. But Bentley was still in dire straights, desperately hanging on to his horse by one of the stirrups. Dunn dismounted, lifted Bentley back into his own saddle, then belted the horse on the rump to send it galloping towards the British lines. On foot, Dunn suddenly caught sight of Private Harvey Levett from his troop who had lost his mount and was in danger of being cut down by a Russian Hussar. Dunn rushed to his aid and skewered the enemy with his giant-sized sabre.
For his bravery, Alexander Robert Dunn was awarded the Victoria Cross, Canada’s first.
19. Kenneth Jewell Colpoys Dunstan (22 Jan 1859 – 30 December 1938): was the Vice-President of the Bell Telephone Company of Canada; President of the Canadian Electrical Association, The Toronto Board of Trade, Toronto Civic Guild, Ontario Associated Boards of Trade, College Heights Association and City Improvement Committee, Canadian Club as well as a member of many other bodies. During World War I he served as President of the Toronto Red Cross and also traveled to England and France during wartime, gathering information on the condition of Canadian troops. He was an Honorary Member of the Telephone Pioneers of America and the Advisory Committee of the Ontario Research Foundation. His interest in Cricket saw him serving on the Board of Governors of the Toronto and District Cricket Council.
20. John David Eaton, (4 October 1909 – 4 August 1973): was a Canadian businessman and a member of the prominent Eaton family, the second son of Sir John Craig Eaton and Lady Flora McCrea Eaton of Toronto. John David’s grandfather was Timothy Eaton, founder Eaton’s. John David’s father, Sir John, took on the role of president of the company when the founder died in 1907.
Eaton left Cambridge at age 21 to begin his apprenticeship with the T. EATON CO LTD in the men’s wear department of the Toronto store. He learned the firm’s various operations, became a director in 1934, a vice-president in 1937, and president in 1942. During his presidency the business expanded in the North and West, and contributory medical insurance and a retirement plan for employees were introduced. Eaton personally contributed $50 million to the latter when it began in 1948, fuelling speculation that he was the richest man in the country. A shy man, he lived quietly.
John David and his wife Signy, were generous philanthropists, and supported a number of charitable organizations, including the Royal Ontario Museum. Today, the John David and Signy Eaton Charitable Foundation continues to provide support by awarding grants to various causes including hospitals, The Arts, conservation, athletics and education.
21. Ezra Butler Eddy (22 August 22 1827 – 10 February 1906): was a Canadian businessman and political figure. Although born in the United States, Ezra Butler Eddy who was one of Canada’s most progressive manufacturers, became one of its most loyal citizens and few men of his time were more devoted to his Sovereign’s institutions and more imbued with the National traditions and aspirations than was he.
He began manufacturing wooden matches by hand in Burlington, Vermont in 1851. In 1854, he brought his business to Hull, Quebec when he was only twenty-four, where he began producing matches using discarded wood from the nearby sawmills. With the help of his first wife, E. B. Eddy produced his matches by hand at his home in Hull. His business grew rapidly, becoming one of the largest match factories in the world.
He represented Ottawa electoral district in the Legislative Assembly of Quebec from 1871 to 1875. He was a member of the municipal council for Hull from 1878 to 1888 and mayor from 1881 to 1885, from 1887 to 1888 and from 1891 to 1892. He tabled the bill creating the City of Hull in 1875. Besides running his factories, he was an administrator of the Canada Central Railway Company.
22. George Howard Ferguson (18 June 1870 – 21 February 1946): was a lawyer, Conservative politician, and premier of Ontario from 1923-30. He personified Ontario in the 1920s giving a mix of 19th-century values backed with 20th-century ambitions. A visionary and as premier at the climax of industrialization’s first great wave in Canada, he set a style of government that prevails still to this day. Confident that industry, protected by the tariff, and the development of natural resources would provide work and wealth for all, his government tried to create the climate and facilities conducive to private investment in Ontario’s forests, mines and industrial factories. Yet his administration did not permit exploitation of any kind of its workers and resources leading to measures to conserve and regulate being instituted. Action to meet the social problems of industrialization was slow and parsimonious, yet at times innovative, designed to extend educational and medical services to all regions and groups. He lifted some of the restrictions placed on Ontario’s bilingual schools by the infamous Regulation 17 (1912), his earlier answer to mounting French Canadian Nationalism and a factor in national disunity during WWI. A master of brokerage politics, he maintained harmony which we still enjoy today among the classes and regions in Ontario.
23. Donald Methuen Fleming; (1905-1986) R.W. Bro. Fleming was born in Exeter, Ontario, son of Louis Charles Fleming and Maud Margaret Wright. He received his early education in Galt, where his father taught mathematics at Galt Collegiate Institute and from which he graduated, at 16, after winning the first Carter Scholarship for Waterloo County. He came to Toronto that same year, 1921, as a student in Arts at University of Toronto. He won the Alexander MacKenzie Scholarship in Political Science in both his second and third years, thus establishing two more “firsts”. He graduated in Arts in 1925 as a winner of the highest award in that faculty, namely the Governor-General’s Gold Medal for General Proficiency, and he was also awarded the Breuls Gold Medal for Political Science. Mr. Fleming then enrolled at Osgoode Hall Law School, and after winning two more scholarships, in 1926 and 1927 respectively, graduated from there in 1928 with the Silver Medal and the Christopher Robinson Memorial Scholarship.
He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1928 (K.C. 1944), served on City Council, The Board of Trade and The Board of Education. A Conservative in politics, he was elected in 1945 to represent Toronto-Eglinton in the House of Commons and retained that seat in succeeding elections, including the election of June 1957, following which he joined the Diefenbaker Cabinet as Minister of Finance. Bro. Fleming was a contender for the party leadership in 1948 and 1956. He was active in the YMCA and was Trustee of the Toronto General Hospital, a director of the Canadian National Exhibition and a Senator of the University of Toronto.
24. Sir Sandford Fleming, KCMG (January 7, 1827 – July 22, 1915): was a Scottish-born Canadian engineer and inventor. He proposed worldwide standard time zones, designed Canada’s first postage stamp, left a huge body of surveying and cartography, engineered much of the Intercolonial Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway, and was a founding member of the Royal Society of Canada and founder of the Royal Canadian Institute, a science organization in Toronto.
25. Gwyllyn Samuel Newton “Glenn” Ford (1 May 1916 – 30 August 30 2006): was a Canadian-born American actor from Hollywood’s Golden Era with a career that lasted more than 50 years.
He was born at Jeffrey Hale Hospital in Quebec City, the son of the Québécois Hannah Wood Mitchell and Newton Ford, a railway man. Through his father, Ford was a great-nephew of Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald and also related to U.S. President Martin van Buren.
Ford starred in over 80 film productions as well as several TV series. He was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1957 and 1958, winning the award for Best Actor in 1962. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He enlisted as a private in the United States Marine Corps when the US entered WWII and later in 1958 he enlisted in the US Naval Reserve, retiring in the 1970’s with the rank of Captain.
26. Leslie Miscampbell Frost (20 September 1895 – 4 May 1973): was a lawyer and premier of Ontario from 1949 to 1961. After service in WWI, Leslie Frost graduated from Osgoode Hall in 1921. He was elected to the legislature in 1937 and appointed provincial treasurer and minister of mines in the Cabinet of 1943. Six years later he became Conservative leader, inheriting the premiership, and led his party to 3 sweeping electoral victories. His governments initiated legislation in health, education and human rights, and introduced voting rights for First Nations, increased the number of universities in the province from four to twelve, was the first to pass laws providing penalties for racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination on private property, introduced the Fair Employment Practices Act and Fair Accommodation Practices Act that produced the Ontario Human Rights Code in 1962. Frost’s government oversaw the federation of the old city of Toronto with twelve surrounding municipalities to become Metropolitan Toronto. Upon retirement from politics, Frost served on the Board of Governors of the University of Toronto, and was Chancellor of Trent University from 1967 to 1973. A self-declared “environmentalist”, in retirement, he continued his interest in the outdoors and undertook for the government of Ontario an exhaustive investigation of the state and potential of Algonquin Provincial Park.
27. Jake Gaudaur, Jr. (5 October 1920 – 4 December 2007): was an all-around athlete at Orillia Collegiate Institute where he was a national rowing champion as well as an excellent lacrosse player like his father. At 19, he joined the Hamilton Tigers, and the following year he played for the Toronto Argonauts. He served as a pilot in the Second World War and won the 30th Grey Cup with the Toronto RCAF Hurricanes in 1942. Following the war, Gaudaur played for, and was part owner of the Toronto Indians of the Ontario Rugby Football Union (1945–1946) and then played for the Montreal Alouettes during the 1947 season. Gaudaur returned to Hamilton and when the Tigers merged with the Hamilton Flying Wildcats in 1950, Gaudaur became team captain of the resulting Hamilton Tiger-Cats and played through the 1951 season. In 1952, he left the playing field to become a director of the team but returned to play a final year in the 1953 season helping the Tiger-Cats win their first Grey Cup. From 1954, Gaudaur was President of the Tiger-Cats and served as General Manager from 1956 to 1967, with his team appearing in 9 Grey Cups. He was named the CFL’s fifth commissioner in 1968. He was inducted as a builder into the Toronto Argonauts Hall of Fame and CFL Hall of Fame in 1984; was made an Officer of the Order of Canada; and inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. The Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Trophy is presented annually to the CFL player “who best demonstrates the attributes of Canada’s veterans in times of war, peace and military conflict”, awarded for the first time in 2010.
28. Mitchell Frederick Hepburn (12 August 1896 – 5 January 1953): was the 11th Premier of Ontario from 1934 to 1942 and the youngest Premier in Ontario history when appointed at age 37.
Born in St. Thomas, Ontario, Hepburn attended school in Elgin County and hoped to become a lawyer. His educational career ended abruptly, however, when someone threw an apple at visiting dignitary Sir Adam Beck knocking his silk top hat off of his head. Hepburn was accused of the deed, denied it, but refused to identify the culprit. Refusing to apologize he walked out of his high school and obtained a job as a bank clerk at the Canadian Bank of Commerce where he worked from 1913 to 1917 eventually becoming an accountant at the bank’s Winnipeg branch.
Hepburn’s premiership achieved international attention, which merited his appearance on Time magazine’s cover in 1937. As premier, in a public show of austerity, he closed Chorley Park, the residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, auctioned off the chauffeur driven limousines used by the previous Conservative cabinet, and fired many civil servants. In order to improve the Province’s welfare, he gave money to mining industries in Northern Ontario, and introduced compulsory milk pasteurization (in so doing, he has been credited with virtually wiping out bovine tuberculosis in the province). Breaking with the temperance stance of previous Liberal governments, Hepburn expanded the availability of liquor by allowing hotels to sell beer and wine. The government also made international news by making the Dionne quintuplets wards of the provincial crown in response to public outrage of plans by promoters to exploit the infants by putting them on display at the Chicago World’s Fair. The Legislative Assembly passed legislation in that regard, subsequently replaced in 1944 (which was not repealed until 2006).
Hepburn was the first Liberal to become Premier since George William Ross, and was the last Liberal Premier to win two successive majority terms until Dalton McGuinty. In 2008 he had a school named after him only miles away from his family’s farm.
29. Tim Horton (12 January 1930 – 21 February 1974) was a professional hockey player who played twenty-four National Hockey League seasons, twenty of them playing defence and right wing for the Toronto Maple Leafs and later for the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres. Possibly the strongest player ever to play professional hockey, Tim Horton “did not have a mean bone in his body” according to Leaf’s general manager, Punch Imlach. He has also been described as “the ice general”, and as “the strongest, most decent man in hockey”. Scott Young, eulogizing Horton in his Globe and Mail column, wrote, “I never met anyone who did not like Tim Horton”.
Tim Horton was voted to the NHL’s First All-Star Team three times and the Second All-Star Team three times; in his final season he was the only active defenceman, other than Bobby Orr, to have scored over 100 goals. His name appears on the Stanley Cup three times. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1977. At the time of his death in a car crash he was the second oldest player in the league.
Starting in 1964, there were 33 Tim Horton’s donut shops in operation by 1973. Currently there are over 1,700 in Canada and more than 110 in the U.S.A.
30. Alexander Keith (5 October 1795 – 14 December 1873) was a Scottish born Canadian brewer and politician. Born in Halkirk, Caithness, Scotland, he immigrated to Canada in 1817 where, in 1820, he founded the Alexander Keith’s Brewing Company. He served as mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia three times and as a member of the Legislative Council for 30 years.
Keith served as president of the North British Society from 1831 and chief of the Highland Society from 1868 until his death. He was Grand Master of the Maritimes for the Freemasons in 1840 and upon a reorganization of the provincial bodies, Grand Master of Nova Scotia in 1869.
Alexander Keith passed away in Halifax in 1873. He is buried in Camp Hill Cemetery, where his birthday is often marked by people visiting his grave and placing beer caps on it, as well as occasionally cards and flowers.
31. James Kirkpatrick Kerr (1 August 1841- 4 December 1916): became a barrister in 1862 and a bencher of the Law Society in 1879, being named as a QC in 1874. He practiced with Messrs Blake -both of whom were active in law and politics, Edward Blake as an MP from 1867 and Samuel Blake as a judge. In 1885 he became a partner in Kerr, Macdonald, Davidson and Paterson. He was a member of the Liberal Party and was President of the Liberal Association. He was called to the Senate on March 12, 1893, by the Governor-General, Earl Minto. On January 16, 1896 he was named as Speaker of the Senate and in 1911 he was created a Privy Councillor of Canada.
He served as a delegate to both the Anglican Diocesan and Provincial Synods. He was active in civic affairs and was one of the founders of the Havergal Ladies College in Toronto. He was also a Director of the Canadian General Electric Company. He was present at the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911 and was presented to their Majesties in June 1911.
32. Henry Asbjorn Larsen (30 September 1899 – 29 October 1964): was a mounted policeman, seaman, and explorer. Larsen went to sea in a square-rigger at the tender age of 15. Inspired by the career of his countryman Roald Amundsen, he dreamed of exploring the Arctic. After a voyage to the Beaufort Sea he became a Canadian citizen in 1927, and in 1928 joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He was assigned as first mate to RCMP schooner St. Roch on her maiden voyage to the western Arctic in 1928 where later that year he was made skipper, a position he retained until 1948. Under Larsen, called by the Inuit “Hanorie Umiarjuag” or “Henry with the Big Ship”, the St. Roch patrolled the Canadian Arctic coast, often wintering in the North. The first ship to traverse the Northwest Passage from west to east (1940-42), it was the first to make the passage in both directions (1944) and later it was the first ship to circumnavigate North America (1950). Larsen retired with the rank of superintendent in 1961.
33. Atholl Layton (1921 – 18 January 1984): was a professional Wrestler known to many as the colourful commentator for thousands of wrestling shows. Born in Surrey, England in 1921, Athol Layton moved to Australia at the age of 13. After discharge from the Australian Imperial Forces after World War II — where he was Australia’s Heavyweight Amateur Boxing Champ for two years — he settled down with his wife to run a pub. Upon meeting a travelling troupe of boxers and wrestlers, he became interested in the sport and in Singapore in 1949 had his first wrestling match. After a short spell in England learning about the sport, Layton was recruited by Toronto promoter Frank Tunney. He eventually became a fan favourite thanks to his many famous battles with Whipper Billy Watson. His last match was in 1976 at the age of 56 and he began announcing almost immediately after retiring.
Layton was a great public citizen, and became a Canadian citizen in 1958. He was nominated to run as a Liberal in a Toronto riding in the 1963 Ontario election, but chose to step aside before the election. Well-known for his involvement with charities and social organizations, he was presented with the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship in 1983. He died after a heart attack in 1984 at age 63.
34. Herbert Allan Borden Leal, O.C., Q.C. (1917 – 1999): was a lawyer and an athlete who enjoyed sailing, fishing, golf and skiing. This dominance of sporting activities is no surprise when it is realized that he went to McMaster University on an Ontario Hockey Association scholarship, where he played defence and was a team captain in 1940. He also played football for McMaster and was a member of its 1940 championship squad. He was a member of the 1938 boxing team and won the inter-collegiate heavyweight title in that sport. He is a charter member of McMaster’s Sports Hall of Fame.
One of two Ontario Rhodes Scholars in 1940, Leal attended Osgoode Hall and was called to the bar in 1948. He received his LL.M at the Law School of Harvard University. He received honorary degrees from McMaster, York, Dalhousie, and the University of Western Ontario, and was made McMaster’s Chancellor in 1977.
The list of Leal’s professional positions and activities is vast, suffice it to say he has been: Lecturer, Professor and Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School; member and vice-chairman of the Ontario Law Reform Commission; and special advisor to the Premier on constitutional matters. He served with distinction with the Royal Canadian Artillery in WWII and retired with the rank of Captain. He is a member of the Order of Canada and was made an Officer of that prestigious and distinguished body.
35. John Ross Matheson (14 November 1917 – 27 December 2013) was a Canadian lawyer, judge and politician most famous for his role in developing the maple leaf flag and the Order of Canada.
Matheson served as an officer in the 1st Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse artillery in Italy during World War Two where he was wounded, retiring from the military with the rank of Colonel.
Matheson was elected MP for Leeds in a bi-election in 1961, and re-elected in 1962, 1963 and 1965. In 1968, he was appointed a judge of the Judicial District of Ottawa-Carleton. In 1984, he was appointed a judge of the County Court of Lanark and then in 1985, he was appointed a judge of the District Court of Ontario. He served as a justice of the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) from 1990 to 1992.
During his political career, Matheson was a leading member of the parliamentary committee which successfully shepherded the adoption of the Canadian (Maple Leaf) flag by parliament in 1965. His master’s thesis was published under the title “Canada’s Flag: A Search for a Country.” He also provided the concept and the background research that led to the design of the Order of Canada in 1967.
36. Wilfrid Reid “Wop” May, OBEDFC (20 March 20 1896 – 21 June 21 1952): was a Canadian flying ace in the First World War and a leading post-war aviator. He was the final allied pilot to be pursued by Manfred von Richthofen before the German ace was shot down on the Western Front in 1918. After the war, May returned to Canada pioneering the role of a bush pilot while working for Canadian Airways in Northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
May is immortalized in songs by Stompin’ Tom Connors (“Wop May”), The Gumboots (“Wop May”), and John Spearn (“Roy Brown and Wop May”). He was also the subject of a 1979 National Film Board of Canada vignette.
On October 6, 2004, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity located a rock on the south slope of the Endurance Crater on Mars. The one-metre rock was given the name wopmay after the legendary Canadian bush pilot. Canada has a geologic feature known as the Wopmay Fault Zone, lying to the west of Hudson Bay along the Wopmay River, where the earliest mountains in earth’s history appeared during the Paleoproterozoic era, approximately two billion years ago.
37. Lt. Col. John Keiller McKay (11 July 1888 – 1970): was the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario. Serving overseas in World War I, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was twice wounded and three times mentioned in dispatches, and subsequently awarded the D.S.O. (Distinguished Service Order). Mackay practiced law in Toronto and became a specialist in criminal law. He was appointed a judge of the Ontario Supreme Court in 1935 and of the Provincial Court of Appeal in 1950. He was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in 1957. He was viewed as a renowned student of Shakespeare, the Bible and Robert Burns, and was deemed a typical Victorian courtier with great charm and wit.
38. Colonel Samuel McLaughlin (8 September 1871 – 6 January 1972): introduced and produced Canada’s first automobile and started what is known today as General Motors of Canada. His father produced horse-drawn carriages and cutters and his company, McLaughlin Carriage, was the largest builder of carriages in the British Commonwealth. Samuel’s brother, John, invented ginger ale and started the company known as Canada Dry.
In 1931 Sam McLaughlin was appointed honorary colonel of the Ontario regiment, a position he held until 1967. In that same year, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada. Through the McLaughlin Foundation, considerable sums of money have been donated to the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, University of Guelph and York University, as well as the McLaughlin Planetarium and the Royal Ontario Museum. He was an avid racer and breeder of horses and won several prestigious races including the Queen’s Plate three times and the Belmont Stakes. He was inducted into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in 1963 and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1977.
39. John Bayne McLean (26 September 1862 – 25 September 1950): was a Canadian publisher and founder of Maclean’s Magazine, the Financial Post and the Maclean Publishing Company, later known as Maclean-Hunter.
Born in Crieff, Ontario, near Guelph, Maclean’s father, Andrew Maclean, was a Presbyterian minister in Puslinch Township who had immigrated to Canada from Scotland. Maclean worked as a teacher and financial editor of the Toronto Mail before entering publishing with his brother Hugh Cameron Maclean by founding Canadian Grocer & Storekeeper’s Newspaper in 1887. In 1905 he founded The Business Magazine which became The Busy Man’s Magazine before changing its name to Maclean’s Magazine in 1911. He founded the Financial Post in 1907, the Farmer’s Magazine in 1910, Mayfair in 1927 and Chatelaine in 1928 building Canada’s largest magazine empire. His military rank of Lieutenant-Colonel was earned through service with the Canadian militia, in which he was Commanding Officer of Montreal’s Royal Canadian Hussars from 1898 to 1903.
40. John Molson (28 December 1763 – 11 January 1836): was an English-born brewer and entrepreneur in colonial Lower Canada. 1782, at the age of 18, Molson immigrated to Quebec, in a ship that was leaking so badly he switched ships mid-ocean. Many British Loyalists were immigrating to Quebec from the United States. This new influx increased the demand for beer. Soon Molson’s beer was in such demand that according to one of his diary entries “Cannot serve half my customers and they are increasing every day.” One of the major reasons for this was the wide appeal of his beer to different classes of Montreal society as it was ‘universally liked’ (a quote from Molson’s diary). By the start of the 19th Century, Molson’s small brewery had grown tenfold.
A crisis struck the Molson’s in 1821 when their Mansion House Hotel caught fire; the books from the library were saved but not much more was salvageable. Molson was undaunted by this and had ideas to build an even grander hotel. By 1825, Molson’s hotel was completely rebuilt and renamed the British American Hotel. Adjacent to it, Molson built his Theatre Royal. Seating 1000 guests, it was the first theatre in Montreal.
Molson continued to build his empire by purchasing multiple steamships and creating the St Lawrence Steamboat Company, which came to outnumber all of those ships operating in the United States. Molson had followed reports of the first railways being built in England and in 1832 his request for a railroad was accepted by the Assembly. The Champlain and St Lawrence Railroad, the first railway constructed in Canada, connected the St Lawrence to the Hudson River, making the trip from Montreal to New York much quicker.
In 1833 Molson’s hotel burned down again but this time he decided not to rebuild. Molson caught a high fever in December 1835. He wrote his will on January 10, 1836 and died that day. His body rests at Mount Royal Cemetery.
41. Sir William Mulock (19 January 1844 – 1 October 1944): was a Toronto lawyer who entered Federal politics as a Liberal representing North York from 1882 to 1905. As Postmaster-General in Wilfrid Laurier’s cabinet, he introduced a two-cent postage rate from Canada to all parts of the British Empire in 1898 and in 1902 he was active in the negotiations that led to the laying of the Pacific cable as part of the “all red-line” of Empire communications. As Canada’s first Minister of Labour, he introduced William L.M. King to public life as his Deputy Minister. He was appointed Chief Justice of the Exchequer Court of Ontario in 1905 and of the Court of Appeal in 1923. He served as vice-chancellor of the University of Toronto from 1881 to 1900 and then as chancellor from 1924 to 1944.
A legendary figure in his own lifetime, he retained in his hundredth year an amazing possession of his faculties. When he died on October 1, 1944, his death was described as the fall of a mighty oak that had towered above all others for longer than most people could remember. He was considered the “Grand Old Man of Canada”. Prime Minister Mackenzie King said, “He will be remembered as being among the makers of Canada.”
42. Dr. James Naismith (6 November 1861 – 28 November 1939): was a Canadian physical educator, physician, chaplain, sports coach and innovator. He studied physical education at McGill University in Montreal before moving to the United States, where he developed basketball in late 1891 while teaching at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. After receiving his MD in Denver in 1898, Naismith moved to the University of Kansas, later becoming the Kansas Jayhawks’ athletic director. Naismith lived to see basketball adopted as an Olympic demonstration sport in 1904 and as an official event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, as well as the birth of the National Invitation Tournament (1938) and the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship (1939).
The National Collegiate Athletic Association rewards its best players and coaches annually with the Naismith Awards, among them the Naismith College Player of the Year, the Naismith College Coach of the Year and the Naismith Prep Player of the Year. Naismith was inducted into the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame, the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, the McGill University Sports Hall of Fame, the Kansas State Sports Hall of Fame, FIBA Hall of Fame, and The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which was named in his honor.
43. Sir William Dillon Otter (3 December 1843 – 5 May 1929): often regarded as Canada’s first professional soldier. In 1861 ‘clerk’ Otter entered the volunteer militia and quickly fell in love with the military way of life, serving initially as a rifleman and progressing to the rank of Staff Sergeant. He first saw active service in the Fenian Raids of 1866 at the Battle of Ridgeway. By 1875, Otter had attained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and assumed command of The Queen’s Own Rifles. The permanent force’s School of Infantry, in Toronto was under his command from 1883 to 1889. From his pen came the infantry manual, ‘The Guide”, which became an indispensable soldier’s handbook and went into many editions.
During the Riel Rebellion of 1885 he was sent to the N.W. Territories and upon news of the murder of white settlers at Frog Lake, he was placed in charge of a column to relieve the town of Battleford and surrounding area. In 1897 he headed the Canadian contingent for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. In 1899, at the time of the Boer War, Otter took the first Canadian contingent, The Royal Canadian Regiment, to South Africa where he was wounded. He was later created C.B. (Companion Order of the Bath.)
Otter had a no-nonsense, no frills approach to soldiering, his convictions set by his memory of young militiamen fleeing in panic at Ridgeway. He was grimly determined that Canadian troops would not again fall into disarray on the battlefield. Upon him rested the responsibility for drilling and disciplining Canadian troops in South Africa, ensuring they were equals to the British regulars. Many British officers considered the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry to be the best in South Africa.
Otter was the first Canadian-born Chief of Staff of Canada’s military (1908 -1910). During World War I he was Director of Internment Operations of enemy nationals resident in Canada. He was knighted in 1913 and retired in 1920 as General Sir William Otter KCMG, CVO, CB.
44. Most Rev. Derwyn Trevor Owen (29 July 1876 — 9 April 1947): was the sixth Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada and the fifth Bishop of Niagara, then Toronto.
Educated at Trinity College, Toronto, he was ordained in 1901. He held curacies at St John’s Church and then St James’ Cathedral, both in Toronto. He was rector of Holy Trinity Church, Toronto from 1908 to 1914 and then the Dean of Niagara until his ordination to the episcopate. Owen was consecrated as Bishop on 24 June 1925 and enthroned as Bishop of Niagara. He was translated in 1932 to be the Bishop of Toronto. In 1934 he was elected Primate of All Canada, and thereafter styled Archbishop of Toronto and Primate of All Canada. He served as President of the Canadian Council of Churches in 1945 .
45. Nathan Phillips (7 November 1892 – 7 January 1976): was a Canadian politician and popular Mayor of Toronto, Ontario. Phillips was a member of the Conservative Party having been involved in founding the Ontario Conservative Party’s youth wing and then having run as the Conservative candidate in Spadina in the 1935 federal election. He placed second. Later, Phillips also ran unsuccessfully in St. Andrew riding during the 1937 and 1948 provincial elections.
Phillips was first elected to Toronto City Council in 1926 and was the first Toronto mayor of the Jewish faith. He served as mayor from 1955 until he lost to Donald Summerville in 1962, after thirty-six years in municipal politics. Nathan Philips is best remembered as the driving force behind the construction of Toronto’s New City Hall and the selection of a striking avant-garde design by Finnish architect Viljo Revell. Nathan Phillips Square was named in his honour.
46. The Hon. Dana H. Porter (14 January 1901 – 13 May 1967): was a lawyer and politician who received his B.A. from the University of Toronto and his M.A. at Balliol College, Oxford. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1926 and was a member of the Law Firm of Fennel, Porter & Davis, where he specialized in litigation, until 1944. Entering politics as a Conservative, he represented the constituents of Toronto St George in the Ontario Legislature for five consecutive terms and was, for fourteen years, an influential member of the Provincial cabinet.
Porter served under three Premiers as Minister of Planning and Development 1944-1948; Minister of Education 1948-1951; Provincial Secretary 1948-1949; Attorney-General 1949-1955 and Treasurer of Ontario 1955-1958. Prime Minister John Diefenbaker appointed him Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario on February 1, 1958. In 1947 he instituted, in the face of objection from Ottawa, the airlift that brought 10,000 British immigrants to the Province. In 1950, he introduced the Bill that legalized Sunday sports in Ontario. In 1953 he received the B’nai B’rith Humanitarian Award. He headed the Royal Commission on Banking and Finance from 1961 to 1964.
In 1964 he delivered the judgment that lifted the ban on the notorious novel Fanny Hill. Porter was installed as First Chancellor of the University of Waterloo in June 1960 where the Library is named in his honour.
47. William “Billy” John Potts (25 June 1915 – 4 February 1990): was a Canadian professional wrestler best known by his ring name “Whipper” Billy Watson, and was a two-time world heavyweight wrestling champion.
Outside of wrestling, Watson considered playing football for the Edmonton Eskimos in the 1950s. Watson tested the waters of politics as the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada candidate in York East in the 1965 federal election. Watson placed second with 32% of the vote, falling about 2,500 votes behind Liberal candidate. Watson also promoted his own soft drink brand. Watson was well known for his contributions to charity, helping to raise millions for campaigns such as the Easter Seals and was responsible for having 150,000 children join a safety club.
In 1974, he started the “Whipper Watson Snowarama for Timmy” to raise money for the construction of a therapeutic pool. To date, Snowarama for Easter Seals Kids has raised over $16.1 million provincially to help support children and youth with physical disabilities.
Watson was hit by an out-of-control car while placing a fireplace screen in the trunk of his car. After a three-hour surgery, his knee eventually recovered, but Watson could never wrestle again. Although he nearly lost a leg, he continued his fundraising activities into his retirement. Whipper Billy Watson was inducted into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.
48. Dr. General George Ansel Sterling Ryerson (1854 – 1925): was the founder of the Canadian Red Cross in 16 October 1896. In January 1870, although underage, he joined the Queen’s Own Rifles as a Private and participated in the Fenian Raid of 1870. Later he was Assistant Surgeon of the force that put down the 1885 North West Rebellion battle, was the Canadian Red Cross Commissioner in the 1899 Boer War, and World War One. In 1892 he founded the Association of Medical Officers of the Canadian Militia which in time led to the formation of theCanadian Army Medical Corps. He had a distinguished career as a medical officer in the military rising by 1916 to rank of Major General and set the standards for medical treatment in the military.
During the Riel rebellion at the battle of Batoche, Saskatchewan, Ryerson determined that the horse drawn springwagon, used as a makeshift ambulance, should have some mark to distinguish it from other wagons. He therefore borrowed some red factory cotton from the artillery column, cut it into two strips, and stitched them unto a white square. This was the first time the Red Cross flag was flown and that flag is part of the John Ross Robertson collection at the Toronto Public Library.
49. Joseph Seagram (15 April 1841 – 18 August 1919): was a businessman perhaps best known for his Joseph E. Seagram & Sons distilling company, makers of Seagram’s Whiskey. He was active in politics having been elected to Waterloo Town Council and later as the Federal Conservative MP for Waterloo North.
He loved race horses and founded Seagram Stables in 1888. Horses bred through his stables won a record eight Queen’s Plates in a row and a total of fifteen during his lifetime and another five when his heirs took over the stable. He was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1976.
He was also a keen philanthropist and donated fifteen acres of land to the City of Waterloo which now houses Grand River Hospital.
50. Robert William Service (16 January 1874 – 11 September 1958): was a British-Canadian poet and writer who has often been called “the Bard of the Yukon”. He is best known for his poems “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee”, from his first book, Songs of a Sourdough (1907). His vivid descriptions of the Yukon and its people made it seem that he was a veteran of the Klondike gold rush, instead of the late-arriving bank clerk he actually was. These humorous tales in verse were considered doggerel by the literary set, yet remain extremely popular to this day.
In the fall of 1904, the Canadian Bank of Commerce sent Service to their Whitehorse branch in Yukon. Whitehorse was a frontier town, less than ten years old. Service dreamed and listened to the stories of the great gold rush. He also took part in the extremely active Whitehorse social life. Returning from a walk one Saturday night, Service heard the sounds of revelry from a saloon, and the phrase “A bunch of the boys were whooping it up” popped into his head. By the next morning “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” was complete. A month or so later he heard a gold rush yarn from a Dawson mining man about a fellow who cremated his pal. He spent the night walking in the woods composing “The Cremation of Sam McGee”, and wrote it down from memory the next day. In the early spring he stood above the heights of Miles Canyon and the line ‘I have gazed on naked grandeur where there’s nothing else to gaze on’ came into his mind and again he hammered out a complete poem, “The Call of the Wild”. Conversations with locals led Service to write about things he had not seen (some of which had not actually happened) as well.
In his autobiography, Service described his method of writing: “I used to write on the coarse rolls of paper used by paper-hangers, pinning them on the wall and printing my verses in big charcoal letters. Then I would pace back and forth before them, repeating them, trying to make them perfect. I wanted to make them appeal to the eye as well as to the ear. I tried to avoid any literal quality.”
51. Dr. Edward Earle Shouldice (3 October 1890 – 1965): was a surgeon, initially studying for the ministry. After an unhappy year of studies, but finally he persuaded his family to let him enroll in the medical program at the University of Toronto. He was graduated in 1916 and went overseas in the Army in 1918, returning a year later with the rank of Captain.
Dr. Shouldice established medical practice in Toronto and was subsequently appointed lecturer in anatomy at the University of Toronto, an affiliation he retained for 27 years. He had a disconcerting habit of introducing methods of treating patients which upset time-honored theories as well as those faculty members who adamantly adhered to those theories.
Dr. Shouldice reasoned and proved that introduction of normal saline into the body of a person suffering from peritonitis would prevent that person’s death. Today, the use of normal saline given intravenously is standard practice in hospitals. He pioneered in the cure of pernicious anemia, in research on intestinal obstruction, in operations to ease pressure in hydrocephalic cases and in his two greatest achievements: early ambulation (getting the patient up soon after an operation), and his world-renowned techniques for hernia repair.
By the time the war ended, a large number persons were waiting for hernia repairs local hospitals were filled with war casualties. Dr Shouldice wanted facilities where he could improve his hernia repair technique and so he purchased the former McCullogh estate in Thornhill. What began as a small six-bed surgical centre grew, out of demand, into a unique, specialized, world referral centre, with 89 beds and five operating rooms staffed by 10 surgeons. Approximately 7,000 hernia patients treated every year, and now more than 300,000 hernias have been repaired. With world-wide recognition of his contributions to medicine Dr. Shouldice was invited to lecture and demonstrate his technique for hernia repair throughout the world.
52. John Graves Simcoe (25 February 1752 – 26 October 1806): was a British army officer and the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada from 1791 until 1796. He founded York (now Toronto) and was instrumental in introducing institutions such as courts of law, trial by jury, English common law, freehold land tenure, and the abolition of slavery.
His long-term goal was the development of Upper Canada as a model community built on aristocratic and conservative principles, designed to demonstrate the superiority of those principles to the Republicanism and democracy of the United States. Simcoe began his military career with high promise and became a major at the age of 25 in 1777 and assumed command of the Queen’s Rangers and was made a lieutenant colonel the following year. Subsequently he received promotions to major general in 1794 and lieutenant general in 1798.
In a letter to Joseph Brant in 1791, the Duke of Northumberland called Simcoe “brave, humane, sensible and honest.” The sovereign’s “trusty and well-beloved John Graves Simcoe” accepted the position as lieutenant governor of Upper Canada at a salary of 2000 pounds a year, the appointment to be effective on December 24th, 1791.
53. Gordon Sinclair (3 June 1900 – 17 May 1984): was a broadcaster-journalist and author. The raspy, outspoken radio personality travelled the Globe many times reporting on events for the Toronto Star newspaper. He was a regular panelist on CBC television’s Front Page Challenge for 27 years. Sinclair wrote many best-selling books about his travel and experiences reporting around the world. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1971. Perhaps his most significant life achievement was caused by his resentment of all the negative news coverage generated towards the United States. On June 5 1973, on his regular broadcast with 1010 CFRB Radio in Toronto, he read his displeasure of the treatment, by highlighting all the times the United States had come to the rescue of other countries in time of need. The broadcast spread from radio station to radio stations across the US. And while it was meant to criticize others for their criticism, it also boosted the morale of Americans. His broadcast “The Americans” was later recorded and sold on Vinyl Records, to raise money for the “American Red Cross”. This single accomplishment earned him respect and praise in both countries. Following the tragedy of 911, the recording was replayed across Canada and the United States with the same outcome of helping to boost the morale of the stricken Americans.
54. Joseph Roberts “Joey” Smallwood (December 24, 1900 – December 17, 1991): was a politician from Newfoundland, Canada. He was the main force that brought the Dominion of Newfoundland into the Canadian confederation in 1949, becoming the first Premier of Newfoundland, serving until 1972. As premier, he vigorously promoted economic development, championed the welfare state, and emphasized modernization of education and transportation. Smallwood abandoned his youthful socialism and collaborated with bankers, turning against the militant unions that sponsored numerous strikes. The results of his efforts to promote industrialization were mixed, with the most favourable results in hydroelectricity, iron mining and paper mills.
Smallwood was charismatic and controversial. Never shy, he dubbed himself “the last Father of Confederation.” Many Canadians today remember Smallwood as the man who brought Newfoundland into the Canadian Confederation.
55. Frederick Arthur Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby KG GCB GCVO PC (15 January 1841 – 14 June 1908): known as Frederick Stanley until 1886 and as Lord Stanley of Preston between 1886 and 1893, he was a Conservative Party politician in the United Kingdom who served as Colonial Secretary from 1885 to 1886 and the sixth Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. An avid sportsman, he built Stanley House Stables in England, and is famous in North America for presenting Canada with the Stanley Cup. Stanley was also one of the original inductees into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
56. Major General Sir Samuel Benfield Steele, (5 January 1848 – 30 January 1919): was a distinguished Canadian soldier and police official. He was an officer of the North-West Mounted Police, most famously as head of the Yukon detachment during the Klondike Gold Rush, and commanding officer of Strathcona Horse during the Boer War.
Steele joined the military during the Fenian raids and also participated in the Red River Expedition in 1870 to fight the Red River Rebellion of Louis Riel. He was especially interested in the First Nations, and spent his time in the West learning from them and the Métis.
Steele requested active military duty upon the outbreak of the First World War and served as commander of the 2nd Canadian Division until the unit was sent to France. After accompanying the division to England, Steele was offered an administrative post as commanding officer of the South-East District. While in Britain, Steele was knighted, on 1 January 1918, and was made a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, and Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George. Steele died during the 1918 flu pandemic just after his 71st birthday and was later buried in Winnipeg.
Steele’s wealth of personal papers and writings were believed by historians to contain a wealth of untold stories that would “re-write Canadian history”. They were returned to Canada via a $1.8M purchase by the University of Alberta.
57. Frederick Wellington “Cyclone” Taylor (23 June 1884 – 9 June 1979) was a Canadian professional ice hockey player and civil servant, one of the earliest professional hockey players. He played professionally for the Portage Lakes Hockey Club, the Ottawa Hockey Club and the Vancouver Millionaires (later named the Maroons) from 1905 to 1923. Acknowledged as one of the first stars of hockey, Taylor was one of the most prolific scorers of his era in the league. He won several scoring championships, and won the Stanley Cup twice, once in 1909 with Ottawa and again in 1915 with Vancouver. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1947. While in Ottawa in 1907, Taylor gained employment with the Canadian government. He maintained this employment after his career in hockey, later becoming Commissioner of Immigration for British Columbia and the Yukon. There is a chain of popular hockey equipment stores in Greater Vancouver named “Cyclone Taylor Sports”, which was started by Taylor’s oldest son, Fred Taylor Jr.
58. Chief Tecumseh Brown-Eagle (1768 – 5 October 1813): was a Shawnee Indian chief, orator, military leader, and advocate for intertribal Indian alliance. In the War of 1812, he lead his warriors against American troops and formed a confederacy of all the western and southern tribes to hold the Ohio River valley as the permanent boundary. In 1812 he was commissioned as a brigadier general by the British. He was noted for his humane character and success in persuading his tribe to discontinue the practice of torturing prisoners. At the battle of Fort Meigs he saved the American prisoners from massacre.
Tecumseh joined with Sir Isaac Brock in the capture of Fort Detroit. He had his warriors parade so as to be seen by the defenders and then circle around to join the parade so it appeared there were well more than the 400 warriors. The commander of the fort surrendered so as to avoid a massacre. A little over a year later, the American forces mounted a counter-attack and forced the British and Indians into an indefensible position. Tecumseh, directing most of the fighting, was killed. His body was carried from the field and buried secretly in a grave that has never been discovered.
59. Roy Thomson of Fleet, (5 June 1994 – 4 August 1976): was a Canadian newspaper proprietor who became one of the moguls of Fleet Street. A true “rags to riches” story, he was the son of a barber, who while selling radios, determined to establish his own radio station in order to give his customers more listening choice. In 1934 he acquired his first newspaper, the Timmins Daily Press. He began an expansion of both radio stations and newspapers in various Ontario locations in partnership with fellow Canadian, Jack Kent Cooke. In addition to his media acquisitions, by 1949 Thomson was the owner of a diverse group of companies, including several ladies’ hairstyling businesses, a fitted kitchen manufacturer, and an ice-cream cone manufacturing operation. By the early 1950s, he owned 19 newspapers and was president of the Canadian Daily Newspaper Publishers Association.
In 1957, Thomson launched a successful bid for Scottish Television and two years later he purchased the largest group of newspapers in Britain, which included The Sunday Times. Over the years, he expanded his media empire to include more than 200 newspapers in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, including The Times which he purchased in 1966 from the Astor family. His Thomson Organization became a multinational corporation, with interests in publishing, printing, television, and travel. A modest man who had little time for pretentious displays of wealth, he got by virtually unnoticed riding the London Underground to his office each day.
On 10 March 1964, he was made Baron Thomson of Fleet, of Northbridge in the City of Edinburgh for “public services”. He was appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE) in the 1970 New Year Honours.
60. Kivas Tully (1820 – 24 April 1905): was a structural engineer and architect of many public buildings. Alderman and Councilor of the City of Toronto in 1852 and 1859; appointed Architect and Engineer of Public Works for the Province of Ontario in 1867; member of St. George’s Church and churchwarden 1855. Of his many important works mentioned here are Trinity College, Bank of Montreal building (now Hockey Hall of Fame) located at the northeast corner of Yonge and Front Streets, The Welland County Court House built in 1855-1856, and Victoria Hall in Cobourg built in 1860. He was regarded as one of Canada’s leading architects and is noted for his pleasing proportions found in all of his designs. Tully’s name is familiar wherever the growth of the province has made the erection of great public buildings necessary.
61. Angus James Walters (9 June 1881 – 11 August 1968): was a sailor and sea captain who, from 1921 to 1938 skippered the schooner, Bluenose, which appears on the Canadian dime. Walters captained Bluenose to five international sailing races, and was undefeated for seventeen years.
62. General James Wolfe (2 January 1727 – 13 September 1759): was a British army officer, and commander of the British expedition. One of the most legendary figures of Canadian history, Wolfe has become known as the man whose defeat of the Marquis de Montcalm in 1759 on the Plains of Abraham marked the beginning of British rule in Canada.