Building the Future
The Builder behind the CN Tower - Guinness World Book of Records Tallest Freestanding structure in the world. 20
'Sid' Ryan, born in Dublin, Republic of Ireland in 1952 immigrated to Canada at age 23 - a young man on the threshold of a lifetime
career that is identified with major social and economic reforms on
behalf of public and private sector workers and those without a voice.
In 1992 Ryan was awarded the 125 Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal in recognition of ‘making a significant contribution’ to fellow citizens, community and Canada.
He has been a Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) activist since he went to work for Ontario Hydro in 1976 and served as general vice-president of CUPE National from 1992 to 2009, representing workers in the public sector, leading major campaigns and proactively influencing decisions in health care, municipal, school board and social services. Sid Ryan is a proponent of increasing the accessibility of university education across Ontario..
In early 2009, Sid and The Council of Canadians' Maude Barlow (then senior advisor to the President of the UN General Assembly) teamed up for a 15-city tour of Ontario successfully promoting public drinking water systems to cut back profiteering and waste.In November 2009, he was acclaimed to the position of president of the Ont. Federation of Labou rHe was re-elected for a second term in 2012, he retired in 2015
A high-profile newsmaker, columnist, commentator and sought-after public speaker. Ryan is often called on to lend his expertise on the international front: He was invited by human rights groups to act as a Canadian peace observer in Northern Ireland; to march alongside United Farm Workers of America in California; as an organizer for a health care worker exchange between North America and over a dozen countries in South America. In 2007, Sid Ryan was awarded the Canadian Arab Federation's Social Justice Award at their 40th anniversary dinner in Toronto. He participates in numerous international labour and peace conferences. He is a strong defender of the rights of Palestinian people for a homeland and the safety, security and human rights of Indigenous people and workers worldwide.
District Lot 301 was one parcel of the 1,400 acres owned by Henry Edmond in the forests that were Vancouver, New Westminster and Port Moody until in, January 1911, it was annexed by the City of Vancouver. Edmonds had drawn up plans for D.L.301 and named one of the streets for Dublin, Ireland, the city of his birth on Valentine’s Day, 1837. Today it is Edmonds St. and the Edmonds rapid transit station in Burnaby that remind us that he was an influential community leader and urban developer.
Edmonds was 12 years of age when his Anglo-Irish family moved to Liverpool. He would attend schools in Germany and serve in the British Army before immigrating to B.C in. April 1862.
1867 was a memorable year for Edmonds who was a Confederation advocate marking the union of the British North America colonies of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia with the Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec) the first step towards one country from sea to sea; it was that same year that Henry Valentine Edmonds married Jane Fortune Kemp from Cork, Republic of Ireland. And, he was appointed deputy sheriff.
Following Confederation Edmonds was appointed to several government posts between New Westminster and Hope. In June 1872 he was named notary public, and over the next two years he served as returning officer, sheriff, district registrar of births, deaths, and marriages, assistant land commissioner, and gold commissioner. He was named justice of the peace for New Westminster District in July 1883.
Edmonds was deeply involved in community leadership: an officer of both the Hyack Fire Company No. l (1871) and of the local militia (1870–75); organized the mechanics’ institute (1865); actor with the Amateur Dramatic Club (1877); and chaired commissions of the Royal Columbian Hospital and Provincial Asylum for the Insane (1884).
Mount Pleasant was a forest in June, 1890, when the News-Advertiser reported on the “spectacle” of the first electric streetcar running along the newly built tracks. By October 1891, work was underway on an extension that would create a circuit of track up Westminster Ave. to Ninth Avenue (Broadway), west to Centre St. (Granville Street), across another bridge at the western end of False Creek back to Granville Street downtown. Known as the Fairview Line, it also serviced the CPR-owned Fairview.
There was a vision at work to apply electrically powered cars between and in the cities of Vancouver and New Westminster. At that time the way between the two cities was solid timber, three houses and a handful of inns catering to stagecoach traffic along Westminster Road (Kingsway). The CPR rail service ran via Coquitlam. Travel time was 75 mins. and cost $1 each way. On the edge of bankruptcy, the company was seized by trustees and held until June 1895, when it was purchased by the Consolidated Railway and Light Company. Edmonds gradually lost the wealth he had accumulated during more than 30 years as an active New Westminster entrepreneur but his initiative and vision was behind much of the change we experience today: five interurban lines were operated by the British Columbia Electric Railway Company. The private right-of-way of the Central Park line, between Commercial Drive in Vancouver and New Westminster, is now used by the SkyTrain’s Expo Line
Businessman. Philanthropist 108
Changing Retail Marketing
John Carolan – Community Heritage Advocate
Born in 1926 at Kilcrossduff near Shercock, Co. Cavan. As a boy, John endured a painful Workhouse experience. It did not embitter him. His goal in life was to try and make it a better world. He was still a young man when he survived a Yorkshire mineshaft collapse during WWII. Having known hard times himself, John mixed easily with all people, he looked for the best and looked to see how he might give them a hand-up.
In 1950 John married Beatrice and, in 1957 with two children, Trevor and Glenys, they emigrated to New Westminster, B.C. enjoying summer travels and camping trips. Two more children, Dan and Sean, were born and the beach at White Rock became a favourite destination. The Carolans had many friends in the Lower Mainland's Irish community and welcomed them to their old-time house-parties, where folks still rolled up the rugs and danced their cares away. Bea kept them grounded in their faith, saying her prayers in Gaelic.
John had quickly became a respected member of the Lower Mainland construction industry. John’s expertise led him to project commissions throughout British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon. One such project was the river rock and timber-frame restaurant/inn at Kanaka Bar in the Fraser Canyon that became a landmark with Northbound BC travellers.
During the Folk & Blues era of the early ‘60’s, with Gerry Wolfson, a Dubliner and local music shop-owner, Carolan launched ‘The Question Mark’ coffee house. The pair brought many top touring performers to New Westminster’s then-thriving Columbia Street scene, helping to establish the career of Susan Jacks who, with husband Terry Jacks and The Poppy Family, went on to enjoy international stardom.
John’s interest in the arts led him to work with local theatre productions with First Nations Country & Western singer/actor Dan George, who also achieved international celebrity and became Chief of the Burrard Sleil Waututh Reserve.
Actor Shay Duffin, known for his portrayal of Dublin author Brendan Behan, was another old friend.
Community and political issues were long-time interests for John and his many friends in public life included Tommy Douglas, Ma Murray, and Bill van der Zalm with whom he served on the Catholic Charities Board. He also served with the St. Vincent De Paul Society and was an active member of New Westminster’s Heritage Association, contributing countless hours to the restoration of the historic Gray Home in the Queen’s Park area.
In his retirement John became a hospital volunteer at St. Mary’s, the Royal Columbian, and Queen’s Park hospitals, visiting the sick for some 20 years.
A proud adopted son of the Royal City, John was a lifelong sports enthusiast and joined with many of the Vancouver Irish in playing soccer (goalkeeper) for the Vancouver Post Office squad and, in later life, refereeing Gaelic football matches.
John Carolan will always be remembered for making the world better in all his works, partnerships, friendships, volunteering, fundraiser for charitable projects including the establishment of Corpus Christi Catholic Liberal Arts College at UBC and Northern Ireland reconciliation project Canada and raising funds on behalf of Ulster youth reconciliation projects. John Carolan died at New Westminster in 2005, aged 79. Beatrice died February 2017.
Nehemiah George Massey
Ireland's Vice Consul for Trade & Investment in Alberta
- World DIDAC Award
- P.R. Consultants Assoc. (Ireland - International PRCA for
Excellence in Communication
Ruairi was born in Ireland in 1983. In February 2008 he was offered an employment opportunity with a move to Vancouver. His move, as it turned out as just months before Ireland's economic crash in late 2008 and the the start of a new wave of Irish emigration to Canada.
Leaving a successful career in the fields of finance and sales, Ruairi followed his entrepreneurial calling. In March 2011 he set up an online community for newcomers moving to Vancouver providing a platform for information- sharing between newcomers. Soon after that successful start, he began looking at wider issues across Canada.
In October 2012, Moving2Canada.com was officially launched to address the needs of both Canadian employers and immigrants to Canada. The motivation was two-fold: while Vancouver and Toronto are seen as major entry points to Canada, the country is experiencing acute labour shortages across Western Canada. Canadian employers saw that Moving2Canada could help them identify strong international candidates migrating to Canada in search of opportunity. Assisting newcomers in finding suitable employment was a key objective of Moving2Canada, so a natural synergy existed between the needs of employers and immigrants. The website provides detailed information on Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal and Fort McMurray, and includes a Jobs Board of open positions across Canada.
Ruairi’s website became a valuable tool for the contemporary wave of Irish emigrants to Canada. The Moving2Canada project received endorsements from the Irish Ambassador to Canada, Dr. Ray Bassett, and the Irish Canadian Immigration Centre in Toronto, for its massive contribution in helping Irish emigrants plan their move and build a new home in Canada. 189
Born in Ireland in 1854, William Farrell has been credited as consolidating virtually all of the telephone interests throughout BC to create the foundation of the BC Telephone Company/TELUS as we know it today.
Farrell moved to Vancouver with his wife Jessie Maude in 1891 as the first General Manger of the Yorkshire & Canadian Trust Ltd. for BC. With small private telephone exchanges springing up through BC Farrell took a large interest in the New Westminster & Burrard Inlet Telephone Company. Working with the owner to amalgamate it with smaller companies he eventually formed BC Telephone Company Limited in 1904. As president, he was the hand that guided BC Tel through the first 20 years initiating programmes and balancing growth to connect . the local exchanges in every community from Port Alberni to Victoria and Agassiz to Vancouver to create the telecommunications network we rely on today.
Under Farrell’s stewardship, during the First World War, Vancouver was the only city in the world that had virtually no wait time for service connection. In 1916 he was granted a charter by an act of the Federal Parliament for a new federally incorporated Western Canada Telephone Company and in the same year the first long distance call from Montreal was received personally by Farrell. He also acquired and became president of Evans, Coleman and Evans which later became Ocean Cement.
In civic and community enterprises he created and awarded a prize for the best plan for the new Vancouver Civic Centre and took a leadership role in the Victory Loan Campaign for the First World War. He built the Capilano Suspension Bridge’s Tea House and was part of the ownership group of Union Steamships.
William Farrell passed away in 1922 at age 68. His descendants continue the tradition, ulfilling leadership roles in business and community involvement.
Lynne Reece Loftus is a Canadian. illustrator, designer & writer living
in Co. Wicklow, Ireland. She was born
in Liverpool, grew up in Ontario and
met her Irish husband Denis while studying art in Dublin. They have two children, Ken and Becky, and a growing gang of gorgeous grandchildren
She has been writing, designing and illustrating for young people in both Canada and Ireland for almost 30 years. She served as Director of Education Programmes for the Irish Bankers Federation developing both their primary and second-level education programmes. Ten years ago she launched Reece Loftus Multimedia, a production company specializing in education resources.
With each product she works through all stages of development in consultation with students and teachers to ensure that the materials are well received.
Her 'Money Go Round 2' project, which aims to explain various aspects of money management to children, received the.Worlddidac Award for excellence in Education -- it is a global recognition of the most innovative products developed in the educational industry. Every 2 years over 50 companies from all over the world meet in Bern to present their innovative solutions to an independent panel of international experts and Swiss teachers who evaluate the products according to different criteria. She also won two more significant awards -the Public Relations Consultants Association Award (Ireland) and the International PRCA Award for Excellence in Communication - both are beacons for excellence in business, education and life. .
Henry Valentine Edmonds
Dermod Owen-Flood born on September 17, 1931, in Dublin of Irish parents attended Stonyhurst College in England, graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, with B.A .(Moderator) and LL.B., later attained an M.A. and was called to the Bar by King's Inns, Dublin. Before starting in practice, he attended Munich University which had awarded him a scholarship to study public international law.
He then chose to emigrate to Alberta, Canada. Called to the Bar he practiced law there from 1957 to 1964. He was, in fact, the first full-time resident lawyer in Banff where, his partner and friend Chris Considine said, “he pursued his love of law and skiing.” In 1964 he and his wife, with their children Roderic, Marc and Deidre, moved to Victoria, British Columbia.
In Victoria he became one of the leading counsel in Canada. In 1983 he was appointed Queen's Counsel. In 1987 he was appointed to the Bench, first as a Judge of the County Court of Vancouver Island (1987 to 1990) and then as a Judge to the Supreme Court of British Columbia (1990 to 2006). During the course of his distinguished career, he served on the Attorney General's Task Force on Legal Aid in B.C., the Canadian Bar Council, Federal Conciliation Commission, as Chair of the Board of Camosun College and was much in demand as a labour relations mediator and arbitrator. He was a compassionate lawyer and a judge with a strong sense of social justice.
Jeffrey Green, Q.C., a former partner, recalls him as: “a superb practitioner of the law, both as barrister and judge but his real interest was in life and its rich ingredients: literature, history, art, current events, politics, food and wine, the great outdoors, friends, conversation and humour and most importantly, his family.” Robin Baird, who was one of Dermod’s last articled students and frequently appeared before him in Court, described Dermod as “…one of the greatest characters ever to don the barrister’s robes in the British Columbia. He was principal, mentor and father confessor to an entire generation of lawyers ..." Consadine recalled a morninrg Dermod stormed into his office waving a newspaper ... a man had been sentenced to eight weeks in jail for stealing $1.40 from the wishing well at the Empress Hotel. Dermod was outraged that such a Dickensian sentence could occur ...he phoned the jail, talked with the man, represented him for free, secured his immediate release and the sentence was reduced to time served. Sadly, he passed away quietly in the company of his family on September 20th, 2007, the eve of the 50th anniversary of his marriage to his beloved Pamela.
Pioneer of Telephone Communications
Business Laureate British Columbia 2007
INNOVATORS see things differently
Peter John Leech was born in Dublin, c. 1828, son of 215 Peter and Susan Leech. In 1873, he and Mary Macdonald married in Victoria, B.C. They had one daughter.
Leech enlisted in the Royal Engineers around 1855. After training on the Ordnance survey, he volunteered to join the British Columbia detachment. He arrived in Victoria on 29 Oct. 1858, and served as “astronomical observer and computer” in the survey office at New Westminster for 4 years. When the detachment was recalled in 1863, Leech, then holding the rank of 2nd corporal, took his discharge and remained in the colony.
Working on contract for the British Columbia Lands and Works Department at New Westminster he participated in several privately sponsored expeditions and exploratory surveys. In 1864 he was second in command and astronomer with the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition which examined the resources of the southern part of the island. The following year he participated in the Big Bend expedition to survey and map a route from Fort Kamloops to recently discovered gold deposits on the Columbia River. In 1866 Leech was hired by the Western Union Telegraph Company for the line it was constructing to Europe through British Columbia, Alaska, and Asia. Fearing the transatlantic cable laid that July would fail as had its predecessor, the company completed the overland line from New Westminster to Kispiox by October. That winter Leech explored the desolate region between the Nass and Stikine rivers, however, the transatlantic cable proved successful and the overland project was abandoned.
In 1868 Leech was hired by the Hudson’s Bay Company to determine whether its trading post near the mouth of the Stikine lay within British territory. The sale of Alaska to the United States by Russia had put an end to the long-standing agreement whereby the HBC could establish stations on Russian soil. Leech found that the post lay some 20 miles downstream from the boundary and, as a result, it was moved in June 1868. He once again returned to Victoria and remained in the service of the HBC for some 14 years, first as a postmaster, later as a clerk and rising to be in charge of the Esquimalt post. When it was closed in 1883, Leech applied for the position of city surveyor in Victoria. He became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and built a large house for his family overlooking Beacon Hill.
Following his wife’s death in 1892, he returned to private practice as a land surveyor. While in Bella Coola to survey a town site, he was appointed justice of the peace.
Shortly before his death in 1899 Leech published a set of simplified astronomical tables. His reports and journals reflect the significant contribution he made to early exploration and mapping in British Columbia. He is best remembered for his participation in the Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition, which discovered paying quantities of gold in a tributary of the Sooke River - the river and mining town which grew up on it have been named after him.
Founding Curator of the Royal B.C. Museum
Lynne Reece Loftus
The Hon. Dermod Owen-Flood Queen's Counsel. Judge to the Supermeme Court of British Columbia 7
ICM Dir. Eddie Reynolds, Lynne Reece Lotus
Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin Michael Vickers
William McMaster Senator
Co-fonder Bank of Commerce
Founder McMaster University 24
William McMaster was born on December 24, 1811 in County Tyrone, Ireland. His father, also William McMaster, was a linen merchant. When young, McMaster came to York (Toronto) in 1833 and set up a dry goods store which prospered under the name William McMaster & Nephews. Nephews, not sons, as he was twice married with no children of either union.
In 1862, William McMaster was elected Representative of Midland in the Legislative Council of United Canada. He was continually re-elected until in 1867, when Sir John A. MacDonald called him to the Senate .It was in this same year that he, and a number of other businessmen, formed the Canadian Bank of Commerce. He was elected its first President and held the position until he retired in 1876.
A life long Baptist, Senator McMaster’s greatest claim to fame was by being instrumental in founding McMaster University as a theological and divinity school for Baptist students for the ministry. At his death in 1887, the bulk of his estate was left to McMaster University. The University that bears his name is a world leader in many areas, chiefly medical and scientific research. McMaster’s contribution to his own day and to ours brings honour to an Ulsterman of faith and vision.
Timothy Eaton was born in Portglenone, Ballymena,
County Antrim, Ireland, in 1834. His father was a farmer. He attended the National school and spent one year at the Academy in Ballymena. He was18 years of age when he left school, apprenticed to a dry goods merchant. His work was early morning to late night, six days a week and sleeping under the store’s counter. When his five-year apprenticeship ended, he received only one-hundred pounds sterling. His apprenticeship taught him much about business and, he'd say, the honesty his mother taught him was the best policy for any merchant.
He immigrated to Upper Canada in 1857 to join his brother James, who had started a store in St. Mary’s, near Stratford, Ontario. In 1861, Eaton met and married Margaret Beattie. In 1869, they moved with their three children to Toronto. and purchased a dry goods business on the corner of Queen & Yonge Streets for $6,500 and the T.Eaton Co. was born, launching a revolution in retailing.
Whilst merchants followed the long-standing practice of negotiable prices and extending credit to customers, Eaton announced that his goods would be sold for cash only, at one unalterable, fair price. His slogan, “Goods satisfactory or money refunded,” was another ground breaker.
In 1884 he took his business out into the country via a
printed catalogue. It was effective advertising with pictures and descriptions. It was also, English language lessons and had other uses that are legendary: hockey shin pads, b building insulation, and outhouse toilet paper.
T.Eaton Co. was at the center of founding the first Santa Clause parade in Toronto in 1905 and this event has been continued to this day.
Timothy Eaton died at his Toronto home on January 31, 1907, at the age of 73. His son, John, became the President of Eaton’s Department Store.
John Henry Cambie
Canadian Surveyor and Civil Engineer 46
with Mayor of Prince Albert Donald “Don” Cody.
Born in Cork on July 26, 1932, formally named James Pascal O’Sullivan and ever since has been fondly called Séamus (James or Jim in English) by his family and friends. Jim gained his education with the Christian Brothers College in Cork.
Adventurous by nature, Jim sailed from Cobh to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in March 1953 with $23.00 in his pocket and stayed with a distant relative in Montreal for a day before taking the train westward, debarking at Hanna, Alberta to start life in Canada as a young man of twenty.
There, he started working at a gasoline station pumping gas, followed by working on the local railway and from there he joined a number of other Irish men doing construction work. It was in Regina, Saskatchewan where Jim was employed as a carpenter at the local cement factory and where he was elected president of his Labour Union About this time, Jim also became President of the Irish Club of Regina, began his Judo training and entered for Judo competitions. He also took voice lessons as singing has always been his passion.
In 1964, Jim and Lorraine Mickel married and moved to Prince Albert, Sask. where he took up the position of carpentry instructor at the federal penitentiary. After nine years of successive promotions, he was appointed Warden in 1974 and served at the Penitentiary in Prince Albert Saskatchewan until his retirement in May 1995. Jim was the longest serving warden in all of Canada and beloved by both staff and inmates due to his fair and firm management. During his term as a warden, Jim was twice elected president of the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents (1981-84 and 1989-1991). He was awarded Warden of the Year in 1993 and the road, O’Sullivan Way, adjacent to the Penitentiary was named in his honour.
He had been a President of the Judo club in Prince Albert for forty years and established judo clubs in neighbouring communities. He was an official for Judo competition during the 1976 Olympics held in Montreal and earned his 5th degree Black belt in Judo in 1995.
Jim was inducted to the Prince Albert Hall of Fame in 1993 and in 2003 inducted to Saskatchewan Hall of Fame in a Builder category for Judo. He was named Kinsmen Sportsman of the year in 1981. He had involved himself in the promotion of Irish culture by encouraging Irish dancing and singing. He was known for his singing abilities on many occasions in particular on St. Patrick’s Day.
Jim retired in 1995 to look after his ailing wife, Lorraine. Their six children are all grown up with families of their own: Kevin in Quebec, Maureen in Tennessee, USA, Kathleen, Patricia and Siobhan in Saskatchewan and Mary in British Columbia.
Jim was widowed for ten years until, in 2009 he married Malou Mendoza.
Waterford born Laureen is Ireland’s Vice Consul for
Trade and Investment in Alberta. Founding the
Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce in 2010
allowed Laureen to work with businesses in Canada and Ireland who have an interest in trade and investment opportunities.
Over the past 27 years, Laureen has built and acquired several businesses in the Canadian market in communications, human resources and advertising. She has provided leadership to internal and external stakeholders, guiding the organizations through growth and the challenges and successes that come with the changing marketplace.
As a dedicated leader, her extensive experience and commitment have ensured she has achieved excellence in project management, raising capital, operations, communications and financial management in multiple sectors in Canada. Founding the Ireland Canada Centre for Commerce in 2010, allowed Laureen to work with businesses in Canada and Ireland who have an interest in trade and investment opportunities.
Laureen is a firm believer in giving back to the community and supporting non-profit organizations through time and fundraising. 199
Seaman. Visionary. Builder.
Cambie was a notable figure in the completion of Canada's Transcontinental Railway and a notable pioneer resident of Vancouver. Cambie was born October 25, 1836, in Tipperary, Ireland. He emigrated to Canada as a youth, where he learned
to be a surveyor.
In 1852, he found employment with the Grand Trunk Railway and moved to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) seven years later. With the Confederation of Canada in 1867, the CPR was contracted to build a transcontinental railway, which would link the new country and the adjacent colonies and territories of British North America. As the chief surveyor for the CPR in the province, Cambie argued for a route through the Fraser Canyon, terminating at the small logging community of Granville on Burrard Inlet. Cambie’s views prevailed, and in 1876, he was made chief surveyor of the CPR’s Pacific Division, a position he would hold for the next four years, following which he was promoted to chief engineer. His work completed, in 1887 Cambie settled in Vancouver, which had been incorporated as the successor to Granville the previous year.
Cambie's reflections in an interview: In May 1887, much to the amusement of my friends, I went out into the country and purchased two lots at the corner of Georgia and Thurlow streets. I could not, however, induce the city to clear a track so I could reach my property until near the end of that year, when I at once started building and moved out there in 1888. I had to lay the first sidewalk on Georgia at my own expense, as the city would not do it, and when I got the telephone the company dunned me for more than a year to pay for the poles from Granville Street down to my place, as they told me that no one else in that generation would ever go to live west of Granville Street.
The area of which he spoke is now near the centre of downtown Vancouver, in one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the country, and the site of Cambie’s home is now the location of Vancouver’s tallest building, the Living Shangri-La.
Cambie was an important advocate for the development of its infrastructure. He was also instrumental in building Christ Church Cathedral, the major Anglican Church in downtown Vancouver, where he was a key figure for over forty years (a memorial plaque commemorating him can be found inside the church). In this and other developments, Cambie’s connections with the CPR were crucial to his success, since the company owned much of the land around Vancouver. Cambie remained employed by the CPR, only retiring in 1921. Cambie died in Vancouver in 1928 at the age of 91.
John Peter Leech
Royal Engineer. Astronomer. Surveyor. Explorer.
The Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition
discovered gold - founding both Leech River & Leechtown
O’KEEFE (baptized Owen Keeffewas born December 10, 1827 n Bandon (Republic of Ireland), son of John Keeffe (O’Keefe) and Mary Russell. He married on 23 Jan.1862 Helen Charlotte Bailey in Toronto. They had a son and two daughters.
His family came to the Canadas when he was five; two years later they settled in Toronto.They adopted the O’Keefe spelling when they immigrated. Eugene was educated at the private school run by Denis Heffernan and at “the regular church schools.” In his youth he acquired a reputation as an expert bowler, oarsman, and horseman. He was an ensign in the local volunteer rifle company. They were Irish Catholics in a distinctly Protestant city and members of the Society of St Vincent de Pau.
O’Keefe’s brother-in-law, John Murphy, operated a hotel and when he died O’Keefe helped his sister run it. HIn 1856 he became a clerk at the Toronto Savings Bank, established two years before by Bishop Armand-François-Marie de Charbonnel and members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. He worked for the bank until 1861, acquiring a thorough knowledge of business practices,and after its reorganization in 1872, he stayed on the board after the assets of the bank were taken over in 1879 by the Home Savings and Loan Company Limited. O’ Keefe became director in 1901 and oversaw another name change, to the Home Bank of Canada, which enjoyed its most prosperous years under his leadership.
In 1861 O’Keefe had made a business decision when the Victoria Brewery, at the corner of Victoria and Gould streets, came up for sale, he formed a partnership to purchase this small but reputable operation. Its annual production was 1,000 barrels of traditional English ales and stout. When their partnership ended in 1882 and in 1891 they had it incorporated as O’Keefe Brewery Company of Toronto Limited. Brewing in 19th-century Ontario was conservative and tradition-bound business. The source of O’Keefe’s rapid success was his willingness to be innovative and aggressive at every level of production and distribution. In 1879 he had introduced the large-scale production of lager; in 1898 he was the first brewer in Canada to install a mechanically refrigerated storehouse; and later he began using motorized vehicles. As early as the 1880s he was outselling his competition everywhere in Ontario. Recognized within the industry, he served as a president of the Ontario Brewers’ and Maltsters’ Association.
The premature death in 1911 of his only son, Eugene Bailey, effectively ended O’Keefe’s interest in his brewery’s long-term future. He sold his shares and applied the sizeable proceeds were applied to charities.
O’Keefe was a Conservative in politics and a moderate nationalist in Irish affairs. He went to Ottawa in 1887 in an unsuccessful bid to stop William O’Brien, a fiery Home Ruler, from appearing in Toronto at the same time as Governor General Lord Lansdowne He exercised considerable influence over the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, the Catholic League, and the local branch of the United Irish League, and he was a trustee from 1906 of the Toronto General Hospital. As well, he was an original director of the Catholic Church Extension Society, and he sat on numerous parish committees at the cathedral. For his munificence and dedication to the church, he was the first Canadian layman to be made a private chamberlain to the pope, on 9 Jan. 1909.
O’Keefe died on 1 Oct. 1913 at his home, which he had built in the 1880s on Bond Street, across from his brewery. He was survived by one daughter, Helena Charlotte French. Three thousand people, including hundreds of brewery workers, attended his Requiem.
John ‘Jack’ Fannin was born 27 July, 1837, in Kemptville, Upper Canada, son of Eliza and William Fannin, a tailor, both of Irish extraction. He was one of eight children, born and living in modest circumstances.
In April 1862, the gold-fields of British Columbia called. and Fannin joined a party setting out on the unusual route - overland. Great hardships were suffered and several men died along the way before they reached the Thompson’s River Post (Kamloops) in October '62, shortly after a raft had capsized and all Fannin’s goods had been lost.
Fannin proved his physical strength and endurance there as an expert woodsman, hunter, fisherman, trapper and a fine shot. He spent the next eight years prospecting and mining in the Cariboo and Columbia River areas, as well as a little ranching in the Kamloops region. The rootless life was not a prosperous life. He moved to New Westminster and set up as a shoemaker.
Working for the government was on a contract basis and, in 1873, Fannin was engaged to undertake a reconnaissance of the farming, mining, logging, and settlement potential of the lower Fraser valley. His report appeared in the Journals of the Legislative Assembly for 1873–74 and proved prophetic - much of the development he predicted has since appeared.
In October 1874 the government called on Fannin again. This time to explore the headwaters of the Stikine River for gold and other mineral resources. At the outset of winter, he started the journey from Wrangell, Alaska. He and his party were soon forced back to their starting-point. Undaunted, Fannin set out again with one companion. Once more, and with much greater hardships, they were forced to turn back and were rescued just as they had reached the end of their meagre supplies and their endurance. He wisely waited until June 1875 to complete the mission. In 1877 when his government contract ended, Fannin again took up shoemaking, this time at Hastings (Vancouver). He also began to draw on his experiences by writing hunting and fishing articles for Forest and Stream. The exposure put his services as a hunting guide in high demand and he quickly became one of the first internationally noted guides in Canada, with wealthy and influential clients coming from Europe and the United States. A good part of his shoemaking business was given over to a taxidermy shop for the preservation of his clients’ trophies.
In 1882, he was appointed postmaster for Burrard Inlet (Vancouver) and, in 1884, as justice of the peace for the New Westminster electoral district.
In 1886, his renown and obvious abilities as a naturalist, and his previous government service, made Fannin prime candidate for the post of first curator of the newly founded Provincial Museum in Victoria. The Museum would be devoted to natural history and anthropology and Fannin’s first act, after taking charge in August, was to donate to it his entire collection of preserved birds and animals. His gift formed the core of the museum’s natural history collection for many years. 5 years later he published Check list of British Columbia birds.
Given his phenomenal resource, courage, endurance and curatorial enthusiasm alongside the energies of the Natural History Society of British Columbia (which he had helped to found in 1890) the museum twice outgrew its quarters by 1898. Fannin had been on an official tour to many museums in Europe and the United States, and was well prepared to significantly expand the museum’s anthropological holdings.
Fannin retired in 1904 because of a long-standing illness. He died the same year. He was widely mourned and memorialized in the naming of the Fannin Range, Fannin Lake, and Fannin Creek, all near Vancouver. His enduring memorial is the Royal BC Museum which includes three permanent galleries: natural history, modern history, and local First Nations’ history.
Malachy Grant was born in Newry, County Down, Ireland to Liam and Moira (McSherry) Grant on July 24, 1926. He was educated at St. Mary’s College, Dundalk and at Bolton Street Institute of Technology in Dublin. After graduating from Bolton Street he was engaged in many large projects in the building trade.
He married Marie Celine Kavanagh on November 23, 1952; They have two sons and one daughter.The Grant family came to Canada on 1956 and settled in Montreal where Malachy continued his studies at McGill University.
He was a force behind the planning and developing Expo ’67 in Montreal. Also the National Arts Centre in St. John’s Newfoundland. Grant had his own consulting firm in Montreal and was asked to come to Toronto to design and construct the proposed $1.5 billion Metro Centre Development Project.
In the middle of that project, CBC was planning to build a giant communications tower and from this the idea for the CN Tower was born. In 1972 he settled on the design for the present structure. To ensure that it was foolproof he checked out every proposal with the world’s leading construction designers. To prove the foundation safe he sent soil and geological experts down in special cages to 100′ under the construction site to analyze the bedrock. The Tower was begun in 1973 and in June, 1976 the CN Tower was opened. When the last section of the Tower was installed, Grant was there with the chairman of The Guinness Book of World Records who confirmed it to be the tallest freestanding structure in the world - 1815 ft. 5 in.
He was President of Malachy Grant Associates and a member of The Canadian Institute of Quality Surveyors and the Project Management Institute among other prestigious associations.
Patrick Cyril 'Sid' Ryan
.. 2002, The Delta Optimist, declared George Massey 'Delta's Person of the Century" No one person had a greater impact on Delta than Massey. His vision and determination were responsible for the tunnel that transformed Delta from a farming and fishing community outpost to a full fledged suburb of Vancouver and linked Delta with the rest of the Lower Mainland and the U.S.A.
Nehemiah George Massey was born in Courtown near Gorey, County Wexford, in Sept.,1903. At the age of 13, he went to sea on his father’s sailing ship the “Courtown Lass” as a cook’s mate. At the age of 15, he sailed on the “Bess Mitchell” as boson’s mate . Following a shipwreck on a reef near Slade Rock County Wexford, George’s father would not allow George to sail with him lest they were both lost leaving no one to support his mother and eight siblings.
His family adhered to the Anglican church, but his early education was tutored by Master Crane of the Roman Catholic School, River Chapel, Gorey. His secondary school was by correspondence aboard ship.
Following an incident at sea, George was hospitalized in India, when he learned that his father’s ship had gone down and all hands, including his father, were lost. He returned to Ireland nnd worked there for about a year claring a private forest for a wage of 'as much firewood as he could pack on his back' each day. He did poach fish from streams that were all privatized. privatized. George carried his melodeon (accordion) with him wherever he went. One day on his way to play at Kiltennell he almost lost it. British soldiers stopped him on suspicion of carrying an explosive within it. They took it apart but gave it back to him when they found nothing. Still he was forced to flee Ireland as his mother received a warning from the Royal Irish Constabulary that the Irish Republican Army suspected him of being a spy for the Black and Tans sent to Ireland to put down the Rising. His father’s brother, Richard, took 19 year old George to Liverpool, to board the first ship sailing to Canada. The ship turned out to be a rum runner destined for Portsmouth Harbor, New Brunswick. The cargo of rum was unloaded at the dock and then into small fast vessels to the United States. George was reported missing and presumed to have drowned, but when she asked if George’s melodeon had been found on board, they said no, so she knew in her heart that he was still alive. He had assumed his mother’s maiden name, Cook, until he reached Regina.
Massey’s first job in Canada was in a New Brunswick logging camp. He worked his way across the prairies during the harvest and, in 1925. he got a job with Poole Construction, Regina, Sask., and enrolled in night classes to train as a mechanic.
It was when he reached the West Coast that Massey found his passion and purpose. He lived in Ladner, .B. C. from 1936 until his death in 1964.
An ex-mariner, he knew the sea, charted the routes of ocean going vessels navigating through Active Pass, pointed out the shortest, safest routes. Environmental concerns were critical for him and he recommended that causeways continue to allow shoreline currents to flow unimpeded to prevent unnatural sedimentation and nutrients from destroying the natural fishery resource of the Fraser River. His recommendations were not ‘heard’ and construction of the causeways has proven to be an environmental detriment.
He made many personal surveys of ferry traffic. He organized citizens and led them to understand and support his crossing plans – the membership was approximately 500 upon the completion of the tunnel.
He researched the Maas River Tunnel in Holland and contacted ‘Christiani & Nielsen Engineering” of Denmark, the Maas River Tunnel builders in 1942. The engineering firm was interested and offered to send an engineer from their New York Office to do a feasibility study. Fourteen years later, March 1956, as George Massey was elected MLA for Delta, the Hon. Phil Gaglardi, Minister of Highways, Social Credit Government received a letter from him and shortly announced that the tunnel would be built.
The 4-lane divided tunnel, known originally as the Deas Tunnel, was opened to traffic on May 23, 1959. The cost, approximately $25 million. It is the only road tunnel below sea level in Canada.
Regrettably, Massey’s insights and cautions were not incorporated into the plan which included 3 traffic lanes in each direction and a lane for bicycles/pedestrians.
Massey gave 25 years (1936-1961) of his life to ensure the completion of a tunnel under the south arm of the Fraser River in British Columbia, linking Richmond city to Delta municipality.
Moreover, George Massey was a volunteer fireman and a family man! Enjoying fishing trips, family picnics, his garden, regular visits to Stanley Park, Point Roberts and surrounding beaches. His enjoyment of the art of fly tying and sport fishing was passed on to his grandson, Tyler Kushnir. He never stopped playing his button accordion … from Kiltennell to Regina and at Delta Manor hall in Ladner on many a Saturday night. George Massey loved making 8 mm movies of his family, fishing trips, and flowers (especially pansy “faces”). He documented the construction of the tunnel from the first sod-turning to the official opening, July 15, 1959, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip.
The Queen unveiled a monument with two plaques honouring George Massey. The top plaque, designed by the Richmond Council, reads: “This plaque erected by the Citizens of the Corporation of the Township of Richmond in recognition of N. George Massey, MLA, whose co-operative efforts assisted greatly in making the tunnel a reality.” A second plaque reads:” Renamed”; “George Massey Tunnel in 1968 by the government of the Province of British Columbia in Honour of George Massey Member of the Legislative Assembly”.
On July 16, Mr. and Mrs. George Massey were presented to HRH Queen Elizabeth and HRH Prince Philip in the Legislative Chamber, Parliament Buildings, Victoria, B.C.
Even as we write, the Massey Tunnel is already at its traffic capacity. The Province says some technical work and studies are still required, but plans are laid for construction to begin 2017 with completion by 2022. Who’s minding the environmental issues? 243
Welcoming a new wave of Irish Immigrants
John 'Jack' Fannin
Jim O'Sullivan, Warden
Prince Albert & Saskatchewan
Hall of Fame
Civic Officer. Community Leader. Transportation Innovator.
For Human Rights & Global Justice