Anthony (Tony) O'Loughlin 65
Founder: Prince George, B.C. Celtic Club
Founder: Kingston Irish Famine Commemoration Assoc
Kingston Irish Folk Club installation of the first monument
along the Rideau Canal to acknowledge the labourers
Born April 17, 1831, in County Down, Macoun was raised on
family land that had been granted to one of his father’s ancestors almost two centuries earlier for military service. It was an ideal setting for a boy with an insatiable curiosity. He developed a great passion for the outdoors and the natural world. Fatherless from the age of six, he became independent and determined to succeed. He emigrated to Canada in 1850 and graduated Professor of Natural History at Albert College, Belleville, Ontario. He explored vast tracts of north-west Canada and influenced, through his botany, the course of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the following pattern of settlement in the Prairies. In 1860 he secured a public school teaching position in Belleville and devoted every spare moment to botany and the development of an herbarium. In 1868 had earned a new chair in natural history at Albert College in Belleville.. He covered an incredible range of territory – from Atlantic Canada to the Pacific coast and as far north as the Yukon – making large collections in all kinds of environments. As his work expanded Macoun became convinced that "the country, with its great resources, would become the home of a superior civilization where countless millions would experience a fresh start, as he had." Dictionary of Canada
He authored Manitoba and the Great North-West (1882), Catalogue of Canadian Plants (1883-86) and Catalogue of Canadian Birds (1909). He was a founding member of the Royal Society of Canada.
1 Jan. 1862 John married Ellen Terrill (d. 1921) of Brighton, Upper Canada. They had two sons, both worked in the fields with their father, and three daughters. John Macoun died 18 July 1920 in Sidney, B.C.
His story is told in a book edited by John Wilson Foster FRSC, Prof. Emeritus, UBC and Hon Research Fellow, Institute of Irish Studies, Queen’s University Belfast, in 1997 Nature in Ireland: A Scientific and Cultural History (Lilliput, Dublin; McGill-Queen’s UP), pp. 354-60, and his biography, by W.A. Waiser, appeared in 1989 (Univ. Toronto Press)
Inaugural Board meeting, Beachy Cove, Newfoundland 1993, L - R : Prof. Noel Walsh (Psychiatry UCD), Dr Patrick Hillery (former President of Ireland), Dr Craig Dobbin O.C. (Chairman & CEO Cdn Helicopter Corporation), Inset: Mrs Elaine Dobbin; Prof. Ken Ozmon (Pres. St Marys U, Halifax Nova Scotia), Antoin Mac Unfraidh (Irish Ambassador to Canada), Michael Wadsworth (Cdn Ambassador to Ireland), Prof. John Kelly (Registrar UCD}. 200
Bringing Canada and Ireland closer through scholarly exchange
Ed was born in Dublin County, Ireland, July 11, 1908. He
emigrated to Canada in 1919 with his family. His father was a retired soldier-immigrant who worked as a cook in logging camps. His Mother was a Registered Nurse. He attended St. Anne Academy and Vancouver College then worked in the BC Sugar Refinery as a labourer until age 20 when he obtained a job as a court registry clerk in the Attorney General’s Department, Vancouver.
Ed and his co-workers believed Provincial Government employees’ working conditions, wages and hours were unfair compared to Federal and Civic Government Employees. He began organizing and participating in meetings to discuss ways to improve conditions for all Provincial Government employees. At a meeting in 1942, the Provincial Civil Service Association of BC was initiated and Ed, in the office of first president, began moving towards a province-wide employee association which would be formed 1945. Having served as Secretary General with distinction of the newly founded B.C. Government Employees Union from 1945 to 1967, Ed retired
He continued his life’s work of improving the working situation and conditions of Canadian workers in Canada by accepting an appointment from the Governor General of Canada, Roland Michener, on behalf of the Privy Council of Canada to sit on the inaugural Public Staff Relations Board of Canada for a seven year term. Ed was the only member on the Board representing the interests and welfare workers and their rights for labour. He administered the collective bargaining and grievance adjudication systems in the federal public service between federal government employees and the Treasury Board (the employer). He tirelessly fought for government workers and on three occasions the dissents he wrote (three of very many) formed the basis of appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada and were upheld by the court. After accepting a second appointment to the Board he retired 11 years later.
In 1962 the Canadian Labour Congress awarded O’Connor as a member of the Executive Council (Vice President) of the Canadian Labour Congress from April 1958 to April 1962. And, in 1967, in recognition of valuable service to the nation, Governor General, Roland Michener conferred Canadian Centennial Medal
Ed O’Connor was also an active community supporter through the Knights of Columbus, United Way, Vancouver College Alumni, Red Cross, Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Association, Shaughnessy Place Strata Council
Edward Patrick O’Connor died at 96 years of age in Richmond, September 30, 2004.
William Ivan Clarke Wuttunee
McGill University Scholarship Award
first First Nations lawyer in Western Canada Co-founder and first National Chief of the National Indian Council (NIC).
Henry Mackin was born in July 1884, in New York City to Irish-Catholic parents, Joseph Patrick and Catherine (n Byrne) Mackin.
The Mackin Family arrived in Canada in 1908, having moved across to Oregon State where, after completing a grade 4 education, Henry began factory work as a barely literate child labourer of The Standard Box Company. A mid-day meal was provided and there being little at home, his experience there would shape his optimistic personality that led to his surviving two global wars, the great depression and a violent workers' strike. Moreover the desperation of poverty and racial exclusion drove Mackin to establish his family’s fortune, end up in the pages of Fortune Magazine (January 1954) that reported “A Manhattan-born, intensely sales-minded Canadian, Mackin was until recently president of Canadian Western.” Leading the cohesive and uniquely multi-cultural Canadian Western Lumber workforce at Fraser Mills, B.C., he delivered product - on time … He thrived when faced with apparent insurmountable obstacles. By 1939 Mackin’s lumber producing company was recognized as the largest in the British Empire including the formulation and production of standard Canadian grades.
From a marginalized immigrant background, he was aware of the challenges that faced his mill workers. He took his passion for baseball into the mill and Mackin Park was a gift to the City of Coquitlam that served as the field for mill employee games.
Millworkers owned their own land and were provided with building supplies for their cottage-style housing and access to land for a garden and chickens. This included Japanese, Hindu, Chinese, Greek and French-Canadian workers.
Mackin and his wife Mary started their married life in a modest wooden structure expanded in the mid ’40’s to house a second generation of the Mackin Family.
A Legacy of Philanthropy
Vancouver College was a beneficiary of Henry Mackin’s gifts… the gymnasium-auditorium construction sod turning ceremony was featured in the Vancouver Sun June 8, 1949. Mackin Hall comprised of cafeteria space, classrooms and science room space opened in 1957.
On December 22, 1958 Henry Mackin died suddenly survived by his wife Mary, a son W. J. Mackin (who also lived in Maillardville and worked at Fraser Mills) and three daughters Josephine Abernethy, Dorothy Markle and Marjorie Oxendale, their spouses and 15 grandchildren.
Tony O’Loughlin, born 1949 in Belfast, grew up on Bingnan Drive and Norfolk Drive, at the top of Falls Road. He was educated at St Theresa's, St. Finian and Nissis College. At the height of the Troubles, in the 1970s Tony worked in the community at Divis Flats in the lower Falls, Belfast. For Tony, the Troubles provided some of the drive and feelings of responsibility he had to promote Irish culture. It was from family, school teachers and the Belfast community that Tony acquired his enduring love and respect for Irish culture. “If a Peoples can not militarily be defeated then they will be assimilated by wiping out their culture. If they loose their culture they lose their identity.”
Tony migrated to Canada in 1977 to volunteer with Bishop O’Grady in the B.C. interior where he worked mainly with the First Nations people for 4 years. He remained in Prince George for 10 years where he founded and, for many years, ran the Prince George Celtic Club which recently celebrated their 30 year anniversary. In 1987, he relocated to Nepean, Ontario in 1987 and, in 1989, to Kingston, Ontario where, a year later he founded and directed Kingston Irish Folk Club.
An article in the April 1990 Kingston Whig Standard newspaper stated that remains had been dug up while working on steam lines on the grounds of Kingston General Hospital. The remains were part of an unmarked mass grave of an estimated 1,400 Irish Famine victims buried on the hospital grounds in 1847. The hospital had expanded and built over the mass grave but did not put a marker there. He was surprised that there were no plaques or monuments except for the Angel of Mercy monument in an obscure corner of St Mary’s cemetery. Kingston, the Heart of Loyalist Canada, a city proud of its history, had many historical markers but none to acknowledge the mass grave of an estimated 1,400 on the grounds of Kingston General Hospital nor the estimated 300 Kingstonians who died helping the Irish Famine victims.
He founded The Kingston Irish Famine Commemoration Assoc (1995). and took a lead role to erect a plaque to mark the exact spot of the Irish mass grave and a Celtic Cross monument in the newly named An Gorta Mór Park to acknowledge Kingston’s estimated 1,500 Irish Famine victims (erected 1998). He also initiated and took a lead role in the Kingston Irish folk club to erect a Celtic Cross monument in Kingston’s upper cemetery (1813 till 1865) where an estimated 10,000 mainly Irish and Scottish immigrants are buried. Moreover, whilst there have been many monuments erected to Col. By it was not until Tony again took the initiative and lead role in 2000 directing the Kingston Irish Folk Club that the first monument anywhere along the Rideau Canal to acknowledge the labourers was erected - a memorial drinking fountain across the road from Kingston City.
For his work at the Université Laval, Kerwin won promotion after promotion becoming the first lay person appointed Rector from 1972 - 77. He was appointed President of the National Research Council of Canada
In 1980, he was appointed President of the National Research Council of Canada for a five-year term. This term was renewed in 1985. During these years he contributed greatly to the national awareness of the importance of research and development to the well-being of the nation until P.M. P.E. Trudeau appointed him representative of Canada on an Economic Summit to study research and development towards creating jobs to help the world economy to recover.
In March 1989 Dr.Larkin was appointed President of the Canadian Space Agency. He held the position during the crucial first years of the Agency's implementation to
his retirement from the Agency in February 1992. For three decades, Canadarm was
the versatile workhorse of the space shuttle programme, ideal for handling large pay- loads, for reaching around to look at the underside of the shuttle and for serving as a platform for space walkers. A key feature in the original design was the “end effector,” which made it possible for the arm to firmly grasp anything that was outfitted with a standard metal grapple fixture. The innovative design allowed an astronaut to direct
the arm close enough to its target to snare it without sending it tumbling.
Author of 3 monographs and 50 articles in scientific journals, he received many
awards for his research in atomic and molecular physics contributed strongly to the advancement of science in Canada. A past president of the Royal Society of
Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the International Union of Pure
& Applied Physics, he was recognized by governments and by universities and is a Companion of the Order of Canada, an Officer of l'Ordre national du Québec, an
Officer of the Légion d'honneur de France and a member of the Académie des
Grands Quebécois. He was awarded 15 honorary degrees from Canadian universities.
John Larkin was born on June 22, 1924 in Quebec City. Proud of his Irish heritage throughout his life, his great-grandparents were Michael (Kirwan/Kerevan) and Eliza Kane, who emigrated to Québec City from New Ross (Co. Wexford) and married there in the 1850s. Their son Luke wed the daughter of Margaret Larkin from Queen’s Co. (today County Laois). Larkin married Maria G. Turcot, they had eight children. Dr. Kerwin died, aged 79, on Saturday, May 1, 2004. 31
Settler. Rancher. Burinessman. Polotician.
Acclaimed for his generosity to community and charitable causes.
The Irish Canadian Immigration Centre is a not-for-profit
organization. There are no fees for services.
I/CAN gives information on work permits and permanent residency, essential guides and up-to-date news, helpful settlement links. They also provide seminars facilitated by volunteer specialists, essential guides and up-to-date news, helpful settlement links and direction to services in your community if you’re in a crisis.
If you’re job hunting check I/Can’s community job website www.irishjobs.ca check their employment seminars with tips on resumes, applications, and networking.
Born on March 5, 1936, in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin
Peter Byrne achieved his first degree in engineering from
University College, Dublin. He completed post-graduate
studies at UBC and his career began at the university in 1967.
Professor Emeritus of UBC Civil Engineering, was awarded the prestigious R.F. Legget Medal for 2014 by the Canadian Geotechnical Society. The R.F. Legget Medal is the society’s highest honour and is presented to an individual for “outstanding, life-long contributions to geotechnique.” A prolific author of journal and conference papers and a sought-after consultant, Dr. Byrne supervised 35 graduate students in the Department of Civil Engineering during his over-40 year tenure.
Dr. Byrne’s previous awards included the Vancouver Geotechnical Society Award, the Geoffrey Mayerhoff Award (CGS), the Gzowski Medal for best paper (CSCE), the Julian C. Smith award (EIC) “for achievement in the development of Canada”, and the R.M. Hardy Keynote Address (CGS). A Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada he is recognized for his research on “the behaviour and analyses of soil and soil structures subjected to earthquake loading, particularly in the area of soil liquefaction”. He is known and respected internationally for his achievements demonstrated by a wide range of projects on which he had been consulted, including bridges, tunnels, dams, rapid transit projects, airports and a wide variety of other facilities in seismically active areas in Canada and around the world. Projects on which he served as a consultant on the seismic retrofit include a number of bridges in Greater Vancouver - Port Mann, Oak Street and Knight Street bridges as well as the George Massey tunnel. He has also acted as a review consultant to BCHydro on a number of their dams including Coquitlam, Alouette, Revelstoke , and Bennett dams. He has also was a consultant on many International projects including the seismic design of mine waste dams in South America, Australia , New Zealand, and Vietnam, and the seismic retrofit of the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) tunnel connecting San Francisco and Oakland.
Beyond engineering there was his passion for sailing. A member of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club for over fifty years he shared that passion sailing with family and friends along the British Columbia coast. His passion was further kindled by competitions and he won a Bronze Medal for Canada in the Flying Dutchman class at the 1967 Pan American Games. He was a member of Canada's Olympic sailing team at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and, the following year Peter, with his wife Jane as crew, won the 1973 Enterprise Class World Championship – the event was held in Vancouver.
Peter passed away peacefully on August 17th, 2017, surrounded by his family - his loving wife Jane, sons Sean (Elen) and Craig (Alessandra), granddaughters Rebecca and Greta, extended family and friends.
Lawyer. Labour arbitrator. Refugee Hearing Officer.
Deputy Minister of Justice
Henry James Mackin 53
A Legacy of Philanthropy:
Vancouver College, Mackin Park Coquitlam
KBE MC FRS FRSC
medical scientist, physician, painter, and Nobel Laureate
It is the mission of ICUF to support & develop the relationship between Canada & Ireland, through the organization and facilitation of scholarly exchange between both countries. Scholarships are awarded to candidates of the highest calibre, whose work relates to both Irish and Canadian interests, and provides the potential to develop ongoing international links in that area. This mission is realized through the operation of three distinct scholarship programs, each of which supports scholarly travel from Ireland to Canada, and from Canada to Ireland:
The James M Flaherty Scholarship Programme initiated in 2016, supports both emerging and established scholars, from across all academic disciplines.
The Dobbin Atlantic Scholarship Programme initiated in 2016, supports the development of a new generation of academic, artistic, cultural and economic links between Atlantic Canada and Ireland.
Clár Gaeilge / Irish Language Programme supports the growth and development of the Irish language in Canada.
Teacher, Botanist, Naturalist, Civil Servant, Author,
"The greatest Canadian Naturalist of the 19th Century
French played an significant role in the history of Canada:
Born out of a need for a national police force to implement the law
in Canada's newly acquired western territories, the North West Mounted Police was founded. It was French who organized and firmly established that force we know now as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which has evolved into world-renowned organization of more than 28,000 people.
George Arthur French was born 19 June, 1841, in Roscommon, Ireland, son of John and Isabella (Hamilton) French. He started his military education at Sandhurst, but transferred to the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich (London) and became a gunner, which suggests that his family was not well-to-do. Commissions in the Royal Artillery were not purchased as were those in infantry and cavalry regiments.
Appointed lieutenant on 19 June, 1860, he served with the RA in Kingston from 1862 to 1866. On December 18, 1862, he married Janet Clarke in Kingston, Upper Canada. They had two sons and three daughters.
In 1869 he was seconded to the Canadian militia as inspector of artillery and warlike stores. Though promoted lieutenant-colonel, a rank he would not achieve in the army until Oct. 1887, he probably accepted the move as much for monetary as for career considerations. Conscious of the withdrawal of the imperial forces from Canada, French wrote the Dept. of Militia and Defense, of “the absolute necessity of raising, permanently, a few batteries of garrison artillery.” To his recommendation he appended estimates for two batteries. In response the department moved to establish permanent schools of artillery in Kingston and Quebec City for training the militia. He retained his inspector-ship, and was authorized 20 Oct. 1871 to set up and command Kingston’s School of Gunnery (A Battery, Garrison Artillery).
When the government of Sir John A. Macdonald created the North-West Mounted Police in 1873, the choice of who would be its first commissioner was of the utmost importance. There was no shortage of applicants, but this competent commander who had served briefly in the Royal Irish Constabulary before entering the army which was an important model for them.
He took over as commissioner on 16 Oct. 1873. News of the massacre in the Cypress Hills (Alta/Sask.) of Hunkajuka and some of his followers by a band of Canadian and American traders and hunters had forced the government to advance: 150 recruits and several officers were sent to Winnipeg, where they began training. In January 1874, having assessed his command, French returned to Toronto to raise a second contingent.
French, 16 officers, 201 men, and 244 horses boarded special trains on 6 June and travelled west through Chicago to Fargo (N.Dakota.). From there they rode north to Dufferin, Man., where they met the group who had wintered in Winnipeg. French’s instructions were to take his force west to what is now southern Alberta and stop the whiskey trade being conducted from the Montana Territory. The plan for the journey, which became known as the Long March, was to follow a route just north of the 49th parallel in order to take advantage of the camps and caches established by the international boundary surveyors, but reports of fighting near the border between natives and the United States army caused Ottawa to order French to stay well north. The change created serious difficulties for the NWMP. The only available map of the region, prepared by John Palliser’s expedition of 1857, turned out to be inaccurate; guides could not be found; and the police were unable to locate feed and water for their horses. At the end of July, nearly a month after the march had begun, French sent a troop and the sickest horses north along the Carlton Trail to the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Edmonton. He moved on across the trackless prairie, pushing his weary men westward until they reached recognizable territory. On 18 September they halted and established a camp in the Sweet Grass Hills, Alberta/Montana border.
He took a party south to Fort Benton, Montana, to obtain horses and supplies, to telegraph Ottawa and to gather evidence about the Cypress Hills massacre. With the government’s approval he left most of his force and headed for a site that had been chosen in Ottawa near the proposed rail line. The site was no where near any First Nation communities and was barren, swept by fire. French, though he had no jurisdiction in Manitoba, wisely moved his headquarters south to Dufferin.
When French returned to Swan River in the spring of 1875, whilst he loyally tried to make it habitable, he lobbied strenuously to have his headquarters moved to Fort Macleod (Alta), where most of the force’s actual policing was centered.
Unfortunately the new prime minister, Alexander Mackenzie, was exceedingly parsimonious and he and his cabinet harboured grave doubts about the wisdom of creating the NWMP in the first place. French resigned in July 1876. To his credit, his officers and men showed a great a great appreciation for his leadership giving him a gold watch worth $150 (a large sum for the time) and Mrs French a silver service. The British government also recognized his efforts, with a Companion (of the Order) of St Michael and St George on 30 May, 1877.
He went back to postings with the Royal Artillery in England and appointments in Australia and India. He was commandant of the colonial forces in Queensland in 1883 where, in 1885, he reorganized the defence force under legislation drafted by French and based on Canada’s system. His last appointment was as commandant of the colonial forces was in New South Wales where he was promoted major-general. He retired in September 1902 and was made Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George that year. His wife, Janet, died in 1917. French lived in London until his death in 1921.
Sister Nuala Patricia Kenny
OC, BA, MD, FRCP (C)
44 Vancouver College – Vancouver B.C. Canada
76 School of Canadian Irish Studies Concordia Canada / St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal
The Irish Heritage Society
214 Celtic Canada Magazine
· 239 Conradh na Gaeilge 240 Celtic Canada Magazine
The Canadian County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association 251
209 The 2014 Vancouver Harps Football Team (Ladies)
· #208 The 2014 Vancouver Harps Football Team: (Mens)
90 Vanouver ISSC Harps – Ladies North American Division Champions 2013
· 207 The ISSC Joseph P. Ryan Hurling Team (Mens) 2014
184 The Hurlers of Long Pond Nova, Winsdsor, Scotia
11 B.C. Regiment Irish Pipes & Drums / Irish Fusiliers of Canada – The Vancouver Regiment.
244 The Irish Dance Teachers Association of Canada / Western Irish Dance Teachers Association
62 Shawn Silver Irish Dancing
Violet Moore ...
Sionnaine Irish Dance Acadamy
Steel School of Irish Dance
Penk O’Donnell School of Irish Dance
100 Celticfest Vancouver
Community & Culture
205 New Brunswick Irish Canadian Cultural Association
· 204 The Ancient Order of Hibernians in Canada.
· 175 An Cumann: The Irish Association of Nova Scotia.
· 145 Kingston Great Irish Hunger Association
· 144 Kingston Irish Folk Club
123 The Irish Cultural Society of Calgary
115 The Charitable Irish Society of Halifax
· 112 Scoil Ghaeilge Vancouver / An Ciorcal Comhrá Vancouver.
· 111 Action Grosse Ile Committee
· 109 St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal
107 Irish Heritage Society of Canada
60 The Irish Society of Vancouver / Saint Patrick’s Parish Vancouver.
238 The Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation
· 220 The Celtic Connection
· 219 The Brockville Irish Cultural Society
81 The Irish Sporting and Social Club of Vancouver
Irish Canadian Society
Dr. Frances Gertrude McGill
Forensic Pathologist. Criminologist. First Honorary Surgeon to the RCMP.
Internationally Award Winning
computer scientist and researcher
Frederick Banting was one of the twentieth century's most celebrated medical heroes. His discovery of insulin, with his assistant Charles Best and other colleagues, was one of the most important medical breakthroughs to save or transform the lives of millions of people with diabetes. Frederick Banting was born Nov. 14, 1891, in the town of Alliston, north of Toronto. His great grand-parents came from County Ballyfin Co. Laois, Ireland in 1842, followed by his grandparents who settled in Simcoe County, and his parents. Frederick was the youngest of five children in a hard-working middle-class farm family with a strong Methodist faith. Fred struggled to finish high school and failed first year Divinity at the U of Toronto. But he dreamed of becoming a doctor. He persevered and in Sept. 1912, he was admitted to the U T Faculty of Medicine.
He graduated from medical school in 1916 as the First World War was raging. He tried to sign up and was rejected twice because of poor eyesight. On his third try he was accepted into the Canadian Army Medical Corps. Just weeks before Armistice, he was wounded by an exploding German shell but kept on treating patients. For his bravery and determination under fire, he was awarded the Military Cross.
Returning to Canada in Feb. 1919, he completed his training as an orthopedic surgeon and opened a surgery in London, Ont. It was a struggle for an unknown doctor. To supplement his income, he took a part-time job lecturing in surgery and anatomy at the U.of Western Ontario medical school. His wage was two dollars an hour. In his spare time he found solace in painting watercolours.
One sleepless night, reading a medical journal, he was suddenly jolted by the possibility of isolating the internal secretion of the pancreas that regulated sugar in the blood-stream. It might control diabetes! He hesitantly described his idea to Prof. Macleod at UT. Macleod was not impressed. It took a year to get permission to proceed and in May 1921 Macleod gave him a small laboratory and the loan of a recent graduate student, Charles Best, as his research assistant. Few believed they would succeed.
To Banting's delight, injections of the extract, which he would later call insulin, successfully treated dogs' diabetes. Their chance to try the extract on a human came in January,1922. Banting and Best took their extract to the Toronto General Hospital where a 14-year-old boy lay dying of diabetes. The boy recovered.- convincing proof of their remarkable discovery. In 1923, Banting and J.R. Macleod were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology, Banting chose to share his award with Charles Best.
Dr. Banting was named Canada's first Professor of Medical Research. By 1923, at 32 years of age, he was the most famous man in Canada, receiving gifts and letters from hundreds of grateful diabetics all over the world.and showered with awards, money
and unending gratitude. In 1934 Sir Frederick Grant Banting was one of the last group of Canadians to be Knighted by King George V. Not so well known is Banting’s artistic career. He described painting as ‘a great rest and holiday’. In 1927, Banting met A.Y. Jackson, of Canada’s ‘Group of Seven’, and a lasting friendship began. Over the years, they embarked on many painting excursions from the Coast to the Arctic. Asked about retiring from science to paint full time, Banting would reply, "When I am 50, that’s what I intend to do"
With WWII Banting moved into military research and top-secret projects on bacterial warfare for the Canadian Forces. In 1941, he was leaving for Great Britain on a secret mission. His plane crashed near Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland. Dr. Frederick Banting was killed instantly. He was 49 years of age.
Mick" was born in Belfast, March 14,1933
- Einstein’s birthday. Following college in
Belfast he went, with scholarship in hand,
to earn his Bachelor of Arts at Queen's College Cambridge and later his Masters in Linguistics in Ontario.
When an opening for a high school teaching position took Mick to Canada in 1955, Cynthia whom he had met in Belfast, joined him. They married in Ottawa and settled into an apartment where they met neighbours from Northern Canada and thought moving there would be an adventure for maybe a year of two.
The North West Territories, the huskies, teaching, the rhythms of nature, the language - the linguistics captured Mick. They moved in 1959 to Puvirnituq on the east coast of Hudson Bay where Mick taught Inuktitut to indigenous students and English-speaking bureaucrats. During school breaks Mick spent endless time walking on the tundra and came to be known as Pisusuuq - The One Who Walks. It was his Irish accent earned him the name ‘Mick’.
Another adventure followed in 1963 when they moved to Sarawak on the island of Borneo where Mick would train teachers of English as a second language.
In 1986 Cynthia and Mick retired. Mick's presence and care could not halt the early onset Alzheimers that took her life in 1998.
An historic Canadian event on April 1, 1999: Nunavut separated from the Northwest Territories and became the newest Canadian territory. Iqaluit is capital of the territory which is the traditional home to the Inuit people. The Inuit, who make up 83% of Nunavut's 24,730 residents, is one of the first indigenous peoples in the Americas to achieve self-government.
Nunavut means 'Our land" in Inuktitut - the Inuit language.
In 2000, Mick married his ex-student and colleague, Alexina Kublu, an Inuk who teaches interpreters and translators at Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit. Together they have written Our Language, Our Selves, with a vision of a future whereby 'parents, with the help of schools and government, will be key to making Inuktitut a living, working language in the generations ahead'
Mick's skill and passion for linguistics continues to teach and encourage the indigenous people of Nunavut the love of their own language and a desire to maintain it for future generations. He is one of Canada’s top Inuktitut scholars. He has written text books, taught at the Nunavut Arctic College and continues to teach online through universities in the United States.
In 2008 Mick received the Order of Canada for ‘his contributions as a teacher and linguist who spent decades preserving and revitalizing the Inuktitut language.’
When Mick launched into learning to speak Irish, with modern technology his teacher, he exclaimed, “What a difficult language that is!”
Known as the "Sherlock Holmes of Saskatchewan," Frances McGill was a pioneer in many respects. After earning a medical degree at a time when few women ventured into that discipline, she devoted most of her career to forensic pathology, a field that was beginning to emerge in Canada. Dr. McGill began working for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in an official capacity in 1943 and was considered the force's "first woman Mountie." Recognized for her unfailing professionalism and her unwavering availability, Dr. McGill built a solid reputation in a man's world. Her success is undoubtedly rooted in the motto that she took for her own: "Think like a man, act like a lady and work like a dog." Born in 1877 in Minnedosa, Manitoba, she was raised on the family farm. Her family's roots were Irish, and the medical profession was part of the family culture: one brother a doctor, her sister a nurse McGill graduated in medicine from the University of Manitoba in 1915. A qualified teacher she worked to finance her studies.and distinguished herself in university, receiving honours including the Hutchison Gold Medal for highest academic average.After
a year-long internship at the Winnipeg General Hospital, she pursued graduate training and was appointed provincial bacteriologist with the Saskatchewan Department of Health. She was a diligent worker, particularly during the serious Spanish influenza epidemic. In 1920, she accepted the position of provincial pathologist and, two years later, became director of the provincial laboratory, where she worked closely with police forces on cases involving suspicious death. She was respected as an outstanding criminologist and renowned for her court testimony. Her investigations required travel throughout the province in all types of weather and by all means of transportation, including dogsled, snowmobile and float plane.
When the RCMP opened its own forensic laboratory in Regina in 1937, Dr. McGill's workload decreased considerably. However, she continued to work with the municipal police force until retiring in 1942. In addition to her private practice, she pursued many leisure activities, including hunting, fishing, horseback riding and bridge. She even found time to support the war effort by knitting woollen socks for soldiers and participating in various associations, such as the Business and Professional Women's Club and the Regina Women's Canadian Club.
In 1943, Dr. McGill took on the office of director of the RCMPs forensic laboratory and, once again, was conducting investigations across the province and training the country's future police officers and detectives in medical jurisprudence, pathology and toxicology. She passed on to her students the wisdom of developing a keen sense of humour, which she said, kept her from being depressed by gruesome work.
After stepping down from her duties with the RCMP, Dr. McGill was appointed its Honorary Surgeon on January 16, 1946, and continued to serve as a consultant to the Force. She remained active until her death on January 21, 1959. In her private practice she specialized in allergies and skin diseases.
Lake McGill, located north of Lake Athabasca, Sask., is named for Dr. McGill.
Bill Wuttunee was born on May 8, 1928. His father, James, was chief of Red Pheasant Reserve and a teacher off-reserve. His mother, Priscilla, was a midwife. William (Bill) was a direct descendant of and named after the Hon. Lawrence J Clarke Sr. who had been born in 1832, County Cork, Ireland, entered the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1851 and went on to receive his commission as Factor in 1868, Chief Factor of Saskatchewan, Clarke made history when he was elected to represent the Electoral District of Lorne at the first election on the Northwest Council. Clarke died in Prince Albert in 1890.
Did Bill's parents, James and Priscilla, imagine that some 20 years later, the infant they welcomed into their arms there on the Red Pheasant First Nation, a small reserve near Cando, Saskatchewan, would also be making Canadian history? (The province was named from the Cree kisiskāciwani-sīpiy, meaning swift flowing river.)
Growing up in Saskatchewan’s drought and depression, with barrel slats for skis and a sling-shot he’d go winter hunting birds for the family meal until, at the age of 10, he was forced to leave home to attend residential school. There life was harsh. Bill escaped into books. His brother, Noel, took the beatings. Bill testified about his experiences at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but the residential school was a psychological burden he wanted to leave behind and rarely spoke about it with his family. He served on the Oversight Committees for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and organization responsible for resolving the many thousands of residential school claims. In 2009 he travelled to the Vatican with the AFN to receive an apology from Pope Benedict for the harms perpetrated against native children in residential schools.
Shortly after residential school, when Bill returned to Red Pheasant First Nation reserve at the age of 12, their father, James, moved the family to the nearby town of Battleford, determined that they would have better opportunities.
It was the right move. Bill attended high school and, having earned the highest marks across Canada, he was awarded a scholarship to McGill University. It was the early 50’s. He was an Indian – his place was riding rough on a freight train carrying livestock, eating when they fed the cattle. The train arrived in Montreal at 2 a.m. It was a 4 hr. walk to the pastor’s home where he was being hosted. ‘Too early’ he thought and waited for an hour before knocking on the door. He was making history – one of only two First Nations people attending university in Canada.
Bill returned to study law at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, and was called to the bar in 1954 – the first First Nations lawyer in Western Canada. He commenced his practice with the Saskatchewan Government. Insurance Office and actively pursued advancing First Nations rights and independence. Called to the Saskatchewan Provincial Committee of Minorities by Premier T.C. Douglas, in 1958, Bill travelled to every reserve in Saskatchewan. The meeting of chiefs that he organized in Fort Qu’Appelle culminated in the creation of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians. Douglas’ legislation extending the vote to status Indians was followed by the Federal government in 1960. In 1961, Bill co-founded and was the first National Chief of, the National Indian Council (NIC). This was the first organization to unite the political voice of Aboriginal peoples at a national level. The historic NIC became the National Indian Brotherhood in 1968 (now known as the Assembly of First Nations). In 1963 he opened a general practice in Calgary and, later, a satellite office in Yellowknife. Practicing primarily criminal law until the 1980’s, he defended the last person in Canada to be prosecuted for homosexuality.
He was the first native lawyer to appear before the Supreme
Court of Canada. His book, Ruffled Feathers: Indians in Canadian
Society, 1970, provoked a strong reaction in some of the native
communty – Bill Wuttunnee was making history.
William Ivan Clarke Wuttunee passed away peacefully on
October 31, 2015, at the age of 87.
Doug Cuthand native activist and film producer, Saskatchewan:
"Wuttunee was a visionary and you pay a price…
there really was nobody ahead of him.”
Irish-born December 2, 1921, Padraig helped
create the Yukon territorial government as he had shaped an independent Somalia. He was known as Paud (pronounced Podge). Paud was a competitive sportsman - won best in Ireland for javelin, discus and swimming and earned his caps for playing on the Irish International Rugby Team. On graduating law at University College Dublin and King's Inns Law School, he was called to the bar in 1945, his practice as a barrister beginning as a junior. He completed a tenure in the British colonial legal service where, among other things, helped ease Somalia into independence and, by 1960, had risen to attorney general of the British protectorate.
The family returned to Ireland in 1962 where he farmed pigs and chickens and continued to practice law, receiving payment in kind from clients who couldn’t afford to pay. His daughter Patricia“Patch” O’Donoghue said “He intended to retire but he couldn’t get away from the law”.
In 1966, following his brother Walter, Paud immigrated to Canada with Joan and their seven children. He was called to the Alberta Bar. He was a voracious reader with encyclopedic recall, which he sometimes used to comic effect - blessed with the Irish “gift of the gab.” He practiced law in Alberta for five years before piling the family into the car and driving to Whitehorse to take up the post of legal adviser to the new Yukon government as it evolved from colony to territory. O’Donoghue worked as legal adviser to the new territorial government from 1967 to 1983, during the critical stage of the development of the territorial government. He ended his career in Yukon in 1983 as Deputy Minister of Justice.
A labour arbitrator from 1975 until early 1990's and a Refugee Hearing Officer for the Government of Canada 1989-94., he was a trailblazer who never shied away from conflict or controversy, nor was he a man of few words. His oratory skills served him well when making his case before courts and commissions and when regaling friends and family with his stories. He was well known for writing clever and effective correspondence and drafting legislation. His passion for the English language prompted him to contact the Oxford English Dictionary regarding word omissions and in appreciation they presented him with a complete set. He developed a friendship with Canadian artist Ted Harrison, who with his art students painted a pair of murals on the O’Donoghue house — a must-see tour-bus stop for years. Bridal parties were also attracted to the house for the beautiful garden, aided by grow lights and Paud’s vast research on what would grow up north. They won a “silver tray” for best Whitehorse garden. He also had time to teach duplicate bridge, at which he excelled — he and Joan won so many crystal glasses at their weekly bridge club, the family used them as everyday drinking glasses.
After a couple of heart attacks forced his retirement at age 62, he and Joan moved to Richmond. In retirement in Vancouver he spent his time appearing in TV shows and movies shot in B.C., including 21 Jump Street, MacGyver and the Ted Danson movie Cousins. He also worked as a movie extra and served as a refugee hearing officer. And he took up acrylic painting, recreating scenes from the north, Ireland and Africa, and painting portraits of friends and family. He never stopped learning or telling great stories. Tracy McLaughlin, a Richmond neighbour and friend for 10 years, said: “He was probably one of the most wonderful storytellers of all. He was a brilliant legal mind and he loved the law.”
May 17, 2009, Padraig (Paud) O'Donoghue died peacefully in Richmond Hospital at the age of 87 after a full and adventurous life.
Following is some of the backstory to this welcoming organization:
On December 21st, 2011, Cathy Murphy answered her phone. It was 11.30 pm. Eamonn O’Loghlin was calling to ask her to be the first executive director of the newly established Irish Canadian Immigration Centre, in Toronto. Murphy said, “It was a Christmas present
I will never forget. We opened just two weeks later, with a formal opening following on St Patrick’s Day in 2012.”
"All the young Irish are coming because they need jobs, so it's our job to make sure that they know which sectors are hot, where and which provinces they ought to be looking, according to their skills transferability," Murphy said. More than 10,000 Irish people (mainly ages 18–35) were looking to bring their skills to Canada. The Irish government was helping with the finances and, said Murphy, the Irish were bringing skills in trades, banking and information technology that Canada needed.
Executive Director, Cathy Murphy recalled a young Dubliner: “Dean landed at Toronto’s Pearson airport the spring of 2012 … not looking to be awestruck … not a tourist heading for the sites of Niagara … a worker and he needed a job. He came alone, knew no one, and at 18, was the youngest client to pass through our doors since the centre first opened in 2011. A carpenter, he has not been out of work since the day he arrived. It was Dean’s intention to settle in Canada as a permanent resident … Since 2009, the number of Irish becoming permanent residents has more than quintupled.” She also recalled, “A Corkonian, Stephen … surprised us with the gift of reciprocity. After accessing the centre’s resources, Stephen employed his DJ skills to host a fundraiser with all proceeds benefitting the centre. Volunteers such as this make our work possible.”
Eamonn O'Loghlin was interim president of the newly formed Irish Canadian Immigration Centre
Eamon helped hundreds of young people land theur
first jobs in Canada.
Born in Ennistymon in 1951, he attended St. Flannan's
College in Enis and graduated from University College
Cork with a commerce degree in 1975.
He left Ireland for Canada then and worked for 18 years in marketing for Hallmark Cards before starting his own marketing & communications consulting business – O'Loghlin Communications.
He also hosted a weekly Irish radio show, Ceol agus Craic, and published a national magazine, Irish Connections Canada – formerly the Toronto Irish News. A long-time supporter of the Ireland Fund of Canada, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann and the GAA, Mr O'Loghlin was director of strategic partnerships and corporate sponsorship at the Canadian National Exhibition for over a decade. He was Executive Director of the Ireland Canada Chamber of Commerce, and was interim President of the newly formed Irish Canadian Immigration Centre. He was also a long time supporter of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Ireland Fund of Canada, and Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. In 2009, he was honoured as 'Irish Person of the Year' by Toronto's Irish community for his contribution to helping Irish people. He was Grand Marshall of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2012.
He hosted Presi. Bill Clinton, Pres. Mary McAleese and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore in Toronto. Ahead of his time, he took a gathering home to Ennistymon every year.
Eamonn was the beloved husband of Madeleine, from Cork, for 37 years and father of Treasa and Rory. He passed away on Friday, January 4th, 2013, at the age of 61,. Still he remains in many grateful hearts.
1920s-30s: Each Sunday afternoon, large crowds paid their 10 cents and cheered on the “Circle F” Fraser Mills baseball team challenging Seattle, New Westminster, and the Asahi team from Vancouver.
Dr. Patrick McGeer, OC, OBC, FRSC was born
June 29, 1927.He is recipient of four honorary
degrees and recognized as one of the world’s most highly cited neuroscientists. Physician, professor and medical researcher he is regarded as a leading authority on the causes and prevention of Alzheimer's disease.
In his 20’s, McGeer was a Canadian basketball player who competed in the 1948 Summer Olympics.
His scientific career was combined with politics, as McGeer was elected to the British Columbia Legislature, 1962 -1986, and the BC Cabinet, 1975-1986, always working to promote the development of high technology industry in the province. He also served as President and Chairman of the Board of the Insurance Corporation of BC, and on the Board of the BC Hydro and Power authority, Petroleum Corporation and the Systems Corporation.
In 1995, Pat and his wife Edith were inducted as Officers of the Order of Canada. In 2002 they were jointly inducted as Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 2005 they were jointly inducted into the Order of British Columbia.
He is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
McGeer founded the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation, and the Canadian Dementia Action Network and the author of more than 680 scientific papers and 8 patents. With his wife Edith and Nobel Laureate Sir John Eccles, he is author of two scientific textbooks and editor of 3 others.
Sir Frederick Grant Banting
Patrick Lucey 'Pat' McGeer
Professor Emeritus Faculty of Medicine UBC
Order of Canada. Order of British Columbia.:
Best (L) and Banting
The Ireland Canada university foundation
Sidney Tate ‘Mick’ Mallon
Pisusuuq, The One Who Walks
Master of Linguistics. Teacher.
Order of Canada
Dr. Peter Michael Byrne P. Eng.
Professor Emeritus of UBC Civil Engineering
2014 Awarded R.F. Legget Medal
Nuala Patricia Kenny was born in New York and entered the Sisters of Charity, Halifax in 1962. She received her BA, Magna Cum Laude, from Mount St Vincent University in 1967, MD from Dalhousie in 1972 and postgraduate training in pediatrics at Dalhousie and Tufts New England Medical Centre, during which she held a Killam Scholarship. In 1975, she became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada and in 1976 was certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.
In 1991 and 2005, she was Visiting Scholar at the Hastings Centre for Ethics, in 1993 held a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Fellowship in Continuing
Medical Education at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown U. In 2001, she was a Scholar in Residence at Rockefeller Foundation Study Centre in Bellagio, Italy.
Dr Kenny joined the Dept. of Pediatrics, Dalhousie in 1975 as Coordinator of Regional Pediatric Services. In 1982, she became Director of Medical Education at the Hospital for Sick Children and the U. of Toronto. In 1985 she was appointed Prof. and Chairperson, Dept. of Pediatrics at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ont. She returned to Dalhousie as Professor & Head of the Dept of Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatrics at the Izaak Walton Killam Hospital in 1988. In 1995, she became the founding Chair of the Dept. of Bioethics of Dalhousie Faculty of Medicine. From Feb. to Nov. 1999, Dr. Kenny was Deputy Minister of Health, Province of Nova Scotia.
Author of over one hundred and seventy-five papers and three books, Dr. Kenny is nationally recognized as an educator and physician ethicist. She was Chair of the Values Committee of the 1997 National Forum on Health and is past President of both the Canadian Pediatric Society and the Canadian Bioethics Society. She was a founding member of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Health Council of Canada, and Canadian Doctors for Medicare.
She has received five Honorary Doctorates (Mount Saint Vincent (1992), the Atlantic School of Theology (2000), Regis College, Toronto (2000), St. Francis Xavier University (2000), and The College of New Rochelle (2008). In 1999 was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for her contributions to child health and medical education. She has received a Queen’s Jubilee Medal and in 2006 was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canadian Bioethics Society, the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Health Association, the Catholic Health Association of Canada’s Performance Citation Award, the Canadian Medical Association’s Marsden Ethics Award, the Dalhousie University Alumni Achievement Award and the North American Osler Society’s McGovern Award.
Kenny joined the Sisters of Charity in Halifax in 1962 before graduating from Dalhousie medical school in 1972 and going on to become a pediatrician in 1976. Having worked in Ontario in the early 1980s, Kenny returned to Halifax in 1988 as a professor and head of the pediatrics department at Dalhousie University and chief of pediatrics at the Izaak Walton Killam Children’s Hospital (now the IWK Health Centre) and later as deputy health minister for Nova Scotia involved in the healing business for more than 40 years, Kenny's biggest therapeutic challenge has come in her quest over the past two decades to help diagnose and treat the clergy sexual abuse crisis in her beloved Catholic Church. Her recently published book, Healing the Church, approaches the crisis from a joint religious and medical perspective: “There are two crises here. One is that men of God would offend against children and youth. That shows that they are human. They are susceptible.” Kenny wrote that a 2004 report identified 4% of active priests as abusers, an incidence rate that is on par with child sexual abuse among the general public. “The likeliest person to offend against a child this way is a dad, grandpa, uncle, mom’s boyfriend of the month, the scout leader." But sexual abuse is exacerbated in the church by additional spiritual abuse and the second crisis, the crisis of mis-management in the church, is paramount for Kenny. She writes: “In the book I use the metaphor of diagnoses. I’m a doc. That’s what I do. The church has done a lot on policies and protocols. They are making the diagnosis that this is the sins and offences of individual men, either individual offenders or individual mis-managers. “I make a different diagnosis. I make the diagnosis that the church responded as she did — denial, minimalization of harm, secrecy, protection of the offender, protection of image, non-accountability — the church responded that way because that’s the way the church is… all sexual abuse is about power, and the power of the priest over children and young people contributed to a perfect storm of abuse … Priests were held in unmerited high esteem, and parents and kids alike considered it a special privilege for children to spend time with the parish priest. There was a “suppression of vigilance” among the children’s caretakers, a suppression in direct contradiction to the Christmas gospel story of Jesus and Mary doing anything and everything to ensure the safety of their child in light of Herod’s murderous decree. decree “We have been in contradiction to the teaching and ways of Jesus. The only way to get back is to get back to trying to be a prayerful, gospel-oriented community and to find new ways to be with each other — bishop, priests and people."
Edward Patrick O'Connor
Vice President) Canadian Labour Congress Governor General's Award Canadian Centennial Medal in recognittion of valuable service to the nation
Major General Sir George Arthur French
of the Order of St Michael & St George
Established the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Born in northern New Brunswick, Gail completed courses at
Mt. St. Vincent University, Dalhousie University, Université de
Moncton and Université Laval. She also studied at University
of New Brunswick, Hebrew University and several more institutions of higher learning.
Her first profession was social work and she has been a supervisor in the area of child abuse and inclusion where she was a pioneer in New Brunswick’s introduction of inclusion in the school system. At the time, she was both a social worker advocating the program and a school board member who pushed for this innovative programme which is the most progressive in the world. She remains active in the New Brunswick Association for Community Living. An activist and leader in the women’s movement and, as Director of an Addictions Center, Gail helped lead the government to provide more services for women in that area. She has also worked in the areas of violence against women, helping to co-found the first association of sexual assault centres across Canada. She has served on the executive of the National Action Committee of the Status of Women and was he first woman in her province to be elected as President of a political party and continues to push for more women in politics.
Her work in computer science is equally well known. She has lectured around the world, including Ireland. Her research area is biotechnology but she also is writing a book on the history of programming languages, believing people must be taught several languages at once and not in the traditional method of one language as was once the norm.
Extremely proud of her Irish heritage, she was one of four founding members (the only woman) of the Irish Canadian Cultural Association of New Brunswick, a group that led a renaissance of all things Irish in that province. She recalls, as the first Secretary the many memberships that “just came pouring in! We knew there was a need out there”, she recalls, “but the response was overwhelming!”
As she continues to be involved in Irish activities, Gail wants some day to write what she terms “the quintessential Canadian book of Irish heritage, if I can ever ascertain exactly what that is since we Irish are also if not exactly diverse, certainly unique in some ways.” She jests she can probably understand the Irish Canadian “as someone who comes from a family that represents - the sum of Irish culture and all three religions – Roman Catholic, Protestant and Jewish”.
Gail has served on numerous boards - the Board of the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, N.S., NBACL and a number of information technology organizations.
Dr. John Larkin Kerwin
CC OQ FRSC Canadian Physicist 1st President of the Canadian Space Agency
Born. 6 July 1856 near Oshawa, Upper Canada, son of Michael O’Byrne (Byrn, Byrne) and Bridget Gibson; moved in 1864, with his parents, both Irish Catholic immigrants, and seven siblings from the Oshawa region to a farm near the village of Kirkfield, about 50 miles north. Here he received a rudimentary education at the local school.
In 1877 Patrick and his elder brother John decided to homestead in Manitoba. To raise money Patrick felled trees during the winter of 1877-78. When he went in the spring to collect $100 in back wages, he discovered his employer was broke and he had to accept a team of elderly oxen worth about $70. To get as much value as possible out of the animals he slaughtered them and sold their carcasses piece by piece, ultimately bringing in $144.
In the spring of 1878 Patrick and John travelled to Winnipeg by rail, stagecoach, and steamboat. They learned that some of the best agricultural land still available was farther west - they set out on foot to find homesteads. After walking more than 100 miles the brothers filed on separate quarter sections at Tanner’s Crossing (Minnedosa). Burns got a job blasting rock, for which he received $24 a month and his board in a construction camp. After six months with enough money to buy a team of oxen and some supplies, he returned to his homestead at Tanner’s Crossing.
His big break came in 1887 when he was engaged to supply meat to construction camps. He established a mobile slaughtering facility which could move easily as the railhead was extended. He employed a reliable butcher to prepare the meat, and handled the buying and droving himself. He also developed contacts with merchants in British Columbia to whom he sold both meat and wholesale livestock. He set up his own retail outlets there. To guarantee supply he bought property and started acquiring cattle. diversified into mutton and pork, then sheep.
In the late 1890s, during the Yukon gold rush, Burns was one of the first to agree to deliver beef to the miners in Dawson. the first time any firm west of Toronto and east of Vancouver had shipped carloads of refrigerated meat such a distance. At Vancouver the meat was placed on a cold-storage steamer bound for the Yukon Territory.
Burns' commercial enterprises continued to grow rapidly In 1905 Burns incorporated his packing and other meat houses under a dominion charter as P. Burns and Company (in 1909 it would become P. Burns and Company Limited). In 1906, following the province’s amendment of the territorial ordinance on brands, he registered his well-known Shamrock brand. Over the next quarter century he established packing plants at Edmonton, Vancouver, Regina, Prince Albert, Sask., Winnipeg, and Seattle. Burns bought out or started more than 100 retail meat shops in the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia and set up export agencies in London, Liverpool, and Yokohama, Japan. Diversifying, he bought or established some 65 creameries and cheese factories across the prairies and wholesale provision and fruit houses.
A source of consternation was public suspicion of unfair dealing that dogged Burns This distrust was a consequence of his meteoric rise as a businessman. He got rich trading in cattle and beef and, under frontier conditions, he faced very little competition.
Burns attained a great deal of public acclaim - Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great by the Vatican in 1914, a seat in the Senate, which he refused because of his heavy workload - when the offer was made again he was close enough to retirement to accept but would sit as an independent. These tributes were offered in recognition of Burns’ business acumen but they were also acknowledgements of his work for public and charitable causes.
The community-spirited action for which he is probably best known is the organizational and financial backing he contributed to the first Calgary Stampede in 1912. When a rockslide devastated the mining community of Frank (Alta) on 29 April 1903, he was first to offer aid. After the town of Fernie, B.C., was wiped out by fire, he sent its citizens a freight car of food. During World War I he and his company contributed $50,000 to equip the Legion of Frontiersmen. After the war he was made an honorary member of the Calgary Aero (Flying) Club “in token of … [his] interest in aviation and his gift of two airplanes” to support the war effort. A substantial donation to the construction of the Canadian Memorial Church, built by the Revd George Oliver Fallis was to honour those who had served in the war. He contributed to Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary and gave 200 acres of land and a regular supply of meat to the Lacombe Home. While the Catholic church near the Lacombe Home was being painted at his expense, he noticed the shabby condition of the nearby Anglican church and told his workers to paint it too. He provided free office space in one of his Calgary buildings to the Western Stock Growers’ Association and helped improve western dairy herds by arranging to sell good Jersey and Holstein breeding stock to farmers on long-term payment schedules. He gave financial aid to two sisters struggling to establish the Braemar Lodge and supported talented artists. When Calgary celebrated his birthday in 1931, he announced that for each single unemployed man or woman in the city a ticket good for 50 cents, would be issued at his expense for the purchase of food and that to each married unemployed man he would give a five pound roast of beef. ‘I feel,’ he said, ‘that during the Stampede celebration and on the occasion of my 75th birthday, I would like to do something for the citizens who during these difficult times [the Great Depression] are unable to obtain employment.’”
Married in 1901, Burns and Eileen (n Ellis) had one son. In 1936 their 30 year old son was found dead in his bed of a heart attack. Burns himself had suffered a stroke in 1935 He died fewer than 6 months after his son and was buried in St Mary’s Cemetery, Calgary.
Burns was as generous at his death as he had been in his life. Among the beneficiaries named in his will were the Lacombe Home, the Salvation Army, the Children’s Shelter of Calgary, the widows and orphans of men in the city’s police force and fire department, the Roman Catholic bishop of Calgary, the Collège Saint-François-Xavier in Edmonton, the Navy League of Canada, the Canadian Red Cross Society, the Junior Red Cross, the British Empire Service League, the Canadian Legion’s tuberculosis section, the 103rd Regiment (Calgary Highlanders), the Boy Scouts Association in Alberta, and the Southern Alberta Pioneers’ and Old Timers’ Association.