Henry Birks, silversmith, founder of Henry Birks and Sons (b at Montréal 30 Nov 1840; d there 16 Apr 1928). He graduated from Montreal High School in 1856 and spent the next winter perfecting his French. In April 1857 he joined Savage and Lyman, a large firm of watchmakers and jewellers. On 1 March 1879, he opened the first Birks store on St James St in Montréal. Six years later he moved to larger premises on the same street.
In 1893, since 3 sons were active in the business, the company name was changed to Henry Birks and Sons. The following year the store was moved to their new building at the corner of St Catherine and Union streets. The Birks building still stands on Phillips Square and houses the organization's head office. Since its founding in 1879, 5 successive generations of the Birks family have been involved in the company.