Izaak Walton Killam

Izaak Walton Killam, financier (b at Yarmouth, NS 23 July 1885; d at Grand-Cascapedia, Qué 5 Aug 1955). Born into a family of merchants and shipowners, Killam had little formal education but great entrepreneurial drive. He joined the Union Bank of Halifax as a clerk in 1901 and was transferred to head office 2 years later. He befriended Max AITKEN and like him gravitated to Montréal. From 1909 to 1913 Killam managed the London office of Aitken's Royal Securities Corp. In 1915 he became president and 4 years later bought out Aitken, remaining president until 1954.

Killam built an investment empire in Canada and Latin America with holdings in publishing, utilities (International Power, Calgary Power, Ottawa Valley Power Co), pulp and paper (BC Pulp and Paper, Mersey Paper), construction and films. The epitome of the financial power of Montréal's St James Street, secretive and austere, Killam was said to be the richest Canadian of his day.

In 1922 Killam married Dorothy Brooks Johnston (b at St Louis, Mo 1900?; d at Villefranche-sur-Mer, France 27 July 1965). After his death she more than doubled her $40-million inheritance and carried out her husband's wishes to assist the arts, education and sciences. Initial funding for the CANADA COUNCIL (1957) was largely provided from some $50 million in inheritance taxes on the Killam estate, with a similar amount from the estate of Sir James H. DUNN. Mrs Killam left $30 million to Dalhousie U, $30 million to be divided among 3 other universities, $8 million to the Izaak Killam Hospital for Children in Halifax, $4 million to the Montreal Neurological Institute and a further $15 million to the Canada Council. The Killam Memorial Prize honours Canadian scholars, and Killam research fellowships are presented to Canadian scientists and scholars.