James Richardson & Sons, Limited
Started as a one-man enterprise by James Richardson in Kingston, Canada West, in 1857, this family-owned company has emerged as a major international organization, employing more than 2000 people. Through wholly owned subsidiaries, it engages in grain merchandising, storage and shipping; feed and fertilizers; pipeline construction and real-estate development. In 1996 the company sold its investment firm, Richardson Greenshields of Canada Ltd, to the Royal Bank of Canada for $480 million.
A notable pioneer in several fields, the company was the first to establish radio stations on the Prairies, to broadcast grain and stock market prices, to make use of teletype for the transmission of business and, through its Canadian Airways Limited, the first to establish a coast-to-coast airline. All these accomplishments predated WWII. As part of its centennial celebration in 1957, the company made a gift of the then recently issued 10-volume Encyclopedia Canadiana to more than 400 universities and libraries. Few business organizations have played a more distinguished role in the growth of the nation's economy.