James Ross

James Ross, capitalist (b at Cromarty, Scot 1848; d at Montréal 20 Mar 1913). A professional engineer, Ross was associated with the construction of numerous railways and was manager of construction of the mountain division on the main line of the CPR. After the completion of that work he became the leader of a small but very successful consortium of railway contractors that included Herbert Holt, William Mackenzie and Donald Mann. Together they built numerous branch lines on the prairies, in Ontario and Québec, and the CPR's so-called "Short-line" across the state of Maine. When depressed social conditions led to a slowdown in Canadian railway construction work, Ross and his associates undertook the reorganization, electrification and expansion of the street railways in Toronto, Montréal, and subsequently in other cities in Canada, the US, the UK, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean. In 1901 he undertook a major and controversial reorganization of the Dominion Coal Co and the Dominion Iron and Steel Co, both located in northern Cape Breton Island. Subsequent suits between the shareholders and directors of the 2 companies became one of Canada's most protracted and controversial legal business conflicts. Ross was a patron of several art societies and donated substantial sums to various hospitals. He became an avid yachtsman, and his yacht, the Glencairn, won several racing trophies.